Livingston: Home of Victoria Falls

Finally we arrived in Livingston, Zambia, the home of Victoria Falls. The tour ended here for most people, except for the eight of us ‘Cape Towners’ who would join a new truck to take us through Southern Africa. But before we said goodbye to our new friends, we still had a few days together to visit Vic Falls, partake in various adrenalin activities and do justice to the campsite bar.

Well, in theory anyway. As it happens, myself and a couple of others were incapacitated for much of the time due to challenges of the stomach variety. So while most of the group went white-water rafting, jet boating and Booze Cruising, we recuperated by the pool and enjoyed beautiful views over the Zambezi. Even though I had already seen enough elephants to last me a lifetime, I was still

entranced watching them wander along the opposite river bank whilst I lounged on my recliner. However, the novelty of having monkeys roaming freely around the campsite quickly wore off – they were quite aggressive and ran off with anything that wasn’t tied down.

An elephant also caused a stir on the evening that we were going out for a group meal; we ended up having to traipse through the five star hotel next door because a large bull was blocking the main road into the campsite and refused to budge!

I’m Loving Angels Instead…

Victoria Falls is one of the world’s largest waterfalls, apparently over twice the height and width of Niagara Falls, depending on which source you believe, and rivalled only by South America's Iguazu Falls (which I hope to see on my travels next year.) It is on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe; apparently the views are better from the ‘Zim’ side but this required another pricey visa so I contented myself with sightseeing from Zambia.

We walked beside the Falls in baking heat, marvelling at the depth of the chasm and the deafening sound of the water plummeting into great pools below. A constant mist of spray rising from the foot of the Falls explained why they are known as The Smoke that Thunders, and a rainbow arched spectacularly across the gorge. The Falls sounded pretty thunderous to me, but apparently the volume of water and columns of spray are even more impressive in wet season (November to April.)

Vic Falls and gorges in background
To get another perspective on the Falls, most people went white-water rafting but I had absolutely no desire to do so! I chose the comparably sedate option of a helicopter flight and was really glad I did (particularly when the rafters returned with sprained ankles, twisted knees and videos of capsizing rafts etc.) In a small helicopter, we soared up into the perfect clear sky, were treated to magnificent panoramic views of the landscape and saw that the Falls' backdrop is an equally breathtaking series of zigzagging gorges. On our walking tour, we had been struck by the sound and power of the water; but from above – just like my hot air balloon ride in the Serengeti – we were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the natural wonder, stretching as far as the eye could see. I also loved being in the helicopter, which felt so much more agile and powerful than a plane of similar size.

The pilot gave us an interesting commentary for the first half of the flight, then before we could object, switched on Robbie Williams' 'Angels' which blarred above the sound of the chopper. With the sun beginning to set as we swept over the Falls for the last time, I’m embarrassed to say that it was actually quite moving!!

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