The Thrills and Spills of Zimbabwe | Your Ultimate Guide to Victoria Falls
‘‘The most wonderful sight I have witnessed in Africa. None can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It has never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight’’ - David Livingstone
One of my major travel highlights in 2018 was my trip to Zimbabwe. I have detailed out a summary, the headwinds and tailwinds, of the trip here .
I took a 17 hours road trip on the Extra City Luxury Bus, a public transport from Harare to Victoria Falls. It cost US$43!. The truth is that it was 43 Zollars but because I paid with my card, I experienced the issue I mentioned in my previous post. US$1 = I Zollar. It was the first dazing cost I incurred.
Asides from the desire to experience road tripping in another African country, I was on a budget. LOL. Anyways, we set out at 7AM and arrived Victoria Falls 10PM. We were fortunate to see free-range elephants and other animals majestically crossing the road. It was an unreal experience!.
From the bus park, I took a cab to Victoria Falls Rest Camp and Lodges, the first property I stayed at. The welcoming was terrible. To worsen it, my room wasn’t what I envisaged it would be but I quickly made up my mind to enjoy the two nights I was putting up there.
The next morning, I employed the services of a driver to chauffeur me round the tiny town for US$20 per day. I spent three nights and two days at Victoria Falls and returned back by flight, FastJet, to Harare.
PLACES I VISITED IN VICTORIA FALLS
1’. BUSHTRACKS EXPRESS
I typically love touring economic infrastructures (transport, utilities and power systems) when I visit a new country. The motive is first to compare what is obtainable in other African countries with my home country; and secondly to be inspired. On this occasion, I saw a stream train on my way to Victoria Falls and thought to stop but it was a tour type train.
The train takes tourists on fine dining experiences over the Victoria Falls bridge with views of the waterfalls for US$150. The ticket includes a stop on the Victoria Falls Bridge for sunset, a 5-course meal and drinks (with some exclusions – spirits and champagne are extra). Perfect for romantic couples!. I skipped it
2. VICTORIA FALLS WATERFALLS
For clarity, note that the small town, airport, the oldest hotel and the waterfall are all called Victoria Falls. lol.
The spectacular Victoria Falls waterfalls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya which means "smoke that thunders". It was named by the largest tribe of Zimbabwe, Shona. Entry fees into the waterfalls depends on nationality. I wonder when Nigeria will implement this. Anyways, the standard single entry adult rate for non-Zimbabweans is US$30 and US$7 for citizens. We started our tour from the left which encompasses 16 viewing points.
The waterfalls is a magnificent sight. Impressively, I learnt that it stretches some 1.7 km and plummets over 350 feet. The mist of the Falls was strong but definitely stronger during raining seasons. I guess I can recommend that you visit in December. At least my pictures were clear as the mist wasn’t too heavy.
Unfortunately though, I didn’t get to see the Lunar rainbow or moonbow as it is sometimes called. Typically, on the day of a full moon or hot sun, the brightness from the skies causes the spray to create a rainbow.
For extreme adrenaline junkies, you can go River Rafting beneath the waterfalls and experience the rapids.
3. VICTORIA FALLS BRIDGE
The victoria falls bridge connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. I hear it is also called ‘‘no man’s land’’ because it is neither owned by either country. It is the only rail link between both countries. It is famous for what I understand is the world’s best Bungee Jump, including a bungee swing and zip lining, but quite frankly I wasn’t interested in paying US$120. In addition, the driver told me that an Australian woman narrowly survived after her cord snapped during the 111-meter bungee jump. Hence, the Bungee Jump was ban for some years but it is now opened.
4. DAVID LIVINGSTONE STATUE
We also saw a statue of the British explorer, David Livingstone, who claims to have first discovered and viewed the falls in 1855 despite being canoed there by locals. He was a missionary and like all the others, an African explorer who eventually lay claim to some sort of discovery. He successfully renamed the waterfalls after Queen Victoria. side-eye
5. VICTORIA FALLS HOTEL
This is the best place to stay in Victoria Falls if you are flushed with cash. It is so victorian and the oldest hotel in the town. I wandered around the hotel and also saw evidence of trophy hunting.
From the hotel, I saw the Victoria Falls bridge and sprays of the waterfall which is more pronounced during the raining seasons. I learnt that the lustrous mist of the waterfalls can be witnessed more than 20 km away. See far left of the picture below.
6. CAGE DIVING WITH NILE CROCODILES
A fellow travel enthusiast, Fola, had an hilarious experience at the crocodile cage. You should read all about it here. Remember, you are not allowed to laugh.
I thought I would be as courageous and so decided to visit the cage as well but I saw my bright future and quickly declined. Nigeria and Africa at large needs me alive. Suffice to say that the instructors didn’t help by saying the crocodiles were hungry, as always. Though crocs can go a long time without a meal, they take advantage of any food at sight. I also read that crocs move faster in water (as I could see), than land. A combination of these made me decline the diving and feeding crocs expereince. We have only one life!.
While I have seen an albino snake in Johannesburg zoo, this was my first time seeing an albino snake. I was thrilled to say the least. The youngest of all the crocs was over 25 years old. Amazing!.
It cost US$70 for the expereince.
7. THE BIG TREE AT VICTORIA FALLS
My driver insisted I see the tree, so I obliged. The baobab is 23 metres tall. It is estimated to be between 1,000 and 1,500 years old. Sincerely I know nothing more than what I read there.
7. SUNSET DINING ON RIVER ZAMBEZI
River Zambezi is the forth longest river in Africa and I was so thrilled to experience the sunset cruise of the famous river. It was so relaxing and amazing to say the least. We were served refreshments, mostly finger foods and drinks. While cruising, we saw Hippopotamus and crocodiles. It was fascinating watching the behavior of the Hippos. Talking about Hippos, remember ‘‘Nature s unpredictable’’. That said, please whenever you visit, stay faraway from Hippos as they are known for aggression, especially during calving.
The other guests on-board were friendly and we chatted away. One went the extra mile of sending me 1GB of data…….That reminds me, data isn’t cheap in Zimbabwe. So you can imagine how appreciative I was.
This was hands down the best activity I engaged in before leaving the small town of Victoria Falls.
WHERE I LODGED AT VICTORIA FALLS
Victoria Falls Rest Camp and Lodges (2 nights)
This was a budget accomodation at US$40 a night (breakfast inclusive). I booked the shared room but thank goodness, no one showed up so I had the place to myself. The breakfast was very good and again, everyone was excited to meet a Nigeria. Guys, Zimbabweans love for our fashion, music and movie is surreal.
Cons: No TV and WiFi in the rooms. I had to go to the reception or restaurant to browse.
Shearwater Explorers Village (1 night)
If you decide to visit Zimbabwe, don’t bother looking any further. This place is everything you need. It was US$70 a night (breakfast inclusive as well). There is a spa and tour services within the premises. It’s almost like a one-stop shop (accomodation, spa, restaurant and adrenaline-fuelled services). Highly recommended.
Cons: Lest I forget, there are no TVs in the rooms because according to the management, guests should be focused on exploring and touring rather than staying indoors and watching TV.
Below is a list, activities and prices, of all tourist activities in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
WHAT TO PACK ON YOUR TRIP TO VICTORIA FALLS
Practical clothes and shoes
Dollars and card