And The Water Flows And The Rain Still Pours Victoria Falls – A Phenomenon To Behold

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Victoria Falls – A Phenomenon To Behold

As my flight approaches Victoria Falls International Airport, a distant aerial view of Victoria Falls is a field of fire with white smoke billowing into the sky. As you approach the falls itself, you realize that the ‘smoke’ is a cloud of water as the Zambezi River pours down the falls with incredible force and power.

Once on the ground, the 24 km road from the airport to the city of Victoria Falls is a very smooth highway. There are beautiful trees on both sides of the road. The city of Victoria Falls can easily be confused with a small modern city in the developed world. It is clean; The buildings are modern and very well maintained. The roads are very well paved and marked. Good care of flower beds and gardens. There is not much traffic in the city apart from the rush of buses and minibuses that take tourists from the waterfalls to the various lodges in the city.

Park entry fee is paid at the falls entrance. Please note that park entry fees are paid in United States dollars, in cash. This is the most preferred mode of payment. Any other method of payment can be a big hassle and give you unprecedented complications. A woman ahead of me in line had a $50 US travelers check and had to leave because she couldn’t return her change. Zimbabwe dollars cannot be used by foreigners to pay park entry fees.

It is very important to prepare for a ‘rainy’ day before coming to Victoria Falls. As soon as you see the falls, you are sure to be showered. This would not be rain water but from the cloud of ‘smoke’ I mentioned earlier. The best item to protect you from the rain is a poncho. A raincoat will also do. Also wear shorts if possible as long pants will definitely get wet from your knees down. For footwear, non-leather open shoes would be the best choice.

The first stop will be at the Livingstone statue. It is a relatively large statue that was placed under heavy security several years ago when locals wanted to destroy it due to political differences between Zimbabwe and Great Britain. Next stop is the Devil’s Cataract and the view of Cataract Island. The Devil’s Cataract is the western end of the falls and a tremendous force of water flows down the Devil’s Cataract. The next stop from Motibindu Island is the main waterfall. This is where the heaviest rainfall can occur, although this is the best view of the falls. From the main falls, I head to Livingstone Island. It is said that Dr. Livingstone docked at Livingstone Island and spent the night there overlooking the falls soon after. As I continue east, the next stop is Horseshoe Falls followed by Rainbow Falls and finally the Eastern Cataract. The view of Victoria Falls cannot be expressed in words as the view is never static. Victoria Falls has a width of 1,700 meters from the Devil’s Cataract to the Eastern Cataract. The average height of the main falls is 83 meters. The average height of Rainbow Falls is 99 meters. The average height of the entire falls is 93 meters. The average flow of water from the falls is 34,000 cubic meters per minute.

The best time to see the falls is between February and June. It’s time for the falls to be full and complete from the Devil’s Cataract to the Eastern Cataract. During other months when there is less rainfall, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls and the Eastern Cataract do not flow. Paved walkways along the entire waterfall are well maintained and wheelchair accessible.

Just before the falls, the Zambezi River has 4 rapids that zigzag one after the other. The current falls is the first rapid and is from the Zimbabwean side. Now the best country to see the falls is from the Zimbabwean side, not the Zambian side. However, several centuries ago, Rapid 4 was on the Zambian side to form the first waterfall along the Zambezi. Then Rapid 3 was formed and it was in favor of Zimbabwe. When Rapid 2 was built, it was on the Zambian side. Located on the famous Bungie Jump Bridge Rapid 2 in Zimbabwe/Zambia. Current Falls and Rapid 1 are on the Zimbabwean side. Given the volume of water flowing below the Devil’s Cataract, it is estimated that the Zambezi River is already cutting its new course towards Zambia. This will create a new falls and rapids that will be on the Zambian side. But it will take hundreds of years to build.

Leaving the falls after the Eastern Cataract, we head up Rapid 2 to the famous bridge that connects Zimbabwe and Zambia. This is the bridge where bungee jumping is done. Water rafting is also done from Rapid 2 downstream. A river cruise is done before the falls.

A helicopter is the best way to see the falls. The Flight of Angels provides one with a perfect experience and a great view of the falls.

Victoria Falls has accommodations and hotels for all types of travelers. These include Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, A’Zambezi River Lodge, Elephant Hills Hotel, Nyati Lodge, Lokuthula Lodge, Victoria Falls Hotel, The Kingdom Hotel and Casino.

Some of the activities available at Victoria Falls are a sundowner cruise which offers a great experience. A visit to Victoria Falls is incomplete without a visit to The Boma – The Place of Eating. It is a wonderful dinner place with traditional dances. One can also ride an elephant and visit a crocodile farm. There is also canoeing and white water rafting along the Zambezi.

Botswana is only an hour away from Victoria Falls, if anyone has more time, consider visiting Chobe in Botswana for a night or two.

My flight back to Harare stopped in Bulawayo. I could not miss to note that the Bulawayo International Airport is expanding the airport with a modern grand airport building. But this building seems to have stopped many years ago.

Harare is a modern city with paved and well maintained roads. As I travel around Zimbabwe, it is clear that this is a country that once had tremendous economic growth and concentrated development that has now hit a brick wall.

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