We have been off the grid for the last few weeks on a Zimbabwean safari with Spencer’s parents and siblings. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so excited to share it all. The adventure started at the seventh natural wonder of the world, Victoria Falls.
There are a few places on earth that simply cannot be done justice by any words or photos. Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of these places. At the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the peaceful Zambezi River suddenly plunges down 108m into a 1.7km wide canyon. The roar and mist created by millions of liters of water rushing over the edges gave it the local name Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders.”
We got to experience the falls from every perspective – land, air, and water. Almost immediately after landing in Zimbabwe, we were on a helicopter over the falls. This was my first experience in a helicopter, and it was exhilarating. The view from above gave perspective on the incredible scope of the falls.
Back on land, a path runs along on the Zimbabwean side of the falls with various lookout points. Because they are so enormous, you cannot see the entire falls from anyone point. Instead, the Falls are not so much seen as they are experienced. The roar can be heard long before the cascades can be seen. Thick mists rise up from the falling water, obscuring the views in some places and falling back down as rain as you walk along the cliff edge.
Thankfully, we rented ponchos before entering the park, otherwise we would have been soaked. And when the mists parted, the power and beauty of the rushing water was awesome.
Across the gorge in front of the falls, a bridge connects Zimbabwe to Zambia. Of course, we had to take the short walk across the bridge so that was could check another country off of the list! Spencer put down a quick beer and I bought a souvenir bracelet, and that constituted the entirety of our Zambian experience.
We got a totally different feel for the Zambezi River from the deck of a boat. A sunset cruise took us along the upper Zambezi, as hippos eyed us from the water and crocodiles slipped off the banks.
It was calm and beautiful as the sunset turned the waters pink. I could only imagine the shock David Livingstone must have felt when, guided along these waters by canoe, he discovered that the peaceful river suddenly plunges into an unfathomable chasm.
We stayed at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, and when we weren’t in awe of the falls, we were sat on the lodge deck, watching as all kinds of animals for a drink at a small watering hole. We had dinner at The Boma restaurant next door, where we were dressed in colorful wraps, had our faces painted, and feasted on a buffet that included impala, crocodile, warthog, and kudu. I even tried, with some hesitation, a fried Mopane Worm. It was crunchy and very salty; not terrible, but I’m not in a rush to try it again.
More to follow soon on the Great Johnson Family African Safari!