Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – November 1999

Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders.

Victoria Falls

Derived from the towering column of spray when the Zambezi River runs high, this is the name that Zimbabwe’s local people have given to this awesome natural phenomenon.

The name is probably more appropriate and descriptive than “Victoria”, which has a far too calm and composed ring to it to do justice to the masses of thundering, swirling water of these spectacular Falls. But all Dr David Livingstone probably thought of when he named the Falls after his Queen in 1855 was his royal duty.

Five separate falls make up this incredible spectacle that plunges more than 100m into a sheer-sided chasm which separates Zimbabwe from Zambia. The awe-inspiring abyss is spanned by a 1905 Edwardian bridge which links the two countries. The masses of water plunging down the Falls and into the gorge below originate from the mighty Zambezi River that meanders through more than 2,700km of African countryside.

April and May are the Peak season for the falls. The dry seasons are between September and November and almost no water plunges from the falls. So you will find during the dry season a lot of the activities available have been reduced.

Things to See

The Baobab Tree

This is one the other features at the Falls to see. It is also know as the “Big Tree”. A famous meeting point for pioneers in the early days. It has been fenced off because people were going there and carving initials on the tree.

David Livingstone Statue

This statue was erected to the memory of David Livingstone on the 6 August 1954. You will find this statue overlooking the Devil’s Cataract at the Falls.

Crocodile Ranch

At this ranch you can see more than 2000 species of crocodiles. They have also got Lions there, Ostriches and a numerous bird life there. They started doing an orphanage for the animals and bird life that have been injured.

Activities

There are quite a lot of activities to do in the Falls, but I was in the Falls about a month ago with a group of people and all the activities they did were companies based in Livingstone, Zambia.

I don’t want to be biased or put Victoria Falls companies down but I found that the Livingstone companies were the same price as Victoria Falls but I found that you got a bit more value for your money with the Livingstone companies . But people have their own opinions about which company to go as well. I will list below the companies that do different activities for Vic Falls and Zambia.

Whitewater Rafting

This activity takes place below the Falls and the white water section of the Zambezi extends for just over 20km, hurtling the rubber boats through 19 gorges bordered by sheer cliffs of up to 700ft high.

Companies

  • Shearwater

  • Safari Par

  • Frontiers

  • Raft Extreme – a Livingstone, Zambia Company.

    Bungi-Jumping

    A visit to the Victoria Falls is packed with adventure, and those wishing to experience the thrill of bungi-jumping have one of the most scenic spots in the world at their disposal.

    Companies

    With this one, there are so many people doing it, I suggest the best thing to do is to go to a place called Backpackers Bazaar at Victoria Falls and they will recommend the best company to go to.

    Abseiling

    Abseil Zambia

    There is only one Company as far as I know that is offering this and it is in Livingstone. I would recommend this activity to anyone. It is a full day activity and it includes, Abseiling, High Wire and the Gorge Swing (real adrenalin rush). You are given a light breakfast and full lunch.

    Sunset Cruises

    Companies

  • Taonga Safaris – Livingstone Company

  • Bwaato

  • Zambezi Jet Boats

    There are also so many other activities to do, such as Elephant rides, Microlights, Helicopter Rides and so on. The best option to find information on this is, again, to go to Backpackers Bazaar. They will help you find what you need.

    Vic Falls Fast facts

    Accommodation

  • Nyathi Camp site – they also have Chalets there and are very reasonable.

  • Hitchhaven

    357 Gibson Road

  • Livingstone Lodge

  • Pat’s Place

  • Jolly Boys – Zambian side

    And many more…

    Transport in the Falls

    There are Taxis about, but be careful they can really rip you off especially if you are a tourist. But most of the backpacker lodges are close to town.

    Transport to Bulawayo

    Route 49 – They come to Bulawayo twice a week and are really reasonable. They also do Vic Falls to Cape Town.

    Like I have mentioned, Backpackers Bazaar is the place to go if you need advice on anything and what there is to do and where to stay. They also will book activities for you as well.

    With the Zambian companies, if you chose to do an activity with them they will pick you up from wherever you are staying and will drop you off in the evening.

    The Author

    Hi there, my name is Lisa and I have been living in Zimbabwe since 1980. I think Zimbabwe is really a great country and it has so many tourist attractions to see.

    I have recently opened up an Internet Café that has many facilites availiable, such as fax, telephones, colour scanning and printing, snooker table, swimming pool, dart board and a jukebox, oh, also Full Internet and E-mail access.

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