The smoke that thunders – Victoria Falls!

Victoria Falls was the final stop of our tour across Southern Africa – and it’s well worth the trip all on its own! Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders” – is the largest waterfall on Earth and the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. If all those titles don’t entice you to go, the photos below of the spectacular views of the falls should!

VicFalls - 2We stayed on the Zambezi river on the Zambia side of the falls – and it was a good start to our visit: We could see the mist over the falls from afar and I was excited to see the falls up close and personal. I headed to the Victoria Falls Park the next day and made my way from the visitor center to the falls. The stands selling or renting raincoats are a hint – it’s going to be a wet adventure on this side of the falls! The trail crosses the deep chasm carved into the rock by the river on a rickety footbridge – the spray from the falls is to strong, it feels like walking through the river! I saved myself the look down and focused on getting across.
VicFalls - 8As if that wasn’t wet enough, I went on to the Knife Edge – a sheer cliff facing the giant falls.  You are very close to the falls and are covered in mist and spray – it seems close enough to touch! On the edge, in the river above the fall, I could see people! It seemed pretty crazy to me – but you can actually visit Livingstone island, make your way across the river, swim in Devil’s Pool to the very edge and peek over it down into the abyss! While I love infinity pools, that was a little much for me and I skipped that experience!

VicFalls - 4Instead, I headed down the trail to the banks of the river and the giant whirlpool at the bottom of the falls where the water is making its way through the gorge the river has carved over the centuries… Fortunately, the baboons all along the trail left me alone – they are not nearly as cute up close as they look in the photos!

I loved the experience and went back for more the next day to see it from the Zimbabwe side of the border, just across the Victoria Falls Bridge! The Zimbabwean National Park is just on the other side of the border and has access to VicFalls - 11the larger part of the falls. The walking trail leads all the way along the falls with lots of great viewpoints to get an even better idea of the size of the falls! most of the walkway is covered in spray and mist –  it’s an awe inspiring experience – as you keep walking, it sinks in just how wide the falls are and how much water is going over it every minute! It’s 1.7km wide, 108m deep and 1 million liters of water per second, in case you want to impress the folks at home! At the very end of the trail you get to “Danger Point” – very aptly named as you seem to stand right above the 108m drop-off – add some slippery wet rocks and you don’t need a lot of imagination how it got its name! If you are looking for slightly more romantic sights, you can take another trail to get views of the Victoria Falls Bridge – it was built in 1904 and it is hard to imagine how this feat of engineering was completed more than 100 years ago!

VicFalls - 7After all that excitement, I needed to relax a little – and headed for the Victoria Falls Hotel with its terrace overlooking the bridge! The setting transported you right back to English colonial times, I had a tea and was expecting a steam locomotive to cross the bridge any minute!

The Victoria Falls made a great finale to our trip across Southern Africa – despite having seen my share of waterfalls, they are an awe inspiring sight and you should add them to your Africa itinerary if you can! And make sure to leave enough time to see it from both sides, Zambia and Zimbabwe – the combination makes for the full experience!

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