Victoria Falls

Water is powerful.  And when you see thousands of gallons of it crashing over a 2/3 of a mile stretch of land down at least 20 stories, one cannot help but be completely awestruck.  Victoria Falls certainly qualifies as one of the seven wonders of the world — I have never seen something to powerful and mighty, created by nature.  It was incredible.

My first experience with the “smoke that thunders” (as it is known locally — literally, from 10 miles away, at least, it looks like a large fire!) was with Nancy and Matt on the morning of their departure from Livingstone.  We trekked out to the falls in the early morning to see the sunrise, take pictures, hike around, and get to the Zimbabwean side of the falls as well.

It was a *good* thing that I remembered my rain jacket — thanks Arcteryx and Claire :).  I was completely and totally drenched within seconds of being 100 feet from the the falls on the Zambian side.  We frolicked along, across the impossibly wet “knife bridge”, down to the “devil’s pool”, all the while reserving some time for at least on hour on the Zimbabwean side.  We had heard (and it ended up being completely true) that the Zimbabwean side was even more spectacular.

Leaving Matt behind (oops – he forgot his passport!), Nancy and I literally jogged (even in my Danskos) — and at times sprinted — to make it across the border and back again.  It felt a bit like the amazing race (and I chalked it up to an interval workout :)…).  After sort of bribing the Zimbabwean Authority at the entrance of the park (we only had kwacha — and they did not accept it), we ran to the falls and took pictures throughout the length of the hike.  We than ran back, encountered a whole pod (what is a group called?) of baboons.  Nancy got some spectacular pictures of them grooming one another, and we were off, back to the border and Matt.

Some pics: http://picasaweb.google.com/JuliannaRiggHillard/0706VictoriaFalls#
My second encounter was even more up close and personal.  The day after my trip to Botswana, I woke up early to catch the bus to the Royal Livingstone Hotel (rooms start at $600 per night and range up to $1500…  Ralph Nadal (sp? — tennis champ) and Matt Damon had just checked out!).  The RL is on the Zambezi and comes complete with its own domesticated zebras, elephants, impalas, and monkeys.  It is one of the *most* beautiful places I have ever been…
My journey there was to catch the RL speedboat out to Livingstone Island and have breakfast.  For $90, I had high expectations — and were they ever met!!  WOW.  We walked across the island, took our shoes off, rolled up our pants, and put on some serious ponchos.  We then venture to THE EDGE of VICTORIA FALLS.  As in – I was literally able to look over the edge of the falls!!  AMAZING.  We even crossed the Zambezi on foot to get another view.  Surreal and incredible.

Breakfast was served in an open-air tent with the spray from the falls keeping the air moist.  Lovely muffins and scones along with a gorgeous eggs benedict was breakfast… and then we boarded the boat back to the RL.

Because the RL was so fabulous, I stayed and worked for seven hours while basking in the excellent service and perfect surroundings.  A glass of pinotage (yum!) while watching the sunset on the Zambezi ended my evening…  I was a bit hungry, so I ordered a cheeseburger (also yummy) — and you know you are in Africa when a monkey jumps up on your table and steals the bun :).  Hah!  I ate my burger like I was an Atkins lover, and took off, back to my cozy (but cold) tent.  GREAT day.

Pics: http://picasaweb.google.com/JuliannaRiggHillard/0711LivingstoneIsland#
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One Response to Victoria Falls

  1. Mama says:

    Next time I will be there too! :) But, who will take care of the Jdog? Can she come too?

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