“No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight” – Dr. David Livingstone
That quote regarding the explorer’s first view of the falls perfectly captures the feeling when you walk up to the vast sheet of water. For our second leg of our great African adventure, we flew up to Zimbabwe to visit the larger side of Victoria Falls. The falls fall on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, but to view the majority, you have to approach from the Zimbabwe side.
We stayed at the amazing Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. The Lodge looked out over a natural watering hole where we got to daily view the various animals eating, resting, and frolicking around. The majority of the animals there were antelopes of some sort, warthogs, and storks. Once a day there was also a vulture feeding time that was a bit terrifying if you are still scared of the moments before the drop on Disneyland’s Splash Mountain.
Our first day was mostly spent traveling up from Cape Town but we took the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the pool and looking out over the watering hole, trying to figure out what animals we could identify. The poolside bartender was especially helpful with giving us the specifics on the animals, although unfortunately a lot of that flew out of my head by the time I made it back to the family to relate the new information. I was happy enough to sit there and realize I was looking at Pumba in the wild.
That night we had reservations for our first “boma dinner” of the trip. A boma is an African dinner under the stars that heavily features the local game. They served us lamb, warthog, erdu, steak, and most interestingly maponi worms. Dad and Cam were both brave enough to try the worms while us girls enjoyed the drumming lesson. Piper was especially into the drumming and, really, not half bad.
The next day we went to the falls. I have never seen such a beautiful place in my life. As we were there I was trying to come up with a way to describe how massive and overwhelming they were but I still can’t find the words. Lots of good that does me when I am trying to write a blog, right? Halfway through, I stopped taking pictures because the spray discouraged me from getting my phone out, and frankly it was pointless. I’m including some pictures, but they don’t capture what the falls are like at all, and I’m not sure how one would go about that.
Dad let the four of us kids make the plans for this leg of the trip so the last thing we planned was a sunset river cruise. We set out on the Zambezi for a two-hour tour around 4:30, where they served us drinks and heavy hors d’ouvres. The staff on the boat was charming and came around to our tables regularly to make sure our drinks were full and to tell us stories about where they came from and what we were seeing around us. At this point, our only safari animals we had seen were at the watering hole. We didn’t know what to expect from the river cruise but it was definitely not dozens of hippos and an elephant. This was the first elephant Megan and I had seen in the wild and it was crazy to be floating right by it. We kept on remarking how much the sunset cruise felt like Disneyland’s river cruise and were on the look out for a rhino attacking explorers. Looking back, it’s a little funny how much of our expectations were set by Disneyland.
Looking back, it’s funny how excited we were about seeing that first elephant. We had no clue how close we would get or how many we would see once we got to the safari.