© Nova Fisher 2015

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls are the largest waterfalls in the world and so strong in full flow that the spray can be seen 20 miles away. They are about 1000 km from the source of water, the Zambezi River in Western Zambia. Depending on the weather, the falls can be pounding down columns of water along the entire cliff or just falling in the centre in the dry season. The sound is thunderous as you approach the falls, a reminder of the beautiful and magnificence of nature. A number of trails go through the rainforest surrounding the falls. Visitors can view the falls from various vistas, including the Devil's Cataract towards the west of the abyss. A good way to see the grandiosity of the falls is to walk across the bridge to Livingstone, Zambia to view the sprays from the opposite side of the gorge. The 108 year old Victoria Falls Bridge is a man-made masterpiece suspended 111 metres above the Zambezi River which straddles the line dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Lookout cafe is an excellent place to view the bridge and deep canyon whilst enjoying a cool drink.

Zambesi River

The best way to appreciate the beauty, peace and wildlife of the Zambezi River above the Falls is to paddle slowly downstream in a canoe. The experience was fantastic – it was so tranquil with a feeling of closeness to nature. If you’re lucky you may watch the Pied Kingfisher hover and dive, listen to the haunting call of the fish eagle and the grunts of the hippo, see elephant, buffalo, and other animals come down to drink and explore the islands and waterways along the route. The vegetation predominately consists of ebonies, waterberry, palms and a tremendous variety of acacia and albizia. The Canoeing Trails operate above the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on the 18km stretch of the Zambezi River between Chundu Campsite and the National Park entrance. The Upper Zambezi River is regarded as free flow as a dam does not control it and as such the water is subject to seasonal variation and mini rapids. This section of the river is quite unlike the better-known faster flowing rapids section below Lake Kariba. We were collected at 7am and experienced a game drive in an open vehicle (with the canoes on the roof) into the Zambezi National Park. After a good breakfast we received a safety briefing on the conditions of the river and rapids and some canoeing instruction. We were in one double canoe and had Nduma in the front and Gabriel in the rear. Despite the strong oncoming winds we canoed 15kms downstream, running small grade one and two rapids, with a halfway stop before reaching the dis-embarkment point where we had a tasty BBQ and salad lunch. There is a dry bag available to keep personal belongs safe. The actual paddling is for 2 hours and the canoes are very stable inflatables. We enjoyed the company of our excellent, very competent guides Nduma and Gabriel (Wild Horizons).

Victoria Falls Bridge into Zambia

We crossed the Victoria Falls bridge on foot and walked a short distance to the Zambia border.  We had a Kaza VISA that allowed us unlimited passage between Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. We really we enjoyed walking across such an iconic bridge and it was nice to see the gorge from the bridge and view the lower Zambezi river. There is a long line of parked semi trucks lined at each border. Apparently, many drivers reach the border and either don’t have the proper paper work or enough money to cross. So they often park their trucks for weeks until they can get everything straightened out. We walked to the Royal Livingstone Hotel and had drinks on the terrace overlooking the Zambesi River and the spray of the Falls. A herd of wild zebra wandered into the grounds next to the swimming pool.