A feast for your senses and undoubtedly one of Mother Nature’s truly breathtaking creations, Victoria Falls should be high on your bucket list of destinations. We can’t wait to go back!
Zim’s most Insta-worthy spot
Nothing can prepare you for the first time you lay your eyes on Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls. I finally understand why it’s considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The roar of the water plummeting over the edge, the feeling of the mist on your skin… even learning about the history of this magnificent place is enough to give you goosebumps.
We were in Zim for only three days, but it was enough to get a good taste of the entire area. My initial experience of Vic Falls was on the veranda at The Elephant Camp, our home for the duration: you could vaguely see the misty ‘smoke’ of the pounding water.
To give you a brief walk through the history books, over 160 years ago, explorer David Livingstone was believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ in Tokaleya Tonga. You’ll see the giant statue of Livingstone on your walking tour of the Falls. I recommend getting a guide to give you additional information throughout the walking tour as he’ll be able to point out a lot of things that you
South Africans can get to one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders so easily, thanks to kulula holidays. The flight from Joburg to Vic Falls is under two hours. Before you know it, you’re there!
may have missed on the info boards. The walk is doable (probably two to three hours if you take your time) and wheelchair- and pram-friendly. Whatever you do, don’t wear a raincoat – rather experience the mist from the Falls on your face and body – the hair frizz is worth it!
Seeing it from the air is a completely different experience and an absolute must – Liza even spotted hippos from her front-row seat in the helicopter! Caught at the correct angle, the water from the Falls creates exquisite rainbows, so keep your camera on standby if you want that perfect shot. I’m not the biggest fan of heights, but I felt completely at ease during the 10- to 15-minute trip.
There are so many things to do at The Elephant Camp that make your stay memorable. Being able to get up close and personal with Sylvester, a gorgeous male cheetah rescued at five days old (he’s an adult now, of course) was a moment I’ll never forget. Sylvester earns his keep by creating awareness about conservation. He is visited weekly by groups of school children. For an additional donation you can take a walk with him – an extraordinary experience.
On our second day, we met the resident ellies at The Elephant Camp. This was the highlight of the trip for Liza. We gave them food, watched them frolic in the mud and took photos with them too. Jumbo, the alpha male of the herd, completely won over Liza’s heart. I’ve always adored elephants, but when you have the opportunity to look them straight in the eye and admire their long, dusty lashes, you can’t help but fall even deeper in love.
Sundowners were the perfect way to wind down after an action-packed day, and the Batoka Gorge at The Elephant Camp is a great set-up, with a variety of drinks and some snacks. Whatever your vice (mine was an ice-cold Zambezi beer), make sure to pick a spot near the water to watch the magnificent sunset. At some point, everyone went silent – there is just no other response to the beauty. The staff told me that Batoka Gorge is a popular spot for marriage proposals too… just saying!
As we gently cruised along the Zambezi at sunset, we saw crocodiles, hippos and waterbirds. Bring binoculars along if you can. We were surprised when our guide said, ‘Welcome to Zambia!’ There was no outward sign that we had slipped into another country.
If you’re looking for a unique lunch spot with scenic views, go to the Lookout Café. It also caters to your inner adrenaline junkie, with a gorge swing, bungee jumping, zip-lining and a jump called ‘The Flying Fox’, which Liza decided to do on the spur of the moment – and loved!
All in all, it was a whirlwind two days that I’ll never forget. Victoria Falls has stolen my heart. I’ll be back...
Right: Visitors taking selfies at the Falls. You can’t help but get close to the edge!
Below left: The sun streaming onto the veranda at The Elephant Camp. We loved spotting ellies and other wildlife through the telescope.
Below right: Sylvester the cheetah showing Gift Siziba some love.
Bottom: A tranquil sunset cruise on a placid section of the Zambezi River.