Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

When my Year Abroad in South Africa came to an end, I decided to spend all the money I had left and go on a three-week trip from Vic Falls to Nairobi – across five different countries. I decided to go for a tour organised by Nomad, as I couldn’t seem to find anyone that would have liked to do it with me independently, but was then later on joined by two friends.

 

We left Cape Town early to catch a flight to Jo’burg and from there onwards to Vic Falls. The first few days of the trip were not going to be organised as we were supposed to leave Zimbabwe on the first morning of the tour. So everything we did in Zimbabwe, we did on our own.

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After we were done with immigration (and got a super cool new sticker and stamp in our passport that cost us about $30), we were picked up by a shuttle organised by Shoestrings Backpackers, where we would be staying for the following two nights. The backpackers was really lovely and had pretty good food as well. What we almost immediately noticed is that everything was way more expensive than in South Africa.

On our first day, we took everything fairly slowly: a long nap in the afternoon, some good food in the evening, and just being happy about having finished exams and being in a wonderful new place. I also saw my first ever Baobab tree on the way from the airport! We would soon be seeing a whole lot more of them.

The following day, we woke up to the sounds of a million helicopters buzzing above Vic Falls. I can’t imagine having to wake up to that every single day… As we were having breakfast, Charis told us that apparently we could go bungee jumping for free for a promotional video. The other two were immediately on board, but I definitely wasn’t. So I just decided to join to take pictures.

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The bungee jumping took place on a bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Vic Falls is in fact the border between both countries. The bridge was fairly small but there were pedestrians, cars, a train and… oh yeah that’s right, the bungee jumping. I decided to go sit at the café of the bungee place and watch my friends jump from there.

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This was the view from the bridge of Vic Falls. Very misty at that time of the year.

After having come back from that free adrenaline kick, we finally went to Victoria Falls National Park to go see the falls. Entrance to the park sets you back $30pp, so it’s worthwhile taking your time while you’re in there. We went during winter, meaning there was quite a lot of water rushing down the falls and you got super wet the closer you got.

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Victoria Falls aren’t as open as Niagara Falls for example so it is kind of hard to see them in their full glory at times. But the park has a lot of viewpoints that you can walk to and from where you can admire different sections of the falls.

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Victoria Falls were of course only called Victoria Falls when they were discovered by David Livingstone, the first European to have seen them. Originally, they are called Mosi-oa-Tunya, Tonga for “The Smoke That Thunders” – which, in my opinion, is a much nicer and more fitting name for it.

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The park itself is also just beautiful to walk through. There’s amazing plants everywhere and rainbows are hard to avoid.

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If I were ever to go back to Vic Falls, I would like to go back in summer. I also think that staying on the Zambian side would be interesting, especially as you can go to Devil’s Pool in summer.

Doing this tour, it would have also been cleverer to immediately go to Zambia as it saves you the $30 Visa for Zimbabwe that you barely get to use. However, I would love to one day see more of Zimbabwe as well. In that case, I guess it would be best to just go to both countries… of course.

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