Victoria Falls Stories and Tips

Words Can't Do It Justice

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came to Victoria Falls. Flying in and out of this town proves to be trying, as flights running from South Africa to Victoria Falls are infrequent. But it is well worth the hassle. The falls themselves are so spectacular and are a must-see. I had never been so amazed by nature. I was moved by the purity for the falls and the total respect given to them by everyone in the town. Writing about Victoria Falls alone does not do the place justice; it is truly a place where a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Accommodations: when you think of Africa, great accommodations probably don't come to mind. Think again. I am not a camper, but my camping experience consisted of sleeping in 'luxury tents' that were complete with beds. (Granted, not as comfortable as my Queen-sized bed, but hey, it's better than the cold ground). Camp grounds in the area fill up quickly, or so people told me, so if you're planning to rough it, make a reservation early. There are also plenty of hotels in the Victoria Falls area that offer upscale accommodations that offer top-notch service.

Dining: while the food is not memorable, you will not starve so don't bother bringing the jar of peanut butter and the box of Ritz crackers. This is because Victoria Falls is predominantly a tourist area, and you will find that most of the food options cater to Western palettes. Pizza, burgers, and sandwiches are fixtures on every menu, while Coca-Cola signs are plastered everywhere promoting the world's favorite soft drink. Eating what the locals eat might prove to be a hard task, as it seems that most of the people I encountered had the same penchant for ice cream and chicken sandwiches that I had.

Activities: the main reason one comes to Victoria Falls is for seeing Victoria Falls. This can be done from a helicopter ride, a hike through the park, or a canoe ride. Seeing the falls from more than one perspective is a must. Beyond the falls, there are plenty of outdoor activities to take in, and of course, the trump card of the visit is if you happen to see animals in the wild. (The hotel I stayed at featured placards in each room warning of the elephants that are known to wander around the premises.)

More Info (to be added to the last slide of the template) While most people worry incessantly about disease when visiting Africa, Victoria Falls is not a region where this is a concern. Before you're visit, call the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to inquire about the shots they recommend that you take. Since you will be outside a lot, I recommend a tetanus shot if you haven't had one in seven years. Also, if you're going during Malaria season, be sure to fill your prescription a few weeks before you go otherwise the preventative treatment isn't effective. (The pills are also a little unsettling on your stomach, so take them with a big meal.) Stick with bottled water when outside your hotel. You will find vendors on almost every block selling cold water. Just check for a sealed cap. Most high-end hotels purify their water, so drinking from the tap is safe. Camp grounds generally import their water or boil it, so that is also safe to drink. Be careful about having ice in your drink if you're eating at a place with which you're unfamiliar.

A few other things to take into consideration: Bring plenty of insect repellant because there are lots of bugs. Binoculars are a must--animals are everywhere but sometimes you’ll need a little help seeing them. Film and batteries can be expensive so don’t forget to pack extras. The nights are very cold -- jeans for going out and flannel for when you’re sleeping are extremely necessary. The days are warm enough for T-shirts and shorts. Everyone is casual -- leave your finest jewelry and clothes at home as they are apt to get dirty quickly. If you’re planning to camp at some of the sites or stay in a low-end hotel, book your space well in advance, as spots fill up quickly.

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