Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mosi-oa-Tunya.......the Smoke that Thunders


It appeared like a sudden puff of smoke rising up from the mighty river.  If our new safari friends hadn't requested (thanks Garry!) a flyover by our pilot Paul, we may have even missed it!  Later, for a big price tag, we could have bagged a sightseeing flight by small plane, helicopter, or micro-light (only the really brave on that last choice!), but this was certainly just as wonderful, probably a lot safer, and an opportunity to capture some great shots.


The flight from Botswana landed at Kasane where we cleared Customs, then re-boarded and flew on to Livingstone, Zambia where we'd spend two nights at another beautiful camp 12K up river from the town.


Paula has visited Victoria Falls several times, but never in May following the flood season which was coming to a close as Winter drifted into southern Africa.  She was immediately surprised at the terrific volume of water and height of the spray reaching into the blue sky 1,500 feet above the falls.
 


Getting closer it was easy to understand why this is considered one of the natural wonders of the world.  Located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the falls are some of the largest in the world.
David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to be the first European to view the waterfall which he named 'Victoria Falls' in honor of his Queen.


The buildings in the above photo are the border crossing from Zambia into Zimbabwe.  We had to purchase visas and passed through here with a guide to visit the falls on the Zimbabwe side where the view is better.


While it is neither the highest or widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest based on width and height forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world.  Above the falls the Zambezi flows through a shallow valley dotted with numerous tree-covered islands.  The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a transverse chasm.


Next day we viewed the falls from the trail along the Zimbabwe side.  The sound was deafening, water pounded the ground, and the spray was so heavy we were immediately soaked to the skin despite wearing ponchos.  Trying to maneuver cameras protected in plastic bags made it very difficult to take photos.  As we progressed along the trail, dodging other dripping tourists from around the world, the many colors of ponchos, raincoats and umbrellas made it almost a circus atmosphere. I rolled up my safari pants and paddled through several inches of water.  Needless to say we just gave up, enjoyed the jungle-like atmosphere and awesome view.......and we four Brit broads sported brand new hairdos after the soaking!


This pic of the four of us was taken by another dripping 'smurf', and yes, I didn't take my hood off.  We were named 'the smurfs' by all who saw us posing at David Livingstone's statue!

A beautiful flowering vine along the Victoria Falls trail.

Like molten silver the mighty Zambezi River slides over the edge and forms Victoria Falls. 

Up river on the Zambian side (right bank) was our next camp, lovely Toka Leya.  Boating anyone?  Yes we were back on the water, this time spending not one but two memorable boat trips with Donald our river guide. Next time come join us floating down the 'river of life'.

16 comments:

  1. I am in awe. What wonderful shots. This is amazing to see. You must be having the time of your life. Be safe. I have so enjoyed this. Yvonne

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  2. That purple flower is very similar to a macropetlia(spelling) clematis which blooms in the early spring, there are several colours and its such a pretty sight after a hard winter.

    Really enjoying touring with you...that leopard is fantastic, such a graceful animal......

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  3. How beautiful! I escpecially loved the views from above the falls in the plane.
    Hugs,
    Penny
    p.s. I miss you too! I am looking forward to when we get together again.

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  4. Wow Grandma! These pictures are beautiful! And it looks as though you all were there at the perfect time. I'm glad you had fun.

    XoXo

    Love you,
    Jasmin

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  5. All I can say is WOW! This is amazing!

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  6. Stunning, Mary. Simply stunning.

    xo
    Claudia

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  7. Unbelievable. What a memory you will have of such a wonderful place.

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  8. I am in awe of this amazing sight! Can you imagine the impact at the bottom of these falls? And it is such a narrow chasm into which the river pours...I've never seen anything like it.

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  9. What an amazing trip! I am catching up with you today. Just back from the tea expo.

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  10. Oh my gosh...what amazing pictures. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!!

    Blessings....
    xoxo Gert

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  11. I can't imagine how awsome that must have been. Niagra is not nearly as big and I know how majestic that felt. Gorgeous pictures as usual! Can't wait to see more.

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  12. Great shots of the falls, can't wait to go there with you!

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  13. That was fantastic! Such an experience to see it in person!! My history comes back as you forget places like this in the world, and it seems to offer such beauty.
    Take Care!
    Ulrike

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  14. Mary,
    These photos and stories are so heart wrenchingly beautiful. Thanks for taking me along on the safari; in these "tents" even I could enjoy camping ( and I don't say that lightly!).

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