Article and photos by Laura Scheiber
A double rainbow over Victoria Falls
During a trip to Zambia, I visited Victoria Falls, a UNESCO world heritage site forming part of the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Powered by the mighty Zambezi River, the falls are over 1,700 meters in width, and an impressive 100 meter drop. The Falls are known in the local language as Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning The Smoke that Thunders. I was in awe at the spray that loomed above this geographic wonder that has bragging rights to the greatest sheet of falling water in the world. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, I anticipated it to be beautiful, but Victoria Falls was beyond my expectations in terms of size, strength and magnificence.
To get to Victoria Falls, I took a one hour flight from Lusaka to Livingstone within Zambia. I stayed at Stanley Safari Lodge, a luxury lodge tucked away on a hillside in the African bush, just a ten minute drive from the falls.
The bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe
To enter Victoria Falls, I had to register at an entry point. International guests at the time of my visit in June 2013 had to pay a fee of $20. Luckily for me, the staff at my lodge arranged day and night walking tours with a private guide, Effeso Hammabola, who helped me navigate through the entry process.
Since I happened to be visiting during a full moon, I had the opportunity to do an evening Luna Tour. The highlight was seeing a rainbow at night, illuminated by the moon above the falls. We stopped at four different viewing points along the man made walkway on the edge of the falls during the hour long tour. I was amazed at how close we could get to the bank of the river just before it spilled over the edge. Though I enjoyed the evening tour, I much preferred my day visit when I could fully appreciate the beauty and impressive size of the falls.
Effeso Hammabola, my Victoria Falls guide
Thanks to the proximity of my accommodations I was the first guest to arrive and finished up my two hour tour before hoards of tourists entered the site. Starting at the bank of the river, Effeso and I followed the walkway that had numerous lookout points from different angles, including the side of the falls, directly facing the falls and views of the Zimbabwe side where we could see a series of gorges. It was a pleasant pathway with many trees and greenery surrounding it.
I visited at the end of June, which was an ideal time because there was still an impressive amount of water in the Zambezi River that powered the falls yet the water flow wasn’t so strong that the amount of spray made it difficult to see, which happens, I was told, during the wet season.
Spray from Victoria Falls
Overall my trip to the area was an unforgettable experience due to the awe inspiring size, incredible force and utter beauty of Victoria Falls. I would recommend a trip to friends and family who are interested in geographic wonders. I also would return to Stanley Safari Lodge to steer clear of the urban hustle and bustle of Livingstone while remaining close enough to the falls in the early morning hours.