Monday, 18 January 2016

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Carolyn.  Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.  Not to be missed if you are anywhere in the region.  We were definitely impressed, even though we were told the water levels were unusually low due to the drought in the area for the last few months (usually the rainy season starts in November - but when we were there in mid-January, the rains had just started that week).

The weather forecast for the day we planned to enter the National Park was for lots of rain.  We debated the wisdom of paying our park entrance fees that day - after all, we were in the area for a few more days - but we decided to take the chance.  But only 5 minutes after we entered, the downpour hit hard.  Vern ran back out to vendors by the park gates to rent umbrellas: our rain coats and plastic ponchos could keep our bodies dry - sort of - but  not our cameras, they needed shelter!! 

The wonderful thing about visiting on a day like this is that almost no one else was there.  And happily, after 40 minutes, it stopped raining and it felt like had the whole place to ourselves.  Amazing.  

There are many precarious places that require serious caution when walking the ridge of the gorge - particularly after it rains and the rocks are very slippery.  You can literally walk right to the edge, and fall right off.  Cooper asked a simple question: "why don't they have safety rails?" - to which our only answer was "...because this is Africa..." (compared to Iguazu Falls in Brazil/Argentina, or Niagara Falls in Canada/US - all of which have ample safety guard rails on all pathways and viewpoints!)

But honestly, being able to approach these crazy cliff drop-offs, without any other tourists around, with just the roar of the falls to keep us company - it felt like we were experiencing something really special.  We had a chance to just sit alone and watch the falls for over half an hour before another person wandered along.  That would NEVER happen at Iguazu or Niagara.  Happily the person who joined us wanted to sit and chat while watching the falls too, so we all got another half an hour together to contemplate the power of nature before the next small group came by.  Cooper got bored by this point, and we let him go explore the immediate forest areas along the path behind us - always within sight - while we adults truly appreciated this amazing opportunity to sit still.

The next day, outside of the National Park, we all chose to experience one of the many adventure activities popular in the area:  Vern went whitewater rafting on the Zambezi river, and Carolyn & Cooper each did a harnessed jump 95 metres into the gorge, including 75 metres (a very long 4.5 seconds) of free-fall.  A little bit crazy, and an amazing adrenaline rush!

(video of the jump will be posted soon)

More pictures will be posted soon...

1 comment:

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