on July 18, 2006
There should be one recommendation category higher than "Very Highly Recommended" called "You have to see this once in your lifetime" and Victoria Falls is one such place.The Smoke that Thunders, "Mosi Oa Tunya", Victoria Falls, the seventh wonder of the world,... all these wonderful names for the world's widest waterfalls. The falls, of course, are the reason we come to this remote part of the world. And it is a truly fantastic experience. You don't just see Victoria Falls, you experience them by getting soaked from their mist and hearing the roar of all that water crashing down 100 meters to the floor of the gorge. Victoria Falls are on the Zambezi river, between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.There is a city also named Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side of the falls, and until a few years ago, it was the place most people came to stay when they came to the falls. But lately, with the political unrest and instability in Zimbabwe the last few years, many people are now coming through Livingstone, Zambia to see the falls from this side.The falls are 8km from the town of Livingstone. The falls area is a Zambian national park (Mosi Oa Tunya park), with a $10 admission fee. You then walk down towards the falls and come to a few observation points. Continue down, across the Knife Edge bridge, a little foot-bridge out onto an island which faces the falls and gives the best views and full-on experience. We brought simple $1 plastic rain ponchos for just this occasion, and they came in very handy. Also wear footwear you won't mind getting wet, but bear in mind that most of the paths will be very slippery.Although you can rent rain ponchos at the falls.Just below the falls, there is a bridge across the Zambezi gorge between Zambia and Zimbabwe. You can walk out to this bridge and across it without any visa payment hassles. You will pass the Zambian border post on the way to the bridge. We stopped in and the official stamped an exit visa stamp onto a piece of scratch paper, said this was our receipt and indicated to go on. The basic meaning was "Go ahead, it's cool with us if you go down to the bridge".If you happen to be at Victoria Falls during a full moon, the park is also open until 9:00 pm, enabling you to see the falls by moonlight, complete with a moonbow (moonlight refracting through the water droplets instead of sunlight). Save your entry ticket from earlier in the day for the later night-time admission also (just a couple $ extra when you return).We were there in June and the falls were very full and powerful. We were told 2006 had been a very wet year, contributing to a very full river. I have read that in the dry season, the flow over the falls is significantly less.
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