Published: April 11th 2012April 11th 2012
Saturday started out with a walk to the bridge… It officially is called The Victoria Falls Bridge but everyone just calls it “the bridge”. This is the one you see in the pictures of the Zambezi River. It connects Zimbabwe to Zambia.
It was approximately a 15 minute walk through the National Park behind the hotel, where an elephant and several warthogs were sighted the day before I walked through. The security guards told me to be aware of the animals but to be honest it was the local vendors that I needed to be concerned about. You can’t blame them for trying to get our money one way or another, but there were just so many of them, all wanting something.
In order to get to the bridge, you have to go through the Customs checkpoint and ask for a piece of paper that allows you to proceed through the gates. You get the piece of paper stamped and then walk 10 feet to another person who takes that paper from you. It must be a government position!
I was walking along a stretch of road when a very friendly young local man started chatting me up.
I knew I wasn’t going to get rid of him. His name was J.J. and he was a local artist who works with copper. He has a wife and 3 kids and he is 26 years old. When he isn’t at home make jewellery, he is working the bridge looking for tourists like me.
J.J. was great. He was funny, personable, and told me what to do and who to avoid on the bridge. He warned me that there would be so many vendors and if I started talking to them, they would swarm me like bees.
The bridge was quite fascinating. It is a one lane bridge for vehicular traffic and one lane for the trains.... The views of the Falls and gorge below were beautiful… again, quite misty so I got soaking wet once again. I crossed the line that separates Zimbabwe and Zambia and then I crossed back again. I saw the station where crazy people Bungee Jump. Apparently, the excitement of Bungee Jumping has waned since a girl from Australia jumped last December and the rope broke. She ended up in the river and swam to shore. She is okay and back home now.
You can also do a zipline over the river. You start in Zambia and zip acroos to Zimbabwe.
On the way back towards the hotel, there is a stretch of land that neither Zimbabwe nor Zambia claim. It is “No Man’s Land”. The traffic along here are pedestrians, transport trucks, taxis and local tour vans, but we had to walk it to get to where we wanted to go.
I made it back to Zimbabwe with no problems thanks to J.J. and decided the next thing on the To-Do List was a visit to the Victoria Falls Hotel…
After a change of clothes and a nice cool Zambezi beer, I headed next door to the Victoria Falls Hotel. This place is like the Grand Dame of hotels in Victoria Falls. It was built in 1904 as a destination for the passengers of the new “Cape To Cairo Railway” they were building in Africa at the time. Today, it is the place to stay if you have money. I didn’t stay there.
Any tourist is welcome to walk the grounds. The hotel offers a spectacular view of the bridge. They also offer a very expensive menu…
I didn’t eat or drink there. They also have the Stone Dynamics Gallery which is a display of carvings done by local artists. The works of art are located throughout the grounds.
After 10 or 15 minutes, I was done at the Victoria Falls Hotel and headed back for a swim before I took another look at the Falls from another angle…
I decided that I had seen the Falls in all its glory from the ground, so I needed to see it again from the air. I booked a helicopter flight over the Falls for the late afternoon.
The chopper (like the lingo?) sat 6 and I shared it with a family of 5 from Switzerland. I got a window seat. The ride was only 13 minutes long so I snapped as many photos as possible. The rainbow didn’t come out in the pictures as well as I would have liked, but what an experience… To be able to witness the size of the Falls and the volume of water flowing from above was truly awesome.
This trip just kept getting better and better, I swear.
By the way, sorry for so many pictures
but each one of the Falls is so different from the next... or so I think.
There are more photos below