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“Even the greatest literary masters would certainly have fallen silent facing such majestic and everchanging scenery. A human being is totally incapable of describing Mother Nature where she performs with such a might as at the Victoria Falls – there, Man just has to adore her!” – Dr Emil Holub
Last week we were in Botswana; this week – Zimbabwe. Such is the beauty of Africa that sitting still is practically impossible. In “Where The Elephants Roam“, Daisy and Chantal from our team of eight new consultants took you to Chobe, Botswana. Today, Tiina and Britta (our German language experts) and Camila (our Portuguese senhora) take over the journal to share their Zimbabwean segue with you, following the Zambezi to Victoria Falls. Including these destinations in one trip is easy to do because of their close proximity and because, as you’ll see, the views just keep getting better and better. From Chobe’s elephants to the thunderous rumble of Victoria Falls, I’ll leave it to our trio to reminisce…
Wednesday: 21 May – Tiina
We continued on from Chobe to the Zimbabwean border post, a 30-40 minute drive in an open game vehicle. We headed to Imbabala Lodge, 10 minutes from the border, and The Elephant Camp, 40 min from the border. Our mission – besides having fun – was to visit the accommodation in the area so that we can better plan our clients’ travels to Africa, having experienced everything for ourselves. First-hand knowledge is hard work. It involves welcome drinks and boat cruises… All the better to help others.
Imbabala’s cottages have a beautiful view over the Zambezi River, while the tented Elephant Camp was just as stunning with spacious air-conditioned tents each with its own sun deck and plunge pool and more amazing views – you feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere. What makes Elephant Camp even more special is the interaction you can experience with elephants and Sylvester, their resident cheetah, once an orphan and now quite at home in this private concession.
For lunch we hopped on a boat and cruised down the Zambezi – worth every minute. The crew was so friendly, welcoming and warm-hearted. We ended the day at Victoria Falls River Lodge – the first private game lodge in the Zambezi National Park. The rooms are beautiful, the tents huge, open and beautifully furnished. We spent a lovely evening around the camp fire.
Thursday: 22 May – Britta
The next day we popped in at Cresta Sprayview Hotel, Stanley & Livingstone, The Kingdom, and the Victoria Falls Safari Portfolio for a look-see, and lunched at Ilala Lodge, a boutique hotel from where you can walk to the Victoria Falls within minutes. It has superb views of the spray of the Falls and sometimes you can spot buck, warthog, monkey and elephant from your room.
Lunch at their Palm Restaurant was à la carte, with crocodile kebabs and beer-battered bream fish. The food is very fresh and absolutely delicious. It was great just to sit there and view the smoky spray in the distance. A short walk away was our home for the night – the sensational Victoria Falls Hotel.
That night we dined at the Boma in the town of Victoria Falls. It seats 300 people and is very popular so has to be pre-booked. In my opinion it is a must-do at the Victoria Falls! It was sublime, with a four course meal – starters from the kitchen, soup from the campfire and a variety of meat – buffalo, warthog, ostrich, impala, crocodile, salads and desserts at the buffet, and mopani worms for those who dare, with a certificate for those who do – a well-deserved award, since a mopani can reach a length of over 7cm and can’t be swallowed without chewing. We were entertained by traditional dancers, singers, a fortune teller, African drumming and face painting. It was magical.
23 May (Friday) – The Victoria Falls – Camila
After two days of exploring Zimbabwe, we had already enjoyed a few glimpses from afar of the “Smoke That Thunders” – as locals call Victoria Falls – so we were very excited to finally go on a morning tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is the largest, at 1,708 metres wide and 108 metres high.
It’s such a spectacular sight. You feel so small when you look at it, you need a little time to take it all in – and to get dry since you do get wet when it’s in full flood. We were lucky because this time of year – May to June is high season with a strong flow gushing over the Falls making it all the more impressive. It really is the best time of year for viewing. A few months earlier, around March, you can’t see much because there’s too much spray and as the end of the year approaches, it’s still a sight to behold but water levels are much lower and so less fiery. Needless to say, we really needed our anoraks! But we’ll leave it to you to experience for yourself and let the photos do the rest…
In our next installment, we head across to Zambia – think helicopter flips, sunset cruises with hippos, breakfast canoe trips and inspiring cultural village tours in a community on the banks of the Zambezi River. Until then, happy reading and safe travels!
It’s best to book about 3 – 6 months in advance to experience the Vic Falls at this time of year. Contact one of us to find out more about Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls and to start planning your own trip to this exciting part of southern Africa.
Take a look at our video of the falls and the many activities you can get up to and read our blogs: My Trip | Lori Captures The Victoria Falls and Explore The Smoke That Thunders, for more.
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Tamlin has been exploring, writing about and photographing Africa ever since her first job as a photojournalist for Getaway Magazine. She's lived on an island, eaten with lions, sailed catamarans in the Indian Ocean, tracked wild dogs with Kinglsey Holgate, and white water rafted down the Zambezi and has kept just about every airplane ticket that has crossed her hands.
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