Victoria Falls

Although I could hardly be more enthusiastic about taking our Imprint travelers on safari and introducing them to the world class city of Capetown, I am most excited about our final stop: magnificent Victoria Falls.  I’m hoping everyone will save their energy for that final stop on our 2014 Southern Safaris tour.  I wanted to see Victoria Falls 20 years ago on my first trip to Africa.  But time and budget constraints and long distances from East Africa prevented it.  I’ve often regretted not making it happen anyway.  Now I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream.  To stand at the edge of Mosi-oa-Tunya, “The Smoke that Thunders” and feel the tremendous power of nature.  We’ll be staying on the Zimbabwe side of the falls and our first afternoon will be spent hiking the ridge trail just opposite the falls.  Word has it we’ll be getting wet - really wet!  It will be April, the end of the rainy season, and the falls will be at their most powerful flow.  The deafening roar, the soaking mist, and the purely visceral response to so much raw energy will be amazing - exhilarating - maybe even transcendent!  In the meantime I’ve been scouring the internet for inside clues on the best and secret places for viewing the falls and have found a few gems.By most measures, Victoria Falls are the largest in the world. With a width of 5604 feet and height of 354 feet, the falls create the largest sheet of falling water on the globe.  The entire volume of the mighty Zambezi river flows over the edge, through a narrow defile, and then zig-zags its way through a series of gorges down river.  At the second bend, the river has carved a pool called the Boiling Pot where the waters boil in enormous swirls and roiling turbulence.  The famous Victoria Falls Bridge crosses from Zimbabwe to Zambia over the second gorge.  During periods of high flow the mist cloud from the falls rises to over 1000 feet and can be seen for miles.  At full moon, the spray creates a “moonbow” which we’ll be able to enjoy on our April 7 tour. In addition to the falls themselves, Victoria Falls has become the adventure sports capital of the area.  One can engage in canoe rides, white-water rafting, helicopter flights, zip-lining, bungy jumping, ultralite flights, and more.  Nearby parks mean game viewing is an option and there are several close-up animal encounter excursions available.  Finally, a vintage railroad connects the two countries for a unique train experience.  Our groups should be kept plenty busy for our 2.5 days here. As a bonus, for those with the time and inclination, it is possible to cross over to the Zambian side in order to see the falls from all angles.  It also allows for a couple of iconic experiences: visiting Livingstone Island (right at the edge and in the middle of the falls) and having a meal or drink on the terrace of the Royal Livingstone Hotel - also perched on the edge.  These are two bucket list items for me and I’m not going to miss them.  Also, a trail on the Zambian side leads down to the aforementioned Boiling Pot. For our August tour, the Victoria Falls experience will be quite different, but equally rewarding I think.  As August is well into the dry season the volume of water will be reduced.  As compensation, the photographic possibilities will be much better, as the spray will be reduced, allowing better visibility. Moreover, there should still be plenty of water in August.  Another bonus activity available in August for the truly intrepid is a dip at the Devil’s Armchair, a lip of the falls that allows brave swimmers to swim right to the edge of falls and look over.  Many travelers have posted the experience on Youtube.  If you’re curious, have a look - Devil's Armchair. Whether experienced in April, August, or any other time of year, there’s no doubt Victoria Falls is one of the great travel destinations in the world.  I feel privileged to be able to take 3 groups of intrepid Imprint travelers to see them in 2014.