Victoria Falls – The Smoke That Thunders

So there we were…standing on top of the falls, at the cliff edge where the water gushes over into the gorge, feeling awed by the presence of the magnicfant sight before us. Walking along the edge of the falls, we arrived to our own private swimming pool where the water all around us soon crashed 350 ft to the Zambezi river below.
 
When you cross into Zambia, visiting Victoria Falls is a must and was on the top of our list to do while in the country. Sitting on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is the largest water fall on the planet and listed as the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World. Arriving in Livingstone, the gateway city to the falls, we found ourselves in one of the first “proper” backpacker hostels in Africa. With a lively atmosphere, fun bar and pool, it was a great base for exploring the area. Livingstone/Vic Falls is one of the adventure capitals of Africa with Class 5 white water rafting, bunji jumping, gorge swings, zip lines and even game viewing. We headed straight to the falls to see how we could get our adrenalin pumping.
 
Hoping on the free shuttle from our hostel, we were driving toward the falls when we spoted a huge family of elephants drinking from the river. Seeing these animals in a game park is one thing, but seeing them right outside town while driving down the road is another. After some quick pics of the elephants, we soon spotted large groups of baboons, some sitting on the locals front porch steps, scavenging for food. We were advised to watch our lunch as they recognize plastic bags as having food and will come and steal it right out of your hand. What an amazing way to start our time there, before even reaching the falls!
 
The anticipation and excitment built when arriving at the gate, you could hear the loud roar of water and see “the smoke” rising from the gorge. Rounding the corner, our first view of the falls came into site and all we could say to each other was “WOW!” We stood, frozen, trying to take it all in. Given the falls is split between 2 countries and we were in Zambia, to view the Zimbaabwean side of the falls, you had to purchase a VISA even if just going for the day. Not willing to pay the extra money evan though we wanted to give Mugabe a high five (not!), we spent the day on the Zambian side snapping pictures and trying to keep our camera dry from the spray of the crashing water.
 
Hot and lightly misted from the falls, we were ready to go for a swim. Heading up and around the falls (to the top), local guides offer trips across the top edge of falls where they lead you to great view points from above and finally the Angel’s Armchair, a swimming pool right at the edge of the falls where you can take dip. Barefoot and inching our way across the river, we made our way to one of the most spectacular view points and swimming holes we have ever seen. The water, cool and clean, was a great way to end our hot day at the falls.
 
Given all the adreninlin activities offered there, it was hard not to partake in something while visiting the area. Settling on the tandem gorge swing, we finished our time in Livingstone screaming like little kids as we plumeted down into the 300 ft gorge and swung back and forth, high above the canyon, trying to take in, once again, the amazing sight around us.
Highlights

  • Standing in front of (and on top of) “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World and Unesco World Heritage Site
  • Cliff jumping into the Angel’s Armchair pool at the edge of the falls
  • Bumping into “old” friends who we met in Malawi at Jollyboys Backpackers in Livingstone
  • The cheeky baboons. While they didn’t try to steal our plastic lunch bag, we were given a sling shot from a local who advised “just show it to them and it will scare them away”

Lowlights

  • Nothing we can think of…thank you Zambia 🙂

 

Elephant Crossing
The magical Victoria Falls
Vic Falls
Falls from above
Cliff jumping at the Angel's Armchair pool
Swimming at the edge of the falls