VIC FALLS:

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!

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Kelli Clifton Pho­to­graphs by Liza van Deven­ter

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.

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