Stories & photos by guest blogger Chloe Barnett.
It is an incredible experience to stand at the edge of a precipice, just a footstep away from something so unbelievably strong and violent, yet at the same time awe inspiring and beautiful. The magnificent Victoria Falls is 1.7km long and drops around 100 metres, plunging into the crevice below and sending vast amounts of spray skyward. The force of the water provides a ‘back-ground soundtrack’ to life in the town and the spray can be seen 70 km away, making for stunning views as you come into land at Victoria Falls & Livingstone Airports.
The locals call the Falls ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, or ‘the smoke that thunders’ but as you can imagine it is not smoke that rains down, it is literally the Zambezi River. So here I am, my first visit to the Falls and it is the end of the wet season when the torrent and the ‘smoke’ are at their peak. My first tip to you is wear a rain coat (better yet a swimming costume!) and bring a waterproof container for your camera and other belongings. By the end of my visit I was completely drenched, but I loved every moment and laughed all the way … not everyone can say they have been showered by the Zambezi! My second tip to you is, consider the continuous sound of gushing water and be sure to visit the restrooms at the main gate before heading off to explore.
I would recommend starting at the Livingstone statue with viewpoint no.1 and making your way through the evergreen rainforest, created by the falls micro-climate, all the way to no.15 where the Victoria Falls Bridge is located (connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia). Be careful where you step though, as the safety measures in some areas are far from global standard; consisting only of a foot-high wall of thorny branches before an immediate plunge into the falls. As you make your way along the lush rainforest walkways keep an eye out for bushbucks, baboons and green turacos; and be sure to stop at all the lookout points as you never know which angle will produce a rainbow. Eventually you will come to the main part of the falls where there is a continuous cascading curtain of water. During the Zambezi’s peak flow, 550 million litres of water goes over the edge every minute; that’s 220 Olympic swimming pools!
Your journey will get progressively wetter from here, but trust me it’s worth it and definitely a big and smiley tick on my bucket list. Be sure to put it on yours as well!