Our already high expectations of Vic Falls were more than exceeded during our stay in Livingstone; it’s high season at the moment due to the rains so the waterfall is extremely full. The power of the water is almost unbelievable as it scrambles over charcoal coloured rocks and plummets towards earth. There is currently so much mist that it feels like torrential rain at times; crossing the bridge involves wading through a small river caused by the mist alone and we were drenched right through despite wearing kaguls!
We explored down to the ‘boiling pot’ where the water swirls impressively at the bottom of the waterfall, forming the lower Zambezi river. The path winds through a beautiful tropical microclimate with towering ferns, trickling streams and baboons scampering all around, swinging at tremendous speeds between the trees and vines like a scene straight from the Jungle Book. When you reach the boiling pot itself you can sit on the rocks with a great view over the water, the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe and the lunatics bungee jumping off it! Very enjoyable, although the hike back up wasn’t quite as pleasant as it’s effectively walking up the height of the falls and rather steep! The sun decided to make a show in perfect timing as we reached the top so we went to have another look at the falls; it was almost as if we were seeing a different waterfall. If I was impressed the first time, I was awe-struck at such natural beauty now – the water danced over the edge in the sunlight, with each droplet sparkling down the sheer drop as it caught the light. Absolutely spectacular.
The rest of our stay was also brilliant; we spent quite a few days lounging by the pool, or visiting local markets and we made some truly great friends even in such a short space of time. There was a group of eight or ten of us at one point, all different ages and from all over the world, who just bonded so well – one night we went to the Royal Livingstone for drinks, which must be the fanciest 5* hotel in Africa, with the most fabulous view over the upper Zambezi. The whole group were dressed up in our finest clothes which backfired a little as we squeezed into the back of our friend’s pick up truck to get there! Relaxing by the waterside bar, watching the sunset over the river with the mist from the falls turning light pink and then vivid violet as the sun vanished into folds of red and gold over the deep blue water was an indescribably beautiful experience. On the way home we had the most fabulous view of the stars from the back of the truck, with the wind gently whistling around us, all alone in the bush. The stars in England can’t compare to how clear they are here; we could see all the constellations, the whole Milky Way, Jupiter and Venus as if they weren’t that far away afterall. There is no noise or light pollution out in the wilderness so the sky is a perfect inky black and the stars feel like a blanket, close enough to touch.
We also went out a few nights for cocktails at Fez Bar, dancing, tequila and beer pong. Two of the guys were so good at the game we didn’t get home until 4am as you have to stay until you lose! Great fun, then we were pushed in the pool and splashed about star gazing until we were asked to leave (again) at around 5am, but it was magical.
Another unmissable venture was a canoe safari – it was fantastic to be out on the water as it’s so calm and serene. Paddling wasn’t necessary half the time as we were carried peacefully with the strong current, expect for the rapids which were a lot of fun splashing over the rolling waves! We saw hippos, crocodiles and zebras but the highlight was when a huge herd of elephants came down to the water to drink! At first just one lone elephant, followed by a baby, then we saw around eighteen in total. We also did a river cruise in the evening, spotting animals and watching the sunset over the river again with a delicious braai dinner and unlimited drinks included! A great start to our travels, bring on Malawi!