Victoria Falls


Landing at the airport in Victoria Falls, in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe near the borders with Zambia and Botswana, out the window of our 737 I noticed a forest fire some 30 or so miles to the west.  It was winter in Zimbabwe and I was surprised to see smoke rising from the desolate looking countryside.  I asked our driver about the fire and he explained that there was not a fire and it was not smoke.  What we saw was substantial mist rising from Victoria Falls!  After checking into the World Heritage site 1900-era Victoria Falls Hotel (a true portrait of colonial Britain) our guide gave us raincoats and an umbrella for a walk on the south side of the Falls.  The falls were not at the full force seen at the end of the spring rains, but there was still a tremendous rush from the mighty Zambezi River dropping over the basalt cliffs.  While the height of the falls is somewhat modest (about 320 ft), it is the world’s largest sheet of falling water because of the 1700 meter (1+ mile) width at this point of the river.  The “heavy mist” (more like rain) is spectacular with constant rainbows and a pounding that sounds like thunder. The best view of the falls is by helicopter on the “Flight of Angels”.  From a thousand feet above the falls the true majesty of the sight can be fully appreciated; take a wide-angle lens to fully capture the thrilling view.  There are many waterfalls much higher than Victoria Falls, but none with the power, force and magnitude of this great African landmark.  And ten weeks after leaving Victoria Falls my home post office called to say that the 7’3” mahogany giraffe I had shipped from a local street merchant had arrived.  The shipper had sent it through the mail!  Linking this trip with safaris in Botswana, Zambia, or South Africa is absolutely the way to go.