After packing up our overnight camp in Kasane we left Botswana through the Kazangula border post (06:00- 18:00) to enter Zimbabwe. Everything here was plain sailing – the gardens tidy, offices neat and even the official on duty greeting me unexpectedly in Afrikaans.
Today we will be visiting the Victoria Falls after nearly 20 years. The mission of this? To show the wonder of the Falls to some newby Africa travelers to marvel at one of God’s creations. The first thing I noticed was the spray of the Falls forming the background of a rather quiet Victora Falls town. The buzz of tourists wandering the streets lingering at sidewalk popup vendors are notably absent. Instead “sale hunger” vendors follow your every step in the desperate hope to put something on their table tonight.
We parked our vehicles in the shade of a tree at the Kingdom Hotel where the hotel staff can keep an eye on it (and of course earn an extra tip on the side) and took the walk down to the Falls area. As we made our way through the hotel grounds toward the Falls I hardly noticed visitors and was wondering how the Spur and Panarottis, being patronless despite it being lunch time, keep the doors open.
Entrance fee, as everything else, in Zimbabwe is charged in US Dollar. As a SADC citizen you qualify for a discount, so remember to take your passport along as proof. Although the facilities at the entrance gate is a bit rundown the service was efficient and in no time we could enjoy our walk in the park. A quick reminder: put on comfortable walking shoes that will dry easily as you will get wet along the route.
As we made our way to the first viewpoint at the Cataract we were greeted by some vervent monkeys having a brawl over food. This is also where we met up with David Livingstone, the famous explorer. I could not help but wonder what went through his mind when he first laid eyes on the Victoria Falls.
Our first glimpse of the Falls was the Devil’s cataract and although the water levels were not high, being August and the end of the dry season, a perfect full rainbow was on display when standing at the right spot. Maybe Livingstone was also lucky enough to see a perfect rainbow on his first glimpse of the Falls.
But on with the walk. We made our way along the entire route, which can be slippery at places, admiring Trumpeter Hornbill in the treetops keeping watch over the visitors. I can recall that the birdlife was somewhat more prolific on my first visit to the park area than from what I observed today. Maybe that is sadly an indication to what the state of the wildlife is at the moment in the country.
At each viewpoint we admired a different angle of the Falls taking in the Main Falls, Livingstone Island and Danger Point, as we progressed along the route until we reached the end of the walkway at the iron bridge that spanned the mighty Zambezi linking up Zambia with Zimbabwe.
It was getting late and we still had to negotiate the Zambian border post and do some shopping in Livingstone before we could pitch our tents for the night in Livingstone. It was time to move on. As we were leaving the gates of the park we were immediately joined by a policeman who escorted us back to the hotel grounds. This made us all a bit uncomfortable about security while we picked up our pace to get back to the hotel parking lot or was he merely expecting a tip to aid his survival in a cash stricken country?
Despite this it was good for the soul to introduce some newbies to the wonders of Africa and marvel at God’s creation once again.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing (Helen Keller)