Sunday, 3 March 2013

Livingstone's birthday and a visit to the 'smoke that thunders'

First view of the falls from above the Zambezi gorge
The smoke that thunders

The local name for the Victoria Falls is Mosi -oa-Tunya, which translated into English means the smoke that thunders. And thunders is exactly right.
The falls are said to have been discovered by David Livingstone in 1855, which in terms of European exploration in Africa may be true, however the falls were already known to the indigenous people, so discovered is a relative term. But given that March 2013 sees the 200th anniversary of Livingstone's birth, we thought that a refresher visit to the falls ahead of this years safari season was inorder. Business can be hell sometimes.
We all know that the falls are recognised as a world heritage site, but it is only when you are there and experience the full magnificence of this natural wonder, that it really comes home. Walking along the viewing footpath opposite the falls, drenched by the misty spray that rises up out of the Zambezi gorge below, one experiences the full magnificence of this natural phenonemun.
The iconic images we see in photographs and on TV screens do not come close to replicating the real experience. It is a must do for anyone who visits Africa.

Tips for visitors to the falls:
  • You will need to carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate to show to custom officials on return to South Africa, which is the hub for flights to the falls.
  • An enterprising group of locals have set up an informal rain coat hire shop at the enterence to the falls park. For $3 you can hire a plastic coat, which trust me, is well worth the money.
  • An evening cruise on the Zamesi river is well worth the expence. It's included in our packages, but whatever the case it is a wonderful experience. You'll enjoy a glass if something refreshing, cruising down one if africas main arteries, while watching Hippos are crocodiles. Fantastic!
  • The currancy used in Zimbabwe is US$, which you will need to buy local arts and crafts.

View from behind the falls, the smoke that thunders rising up above the falling water.
Written by Will Fox

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