Last month I had the opportunity to visit the Victoria Falls. Having last been there in 1992, this was a fresh, new, exciting visit. Much has changed since I was last there. First of all, there are now regular, cheap flights to the Victoria Falls courtesy of Fastjet. This means for as low as $38 each way (inclusive of taxes) you avoid that lengthy drive and all the ZRP roadblocks on it. What a great deal! The airline itself has excellent service and with a flight time of less than an hour, you’re in the falls before you know it.
Victoria Falls is a small, tourist town largely known for one thing – the glamorous and utterly amazing Mosi-oa-tunya – the smoke that thunders. But do not be fooled, there are many other things to see and do. After checking into the lovely Cresta Sprayview Hotel, I soon found myself on the mighty Zambezi River on the legendary ‘booze cruise’. This slow, relaxing journey began when me, my travelling companions and a whole bunch of tourists set off on the water an hour and a half before sunset. The constant, soft whoosh of the water, sighting a family of hippos, a large crocodile having a baby crocodile for lunch, a well-disguised giraffe in the trees and many birds (whose names I don’t remember) were all scenes of natural beauty in between a rash of gin and tonics, tasty finger snacks and a beautiful, slowly setting sun.
Another highlight was an early morning game drive through The Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve. Part of the luxurious Stanley and Livingstone Safari Lodge, the cold early morning bush yielded impala, zebra, giraffe and rhino which we saw up close followed by a lovely breakfast next to a stream in the game park mid-morning.
The meals on our trip were all a delight. I spent two very happy nights at the Cresta Sprayview – an excellent hotel, with good food to suit all tastes and dietary requirements and friendly staff. There’s also a new restaurant in town – Nam Took Restaurant specializing in Asian cuisine, upstairs in the Elephant Walk mall where souvenirs of your trip can also be found.
The Lookout Cafe gets a special mention. Perched 120m above the Zambezi River, looking down on to the Batoka Gorge is yet another extraordinary view of the mighty Zambezi River. With a fresh and tasty modern menu, an unparalleled view in front of you and a family of warthogs mingling in and amongst the tables and chairs in the garden behind you, it’s a sensory feast. To the right of me and my travelling companions are crazy people bungee jumping or partaking in something called the ‘flying fox’ (which is like bungee jumping, except in a straight line across the gorge), another hands-free way to terrify yourself experience the magic of the Zambezi River.
A special mention to The Boma Restaurant at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, which boasts a buffet of unusual culinary delights: delicately sautéed crocodile, grilled warthog, kudu meatballs, guinea fowl stew, amidst drumming, dancing and face-paint all wrapped up in a colourful chitenge.
But at the end of the day, the most amazing thing about Victoria Falls is the Victoria Falls. Yes, it is something you have heard many times, so many times that you assume that it is true. But having seen it last 14 years ago, seeing it now in June with the waters at its peak I can safely say that I was wowed. Swept off my feet with wonder. And also, got soaking wet. Just how much water falls down this thing every second of every day?! It’s crazy! It’s beautiful. The sort of thing that makes you feel love and pride in Zimbabwe, our home.
So in short, visit the Victoria Falls. Its super fast and affordable to get there these days, there’s awesome, affordable places to stay, fantastic views, good food and a lovely, visitor-friendly town.
Tawanda travelled to and from Victoria Falls with Fastjet Zimbabwe, was hosted there by Cresta Hotels, with support from Wild Horizons, The Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve, National Parks and Wildlife, The Boma – Place of Eating, and Nam Took Restaurant.
Image: The mighty Victoria Falls.