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Published: June 13th 2017
So, I left my last post describing how we had been absolutely drenched in Livingstone and heading back over the boarder into Victoria Falls town. Now when I was planning our honeymoon and had mentioned to friends that we were going to Zimbabwe they mostly responded with 'are you mad??' or saying to be careful being a British woman in Zimbabwe (???). To be honest, I am not overly worried about going anywhere as I always take care, but if ever there was a hint of worry it would very much have been unnecessary. Victoria Falls town is a dream- a teeny tiny quaint town with an old railway intersecting the town, with a smattering of cute cafes and pretty hip restaurants and bars, and small craft shops selling handmade souvenirs. We were told by our driver that Victoria falls town and a 0% crime rate and I would absolutely believe it- I felt so safe and comfortable there that I would gladly have stayed there for a lot longer- such a sweet place. The only negative aspect was the poverty- there is a level of hassle by hawkers trying to sell things, and also we got asked a lot for
our (soaking wet mud covered) converse, and were offered to exchange clothing for gifts- the best we could do was give them a few dollars and wish them well. There is SO much to see and do around Vic falls- from white water rafting which we wanted to do but James had a really bad back and they wouldn't allow us, bush walks with lions and rhinos (which I wont do on ethical grounds), and of course devils pool, again which we couldn't do as it was flooded, as well as bungee jumping and other extreme sports but I am a chicken!
Our first adventure in Victoria falls was one of the most amazing and spectacular things I have ever done in my life- a helicopter ride over Victoria falls. We would have preferred a Microlyte but there is a weight restriction that makes it impossible unless you are a male jockey! We were extremely lucky as we were the only helicopter in the air space at that time and so could fly down low and close. The launch pad was out near our hotel at Elephant Hills, so we didn't have too far to go, and then off
we went. Flying over the land was amazing as all we could see below were elephants and giraffes and peoples dwellings. Getting to the falls was a spectacle. When viewed from the ground the falls are impressive and huge, but seeing them from above giver a greater idea of the enormity of this incredible natural wonder- they are colossal and beautiful- the spray from the falls radiated rainbows from the gorge below and we could trace the course of the mighty Zambezi as it snaked through the landscape below. It was truly spectacular and something I would recommend anyone to do, worth every penny and more! We circled around the falls a number of times before returning to base. Such an incredible experience and this was absolutely on of the highlights of our honeymoon.
On the way back to our hotel we stopped off at 'the oldest tree in Africa'- a colossal Boabab tree which is 2000 years old and absolutely colossal. Rather amusingly, our driver informed us that hawkers will 'appear' at the tree as soon as we will arrive. Low and behold as soon as the car pulled up a few gentlemen emerged from the bushes, only
to disappear as quickly as they appeared when they realised we weren't interested! The countryside surrounding Victoria falls was beautiful, and as we drove through we could see and hear all kinds of animals- it was like like being back in the Serengeti! We got back to the hotel, which we hadn't had a lot of time to enjoy, and relaxed. Elephant hills is an old, relatively iconic hotel in the area, which sadly has now become a little shabby, however we were more interested that the gardens being part of the national park, and animals were able to roam freely through the grounds. We ventured down into the gardens and were thrilled to see warthogs, monkeys and impala running freely, but suddenly a groundsman asked us to stop and be careful as a crocodile was next to us- yikes! Still was so amazing and such a fantastic place to stay, I would recommend it to anyone!
The following day we visited the falls from the Zimbabwean side and as with the Zambian side, they were, of course, marvelous! Again we prepared ourselves with our rain ponchos but what was the point- the spray was just as intense and
we got soaked! The only difference is that is was a gloriously sunny day so we dried off in no time! This side of the falls was by far the more impressive- it was huge and we spent easily a few hours observing the falls from different view points and again we were reminded of its sheer size and power as we were able to get so close to the edge that the roaring thunder of the falls could be felt vibrating through our bodies. Incredible! That evening we took a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river which was absolutely beautiful as we took the opportunity to see some game at the rivers edge, as well as plenty of hippos bathing in the Zambezi. Such a beautiful trip with such gorgeous scenery- and it helped that there was an open bar!! We also weer treated to a group of Zimbabwean gentlemen in traditional dress dancing on the waters edge- I may or man not have taken part.....
Following this, we went to The Boma- a Zimbabwean restaurant situated in the hills. This place was incredible, guests are required to wear a traditional Zimbabwean sarong, and are greeted with a
local fermented drink and a plate of impala, crocodile and warthog canapes. This buffet style restaurant boasted a selection of 'bush' meats with were cooked in front if you, as well as a spitroast impala, salads, traditional stews and sweets. Throughout dinner, guests were entertained with interactive drumming and also dancing, fortune telling and face painting- it was a fun, silly, touristy night and well worth a visit for the fun aspect!
The next day we said a sad farewell to our hotel and met our tour group. This aspect of overlanding is always a little daunting as it is meeting a group of people who you will be sharing a travel space with for the next few days! The over landing experience is based on camping with an opportunity to upgrade- which we always did, except for this very first night when they were all booked up...and by christ it rained all night! Thank god for the heavy duty tents or we would have been washed away! An early morning start meant we hit the road and enjoyed a pretty drive through the gorgeous Zimbabwean countryside, enjoying the wildlife as we went- like a little additional game drive
on our trip.Thanks to the close proximity, we got to the border very quickly and as far as border crossing went, this was ok...with the exception of having to remove all of your footwear from your bags and dipping them into some grimy disinfectant to prevent the spread of foot and mouth. This is at any transition between agricultural and rural land (a bit pointless considering all of the gazillion animals that pass back and forth but oh well...). But this brought us to the end of a lovely few days in Zimbabwe and the falls, and onto the next part of our great big honeymoon adventure.
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