Mention a trip to southern Africa and the first image that comes to most people’s minds is Victoria Falls. Not only is it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, it’s steeped in history, culture, and mystique. Archeological digs have proven humans have been coming here for eons. Ancient maps have depicted it as a trading hub. For all these reasons, we include a visit here on our Waterfalls and Wildlife and Victoria Falls to Cape Town safaris.
While some tourists are content to stroll the paths to absorb the awe and misty ambiance of the Smoke That Thunders, we encourage our guests to engage with our local ground agent Shearwater Adventures to make the most of their time here. Most of our guests first meet them when they arrange our local transfers, then go on to book other optional activities.
Trish Mambinge, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, has been with Shearwater for 20 years, and it’s her responsibility to make sure customers have a stellar experience. “We invest a lot in staff training and make sure each person is right for their particular position,” says Trish. “Employees must have a good general knowledge, but as guides, they also need to educate themselves by going on our tours so when they’re talking to clients, they’re speaking from experience.”
“What you hear about the history here is different than what you might read in text books, “ she continues. “The guides can tell stories about how things were for generations, and how things changed after David Livingstone ‘discovered’ the Falls. Guides can spot a discarded snake skin and know the story of the snake, identify indigenous trees, and explain the area’s geology.”
Shearwater actively supports conservation and educational initiatives through their involvement in anti-poaching activities and donations to schools to help with books, supplies, and general upkeep. Ten dollars from every elephant ride goes to Hwange National Park to help pump water for the animals converging here during the dry season.
Trish wishes more people had time to go on tours to the villages. It’s enlightening and helps dispel the myths that Zimbabweans are living in mud huts and uneducated.
Led by an experienced guide, this includes interacting and walking aside lions, learning about their habitat, understanding their behaviour, and becoming aware of the conservation challenges they face in the wild.
Elephants and their Induna’s (personal handlers) form a close bond, inured by permanently living together on the Stanley and Livingstone Private Game Reserve. The Induna’s understand each elephant’s unique character and during the safari, recount their life story and behaviour patterns.
The view of the Falls and Zambezi River from above is breathtaking. Specially designed bubble-shaped windows provide wonderful views and visibility from all seats.
This ferocious species grows as large as 15 kg. and fights with every gram. It’s the most sought-after of the more than 75 species inhabiting these waters.
If there’s more time, people have gone white water rafting, swimming in Devil’s pool, and even bungee jumped!
We’ve heard these called the best white water rapids in the world. There are 19 of them, many graded a 5 (highest/biggest/baddest). With names like the Overland Truck-eater, the Mother, Gnashing Jaws of Death, and the grand finale Oblivion, adrenalin works overtime as soon as you enter the boiling pot directly below the Falls.
Accessed from Livingstone Island in the middle of the Zambezi River, the pool sits right on the brink of the precipice, just before the water drops 103 meters. It’s only accessible during low water season from approximately the end of August to December.
On the Waterfalls and Wildlife tours we are in Victoria Falls for two nights, so we have time to do additional activities. For those doing the Victoria Falls to Cape Town ride, we only have one morning for activities, but many folks arrive a day or two early and then will have lots of time to do things.
While excursions can be booked on arrival, it’s best to plan ahead. Contact us to book your Victoria Falls experience!
Photo credits: Shearwater Adventures