.........and an unexpected surprise!
Two years ago I took the above photo when flying into Livingstone, Zambia. At that time commercial flights - they are usually small planes as was ours - were permitted to fly over Victoria Falls prior to landing at both Vic Falls and Livingstone airports. It was exciting to take aerial pics and made it unnecessary to take an additional expensive 'sightseeing' flight. That's changed now because commercial flights must circumvent the Falls for the safety of sightseeing helicopters and microlights.
The mile-wide sheet of water was almost as heavy this trip as in 2010 so what we saw was about the same - the vapor being a bit lower but still visible 7 miles up river where our camp was located. This diagram is basically how we viewed the Falls last month. They drop 338 feet into the Zambezi Gorge, making this the most expansive curtain of water in the world. One of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, and straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, both countries share UNESCO World Heritage status.
It's quite difficult to get really good photos when wrapped in ponchos, cameras in protective bags. The thundering noise is deafening, and the windblown spray often blocks clear views.......but it is breathtaking!
Fortunately there were moments when the spray was lighter, the cameras came out, the hoods were thrown off, and everyone was snapping like fools!
Kim, Bob, me, Mark and Paula
We loved the visit on the Zimbabwe side of the falls
where the views are definitely the best.
This photo shows Livingstone Island (trees left of center) which played a major role in the history of Zambia. David Livingstone, British missionary/explorer, viewed the Mosi-Oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) from this island on November 16, 1855 with the help of local tribesmen using dugout canoes. He later named the waterfall, Victoria Falls, after Queen Victoria.
Anyone for afternoon tea?
The next day this is what we did.
The small boat arrived to take us the short distance down the Zambezi River to Livingstone Island - the trees of which are on the left above.
Arriving at the island we were told to remove shoes and roll up pants, put on a poncho, and advised the mud - which was ankle deep and slimy - and the rocks we'd be walking across would be slippery. No lie, they were!
And to think, there I was concerned earlier that I wasn't
dressed properly for afternoon tea......I needn't
have worried at all.
Two lovely tents were set up for tea - close to the Horseshoe Falls section of the waterfall - but first we had walk to the brink! Squelching through the mud, gingerly stepping over the big wet, slippery rocks, trying once again to keep cameras dry and stand up straight in the heavy wet ponchos. Yes, the rainbow was gorgeous, looking over the edge was exciting, seeing the lovely medallion with David Livingstone eyeing a bunch of
fools silly tourists perhaps heading to their deaths was OK too..........
........and you know we now have a little something extra special to add to the list when we're
bragging telling about our travels to friends anyone who wants to listen! We really don't brag but admit to getting very excited when sharing stories of these great places around the world.
Our barefooted group 'on the edge' - Paula, Kim, me, Bob, Mark.........yes it was wet and wild, with thundering noise from the water.
Photo of us by Paula.....we're looking totally stupid, definitely close enough to the edge. For some strange reason I just couldn't bring myself to step back a few paces......and it wasn't 'til right now I see Bob is clinging to my hand, ha! ha!
Back to the tea tent where a lovely spread was awaiting, including a great pot of tea, but in all honesty a brandy might have hit the spot!
What about our muddy feet and legs you may ask.
Jeremiah our guide to the rescue.......
....complete with warm water and towels. Here he's washing my dirty feet, the feet that took me on that precarious walk to the brink of the mighty Victoria Falls.
It was fun and probably safer than some other attractions, such as swimming in the Devil's Pool a little further along the edge when the water is lower and slower, or bungee jumping from the bridge.
As the sun went down the boat returned us to shore and we enjoyed watching the sun set over the river and falls from the deck of the Royal Livingstone Hotel.
It really was an awesome time and a memorable experience.