Go There & Back Dave & LeeAnne Travel the World in 2007

Victoria Falls – The Smoke That Thunders

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

We are so glad to be leaving Johannesburg that the thought of going anywhere else is appealing. Even a departure to Zimbabwe – yes, that Zimbabwe, land of 7000% inflation, of dictatorial rule (Our first dictator, yes!), and shortages of everything – sounded good. So we happily boarded our flight out of Jo’berg and didn’t look back, even though we’ll head back in a week.

To add to our delight somehow, magically, we ended up being bumped up to first class, providence was rewarding us for leaving Jo’berg, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. I’ve never had the privilege before, but I hope it happens again.

Flying into Vic Falls is like stepping into a movie about Africa. It looks exactly like it should – dry, flat and dusty. There’s little vegetation beyond low scrub and Acacia trees, and the locals are suitably colorful. When we checked into our rooms we asked the owner about security issues – we were coming from Jo’berg and the economy here is wrecked and far beyond anything we’ve ever experienced – she replied that you shouldn’t be out on the streets after dark because there had been reports of a male Bull Elephant prowling the area of late. We asked her again, expecting to be warned about well, you know, the locals. She dispelled any fears we had, explaining that the local population were not the type to get into that sort of trouble, and I have to say she was spot on. But Zimbabwe and it’s people, economy and government are a whole other blog entry. Let’s talk about Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls are like Niagara Falls in that they are both huge waterfalls that divide two countries. You can view the falls from both the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides. If you come here you owe it to yourself to view them from both the Zim and Zam sides. In my opinion Zim has the better part of the falls, but the Zam side is more impressive. You can get closer, and the most dramatic views are on that side. The best view is probably from the bridge downstream on the Zambezi. The bridge is in the “No Mans Land” between Zim and Zam, which is another plus.

Vic Falls is also probably a contender for “Adrenaline Capitol” of Africa. You can do a stupid amount of stupid stuff here: Bungie Jump, Gorge Slide, Parasailing, Rafting, Parachuting, pretty much everything you can do that will get you in the hospital. In addition, if those things don’t do you in, you can go on Safari and see a bunch of animals that can put you in the hospital too.

Vic Falls should be high on your list of things to see if you’re planning to come to this side of the world. Were a bit worried we’d have trouble filling a full week here, but it wasn’t a issue at all, the Falls are a place that shouldn’t be rushed. But if you’re looking for a rush, they can provide that too.