For those of you who don't know Victoria Falls are on the Zambian-Zimbabwean border and is fed by the Zambezi river. On the Zambian side is the town of Livingstone and on the Zimbabwean side the town is aptly named Victoria Falls. The falls were named by Sir David Livingstone who is said to have been the first European to set eyes on the falls and named them for the Queen at the time- Victoria. The indigenous name is Mosi-Ou-Tunya meaning the Smoke that Thunders. Visiting during the dry or the wet season offer completely different views and experiences. I was lucky enough to visit in the shoulder season so while the rains had started (and were uncharacteristically heavy according to some locals) I was still able to see that falls. During the rainy season they are said to be cloaked in spray and that it is difficult to even see them through the dense spray.
I took a nice 9 hour bus ride from Lusaka (air-con = a nice change from Malawian buses) and based myself at Jollyboys Backpackers right in the centre of Livingstone. I was lucky in that 2 friends I had met in Malawi at Butterfly were there also. I set up my tent, in what I considered a prime position (in the shade) and settled into read the various activities I could partake in from throwing myself off a bridge to walking along the top of the falls and sunset booze cruises on the Zambezi. Livingstone offers it all. The choice was overwhelming so when Heather and Lindsey suggested a trip to the Royal Livingstone hotel for a sundowner.
The Royal Livingstone is the type of place I could only ever afford to stay in if I won the lotto. However as the hotel nearest the edge of the falls, it offers an amazing view as the sun sets behind the spray of the falls. It is well worth splashing out on a cool glass of white wine and sitting with some new friends while watching the sky and water turn from pink to orange as the sun sinks towards the falls edge. We all fell silent as the view captured us. Plus the hotel has zebra and giraffe that roam the grounds as it is technically in Mosi Ou Tunya National Park.
|Even zebras get to enjoy 5 star hotels|
After my first glimpse of the spray, I could not wait to see the falls close up and I decided to splash out on a trip to Livingstone Island. Unfortunately Devils Pools were closed early this year due to the unseasonably high rainfall in December, however Angels Pools was opened which was still no more than 5m from the edge of the falls. After a 5min speedboat ride from the Royal Livingstone, we reached Livingstone Island which is protected as a World Heritage Site. After a mini tour of the island and a glimpse over the edge of the falls it was time to strip down and swim at the top of the world's widest falls. A swim, a mini massage from a rapid and a photo shoot later and it was breakfast time. We were treated to delightful Eggs Benedict while being able to hear the roar of the falls before boarding our speedboat back to the main land.
After managing to blag a ride on the free hotel shuttle (they thought I was a guest!) I arrived at the National Park Gates, dodged the curio sellers with a "I'll look when I come out" and set off to spend some quality time with some waterfalls. I came up against one major disadvantage to making the trip to Livingstone Island on the morning that I was going to visit the falls: I missed the hostel shuttle which means I missed having a group of people who could take my picture. Now, I have absolutely no problem in wandering around in my own company, often I quite like it, being left to my own thoughts and doing things in my own time but often it results in quite awkward 'selfie' shots as I try to get both me AND the attraction in at the same time.
|Case in point- awkward selfie|
There are trails leading you in front of the falls towards the knife point bridge (where you will get SOAKED) and towards the rather nerve-racking Danger Point. Here you are about half way along the width of the falls and are coming towards the end of the Zambian side of the falls.
|After crossing knife point bridge and getting soaked|