11 May 2018
Spotlight On Vic Falls - 48 hours on the Zambezi
It's hard to accurately imagine the scale of the Victoria Falls, but when you witness the sprays created by unimaginable amounts of water tumbling downwards to create the world's largest curtain of falling water, you'll soon see how it got its original name; ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Spanning nearly two kilometres and dropping about 108 metres, this UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is the largest waterfall in the world—thanks to the sheer volume of water cascading over its crags every minute.
While Victoria Falls is a fantastic destination all year round, different seasons offer vastly different experiences. During the rainy season (from December to March), the Zambezi’s water is at its highest and the Falls are at their most dramatic. The high water volume, however, also drapes the Falls in a cloud of spray—which makes sightseeing a little bit trickier, though no one seems to mind meandering around this misty realm. During the dry seasons (from April to October) when the water is lower, one can get a better view of its dramatic precipices.
Today, the area rightly claims the title of Adrenaline Capital of Africa, home to a seemingly endless variety of adventures and experiences. With micro-light flights, bungee jumping, scenic helicopter flights, white water rafting, and quad biking, you'll have plenty of heart-rate-increasing activities to choose from. For those who prefer quieter activities, you can fill your days with tours, walks, game drives, a spot of fishing and even high teas.
Thorntree River Lodge is located just a short drive from the Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream in the famed Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. It’s an authentic and brilliantly designed lodge, influenced by local Zambian culture where the riverside scenery and the natural rhythm of life is the focal point. This contemporary take on an old-world Zambezi safari experience is the perfect base to explore the region from.
On arrival at Livingstone Airport, absolutely everything is taken care of, from transfers to- and from- the lodge, to sunset river cruises, fishing and visits to Victoria Falls, the Livingstone Museum and nearby villages.
A tour of the Falls is the first priority. It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sights, sounds and smell of nature’s supreme force. No photograph can begin to depict the reality…and nothing prepares you for your first sight.
INSIDER’S TIP – Plan a tour of the falls at night when it’s full moon. It’s truly unforgettable. Known as ‘lunar rainbows’ or ‘moon bows’, one can actually see a rainbow in the light that the moon casts.
Helicopter excursions, or ‘Flight of Angels', are a wonderful way to see the full majesty of the Victoria Falls – especially at low water times, swooping over the Zambezi River and hovering over the thundering Falls for a perfect photographic opportunity.
INSIDER’S TIP – The longer (25-30 minute) helicopter flip will take you over the Victoria Falls and launch into an exhilarating ride down into Batoka Gorge, along the Zambezi to Rapid 26 and over Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. It’s quite an adrenalin rush, and definitely should not be missed while ‘in the area’.
Fishing is a favourite past-time for many, and what better way to explore the great Zambezi River than by spending a few hours on a boat, surrounded by the sounds of nature, casting a fishing rod in the hopes of a great catch! Tiger fishing is pretty big here.
Most lodges along the river have their own boat and will supply all fishing equipment required.
INSIDER’S TIP – Grab a local ‘Mosi’ beer or two for the fishing expedition!
A sunset cruise on the Zambezi river is an absolute classic – an incredibly romantic and leisurely way to enjoy the early evening. Listen to the calls of the African Fish Eagle and the grunts of the hippos as you cruise along this majestic river system.
TRACKING WHITE RHINO
Thorntree River Lodge offers travellers the opportunity to track white rhino on foot within the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.
The chance to observe the rhino on foot, allowing one to get up close and personal is a very spiritual experience, especially considering the plight of rhinos who are facing extinction. This walking safari is professionally guided with safety for all top of mind.
Take a step back in time and experience true colonial heritage with a decadent and indulgent high tea, with coffee, scones, sandwiches, cakes, pastries and a variety different teas or perhaps a glass of bubbly.
Established in 1904, The Victoria Falls Hotel is set in the national park, with a private path leading directly to the entrance gate of the Falls. With epic views of the bridge, gorges below and spray from the Falls, the grand dame of town is steeped in history and plenty of colonial grandeur.
ARRIVE IN STYLE
Experience the grace and elegance of this 3-day Rovos Rail train journey, departing from Pretoria and arriving in the town of Victoria Falls. The unhurried pace of this decadent and luxurious train, while taking in the spectacular Southern African scenery, is the most relaxing and stress-free way to travel.
The journey by railway line begins in Pretoria, South Africa and moves westward into Botswana before turning north along the eastern border towards Zimbabwe. After crossing over into Zimbabwe, your journey winds north through Bulawayo and the Hwange National Park on its way to the majestic Victoria Falls.
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