Mosi-o-tunya: The smoke, that thunders! Also known as Victoria Falls… But in November in the end of the dry season, there was not that much water falling and not much smoke and thunder….
November is a great time to visit Zimbabwe, but it also has some downsides. In November 2013 me, my husband and our 8 year old son were visiting friends in the capital Harare and used it as a opportunity to a month long backpacking trip through Zimbabwe. We took the bus from Harare to Vic Falls, and it took 12 hours, but it was very comfortable. I was just the amount time, it took me to hear “Out of Africa” by Danish author Karen Blixen on audio book.
Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO world heritage natural site! Victoria Falls – or Mosi-o-tunya a as it more rightly called – is the world longest waterfall with 1.6 km wide and 128 meters high. It is part of the Zambezi river and marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Yes, it was definitely dry season in November, and I was a little disappointed, since a large part of the fall was not a waterfall. It was mainly The Devil’s Cataract and the beginning of the main falls that had water. It was still impressive though… The peak is around mid-April, but travellers say that when it is at it’s highest, you almost can’t see anything for all the mist. You can see rainbows and sometimes when it’s full moon a lunar rainbow – a moonbow! The natural infinity pool (The Devils Pool) people always are photographed in is on the Zimbabwean side. I was not taking my 8 year old there…
Along the falls is small rainforest-like area, since even in the very dry season, there is mist hanging in the air. There are baboons and monkeys – especially around the toilets – and we also saw bushbucks. Also look out for snakes, but they are more afraid of you…
BRITISH AFRICA ⇓
When in Africa – it’s British? Dr. David Livingstone was in 1855 transported in a canoe to the falls and “discovered” and named them after Queen Victoria. There is a statue of him. We had drinks on the famous Victoria Falls Hotel built by the British in 1904. It was originally conceived as accommodation for workers on the Cape-to-Cairo railway. It was the infamous Cecil Rhodes, who was involved. Rhodes was insistent, that the bridge should be built in a place, that the spray from the falls would fall on the passing trains, which is why the site was chosen just a little below the Boiling Pot – very close to the falls. The best view is Stanley’s Terrace. The hotel didn’t accept credit cards for our drinks (?), so we had to sit there counting our cents among the uber-rich…
I took a zipline across the river just below the falls – my son took he video and its horrible. No GoPro here! Your relatives can panic from the Wild Horizons Lookout Café. There are many other activities near the falls, like bungee jump from the bridge – check your hostel or the offices in town. We also went on a Zambezi cruise, but that will be a different post.
SLEEP & EAT ⇓
There is many places to stay and many more hotels than any where else in Zimbabwe. There are hotels and hostel in all ranges, and even if I could have afforded it, I was glad we didn’t stay at Victoria Falls Hotel. I can be quite luxurious, but something was just off with the very British upper-class vibe and people in high heels in the middle of Africa. We opted for a chalet at Victoria Falls Rest Camp & Lodges. It was very close to the falls, they helped me with the zip line and the pool and restaurant was great. The pool was also visited by Zimbabweans which made it a little crowded. The biggest problem was that the hut was sooo warm, that I almost didn’t sleep, and had to get up and shower during the night.
We ate lunch (picture below) at The Africa Café and bought some souvenirs at the built-for-tourists place called Elephants Walk. I bought some Baobab lip balm which was so great. We also had a fine dinner at Mama Africa. My husband had a delicious kudu stew.
Have you seen the falls with water?