You can visit the Victoria waterfalls from two sides; Zambia and Zimbabwe. We really want to see it from both sides and planned a two-day visit to Zimbabwe from Kasane. We decided to leave our car in Botswana, especially after the Australian couple gave us a tip to stay at Batonka Guest lodge, which opened just a couple of months ago.
Victoria Falls is a small settlement founded in 1901 when the possibility of using the waterfall for hydro-electric power was explored, and expanded when the railway from Bulawayo reached the town shortly before the Victoria Falls Bridge over the Batoka gorge was opened in April 1905, connecting Zimbabwe to what is now Zambia. It became the principal tourism centre for the Falls, experiencing economic booms from the 1930s to the 1960s and in the 1980s and early 1990s. We felt Zimbabwe government and some commercial companies are exploiting the tourism of the Falls (too much), i.e. charging a high entrance fee to the park, charging again a park fee when you do your helicopter flight, etc.
Victoria Falls is the largest, most beautiful and most majestic waterfall on the planet, and is the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World as well as being a Unesco World Heritage Site. Just to give you an idea, during the rainy season one million litres of water fall – per second – down a 108m drop along a 1.7km wide strip in the Zambezi Gorge.
Our visit of Victoria Falls is at the end of the dry season, so the falls are less impressive than in March (during the rainy season). There is one advantage; the spray of the Falls is minor, so we don’t need to wear raincoats and can make some nice pictures. Our guide, Isaac, told us that during the rainy season the spray gets as far as city centre. He takes tourists to the Falls almost everyday, but never gets tired of the scenery…he just says ‘everyday I see something new’.
We did a 12 minutes helicopter flight above the falls. Judith sat in the front seat of the helicopter with a small open window, allowing her to take some really nice pictures of the Falls and Zambezi and Batoka Gorge. After the flight we went for lunch at the look-out café, worthy of it’s name, the view above to Batoka gorge towards the historical bridge and the Falls is indeed very impressive ! Late afternoon we went on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river…the boat just circles one of the islands in the Zambezi river, not getting really close to the falls. We were a little bit disappointed as the main focus was birding and most birds we already saw in either Chobe NP or Moremi GR.
After two days in Victoria Falls we went back to Kasane, Botswana and the Old House.