The first stop on my Southern Africa adventure is Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe / Zambia border. The Victoria Falls Hotel, on the Zimbabwe side, is the oldest in the area. The hotel was built in 1904 to house workers building the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Cape-to-Cairo railway. 1917 saw the construction of a new, much grander, hotel with further expansions and renovations throughout the years. It boasts a rich history of hosting royalty and celebrities, and is my home for 3 nights.
The first order of business was a helicopter flight over the falls and the surrounding area. The area around the falls, although not technically a rainforest, is thick and green even during the dry season. The aerial view of the falls is amazing and you can see the effect that the constant spray has on the environment.
From the hotel, you can see the Victoria Falls Bridge, considered by many to be an engineering marvel. The bridge was built in England, shipped by sea and by rail and assembled on site, opening in 1905 after a mere 14 months of construction. It crosses the Zambezi river just below the falls and connects Zimbabwe & Zambia via a rail track, pedestrian footbridge and roadway. Sitting at 420ft above the low water mark of the river it is one of the most popular bungee jumping sites in the world.
Victoria Falls are considered to be the largest in the world, due to their combined height and width. They are know locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, “the smoke that thunders”. Right now it is dry season, but the sound of the water and the resulting spray are still pretty impressive. The falls are made up of 5 different “streams”, The Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls & The Eastern Cataract. During high water, it can be difficult to photograph the falls due to the amount of spray. Not so much this time of year, although the spray does make for some picturesque rainbows.
The park isn’t just about the water falls, it is also rich in wildlife. I was fortunate to be able to capture photos of some of the local residents.
I had heard that the best place to have a drink while watching the sunset (a “sundowner” to the locals) was from the river, so, on my last night I took a sunset river cruise. We saw many different birds, hippos out of the water and a beautiful sunset. A great way to end my time in Victoria Falls.