This the third of a five part travel series across the south of Africa. Six family members traveled to four countries over ten days: Capetown (Part I) and Sabi Sands Game Reserve (Part II) in South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (Part III), Chobe National Park (Part IV), and Johannesburg, South Africa (Part V). We flew into Livingstone, Zambia and following a somewhat nervous border crossing, into Zimbabwe. We stayed at the Victoria Falls Hotel, which was simply spectacular.
victoria falls hotel
The stately five-star hotel was built in grand English style in 1904 and is situated on stunning grounds overlooking Victoria Falls. It's one of the oldest hotels in Africa and was named after Queen Victoria (no surprise there). As you walk the halls you can almost hear the murmur of elegant ladies and gentlemen decked out in their finery enjoying a gin and tonic on the one of the verandas.
So - big fancy five start hotel, right? Doesn't mean they don't have unwanted guests. They snatched the candy from a nearby cleaning cart and were having a ball!
The hotel is only a ten minute walk from the falls. It's so close, in fact, that they used to offer trolley rides to the guests. These were no ordinary trolleys, though, as they were pulled by zebras! The service was ultimately ended as the zebras proved too difficult to train. Service dogs, yes. Service zebras, not so much.
Even though the Falls are a short walk from the hotel grounds, you're no longer able to do so due to the prevalent wildlife. There were always armed guards roaming the hotel grounds to ensure the safety of the guests.
Below is one of the trolleys that were once pulled by zebras. Catching shots of a warthog on the way to breakfast
We started with a walking tour of Victoria Falls. Plus- it was a warm and dry day, perfect for a walking tour. Minus - it was the end of the dry season so the water flow was at its lowest for the year. After the walking tour we took a short helicopter ride over the falls which provided awesome views.
The Falls are located on the Zambezi River which divides Zimbabwe and Zambia. The river cuts back and forth, as you can see one of the images below.
Zambezi River from the helicopter. One section of Victoria Falls. The bridge in the distance connect Zimbabwe and Zambia.
I can't believe I did this...
Now onto the the crazy, insane, "can't believe I did this" part of the trip. One optional excursion in Victoria Falls was the Gorge Swing. That'd be a 235 foot free fall off the edge of a gorge that is 1,000 foot wide and 360 feet deep. Nothing to it? Right?
They prepare you the Gorge Swing by first having you fly across the gorge in the Flying Fox, then ride across on the Zipline, and finally, the "OMG" free fall of the Gorge Swing. Steve and Rick had signed up for the Gorge Swing in advance and I planned to go along to take photos. Unbeknownst to me, the tour company had booked me a ticket, too. So why not?
The gorge - 1000 feet across, 235 feet down!
The finale was the Gorge Swing and below is a video shot by one of the staff members. The video has four parts: Steve and I on the zipline, then each of us on the Gorge Swing. Rick gets most impressive take off, Steve wins best form, and me? - I kind of fell/was pushed off the platform. Most awkward for sure, but I did it!
Video is about 6 minutes long. Feel free to zip through (pun intended). It's pretty crazy!
Goodbye, Victoria Falls!
This fellow worked at the Victoria Falls hotel and collected pins from all over the world. Surely wished I'd had one to give him.