Tak­ing the Zam­bezi op­tion

Hem­ing­way would have ap­proved of a lux­ury lodge just up­stream from the mag­nif­i­cent Vic­to­ria Falls – and so will you, writes Jenny Stevens

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - SPECTACULAR VICTORIA FALLS -

IT’S known as Mosi Oa Tunya, ‘‘ the smoke that thun­ders’’, and as we gin­gerly inched across the sliver of sal­va­tion that is the Knife Edge Bridge, it was a far more ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion than ex­plorer David Liv­ing­stone’s gen­teel choice, Vic­to­ria Falls.

This water wasn’t fall­ing – it was thun­der­ing over the edge into the 100m chasm to our right with a deaf­en­ing roar. The churn­ing caul­dron be­low was in­vis­i­ble, lost in the sheet of water flung up­wards by the force of the drop.

Knife Edge Bridge links slip­pery basalt out­crops fac­ing the falls and is the last stop on what is es­sen­tially a Ko­dak trail from the Zam­bian-side en­try gate.

At the end of the dry sea­son in Novem­ber, when the water lev­els are low and the Zam­bezi splits into nar­row wa­ter­falls across the 1.7km width of the chasm, the bridge would be a good cam­era stop, but not now. Not when late rains have swollen the mighty river un­til it is burst­ing its banks and roar­ing over the edge of the fis­sure in the largest sin­gle sheet of fall­ing water in the world.

This is when the spray can rise 300m and be seen up to 50km away as a white cloud hov­er­ing over the river. Up close, rain­bows and moon­bows dance in the spray as light is re­fracted in the mist ris­ing from the base.

Even Liv­ing­stone, the first Euro­pean to see the falls in 1855, was in­spired to write: ‘‘ Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by an­gels in their flight.’’

To­day, they are gazed upon by thou­sands who come in rain jack­ets and pon­chos to see this modern won­der of the nat­u­ral world from ei­ther the Zam­bian or the Zim­bab­wean side, or both. Is one bet­ter than the other? At the mo­ment pol­i­tics is speak­ing louder than beauty and many are choos­ing Zam­bia un­til the sit­u­a­tion in Zim­babwe im­proves.

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