Zimbabwe and Zambia: Victoria Falls

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Days spent: 2
Come here if you want:

  • Mind blowing beauty: One of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World
  • Thrill: If you are a tiny bit crazy, go to The Devil’s Pool or bungee jump into the gorge

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Victoria Falls: Victoria Falls  is 1.5x wider than Niagra Falls and 2x as high, making it the largest waterfall in the world. This mind-blowing, breathtaking site is right on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. We stayed on the Zimbabwe side, but one of the things that we did that I recommend, is to obtain a slip at the Zimbabwe border that allows you access to cross the bridge at that is 1/2 owned by Zimbabwe and 1/2 owned by Zambia at no charge. The view is spectacular (picture on top) and if you are lucky, you can see some adventurous, crazy folks bungee jumping off the bridge into the gorge. If you want to do more than explore the bridge and leave Zimbabwe, you will need pay again to enter the country since there are entry and exit fees (Single entry=$30, Double=$45).

ImageVictoria Falls Tour: We did an organized tour of Victoria Falls that lasted about 2 hours long. Honestly, we could have done it on our own and it would have been nice to not be as rushed. Our family LOVES taking photos and it took us the entire time to get the shots we wanted of the Falls. We had to take five times the photos to get “the shot” because of the spray from the water (Vic Fall’s nickname is “The Smoke that Thunders”) and weather can get in the way of a clear picture. YOU NEED A PONCHO and anything that can keep your electronics dry.
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Sunset Boat Tour on the Zambezi River:  From an animal viewing standpoint, not the best way to see animals, but we did have some pretty neat hippo and crocodile sightings.  We did however, really enjoy having several cocktails, relaxing, and watching a beautiful sunset.

Flea Market: There is a flea market near Victoria Falls where you can negotiate and barter for some great souvenirs and keepsakes. It is a tad bit overwhelming since everyone is so eager to try and sell you something, but the people were all genuinely nice, sincere, and willing to make deals. (See under “Glad I Brought”)
ImageThe Boma: 
(http://www.africaalbidatourism.com/restaurant_detailed.html?rcode=1&icode=5)
This was a really fun dinner to do with a group. They had good food, dressed you up in African printed garb, painted your face, provided fun live dancing by the local dance groups, and a memorable drum lesson. The highlight of the night was definitely when they passed out African drums to all the guests and we all played together. We even ate a Mopani worm and Warthog during this dinner (Sorry Pumbaa!). It felt a little touristy, but we were having so much fun with the drums that we didn’t mind.
ImageHow we got there (from Sabi Sabi/Kruger Nat’l Park):

  • Flight from Kruger Mpumalanga Airport (MQP) to Johannesburg (JNB)= 45 minutes
  • Overnight stay in Johanesburg (DaVinci Hotel in Nelson Mandela Square)
  • Flight from Johannesburg (JNB) to Victoria Falls Airport (VFA)= 45 minutes
  • Drive from VFA to Victoria Falls Hotel area= 30 minutesAfrica July 2013 iPhone 356

Accommodations: The Victoria Falls Hotel (Rating B+). http://www.victoriafallshotel.co
Very charming, historical hotel built in 1904 with colonial designs and great decor with old paintings, advertisements, and photos. Food and drinks were good, rooms were a little small, but exactly what we needed since we didn’t spend too much time in them. Walkable to the town, the bridge, and the Falls.

Africa July 2013 iPhone 365

Climate:  July (Winter), Mid 40’s at night, mid 70’s during the day.

Africa July 2013 iPhone 431

Food: The food at our hotel was great and a bit more “Americanized”, which was actually nice halfway through our trip. The Boma had great traditional food and we were a little adventurous and tried Warthog, Mopani Worms, and Black Eyed Peas (which we just thought was funny).

Africa July 2013 iPhone 439

Glad I brought:
– Waterproof Digital Camera
– Camera bags to avoid wetness to non-waterproof cameras and phones
– Wrist or neck dangle for your iPhone
– Bug Spray, Bug Lotion, and/or Bug Bands
– Ponchos (Our tour provided them)
– Small bills for the flea market
– Extra unwanted clothing or shoes (everyone at the flea market was interested in bartering for our “American” hats, socks, shoes, shirts, etc)

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