Zimbabwe & Zambia
After an amazing four-day stay at Chobe Safari Lodge in Kasane, Botswana, we headed back to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, by a private car. We had to go through both border controls again.
Zimbabwe is another landlocked country in southern Africa, bordering to the west with Botswana, to the north with Zambia, to the east with Mozambique and to the south with South Africa. It also shares about 200 metres of Zambezi river with Namibia. The capital is Harare and the total population is 13 million people, with 16 official languages including English. Shona is the country’s largest ethnic group.
Formerly known as Rhodesia, this country was mainly occupied by the British in the early years. It became independent in 1965 and was ruled by the white minority until President Mugabe took over in 1987. Zimbabwe went through economic and political woes during the 2000s, including hyperinflation. Up until today, the main currencies used in the country are the US Dollars and South African Rands. The country relies on mining, agriculture and tourism as its income.
The town of Victoria Falls is originally named after the massive waterfall in southern Africa, on the Zambezi River right between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The town itself is in the Hwange district of Zimbabwe and has a population of about 33,000 people. Victoria Falls together with Livingstone have become popular tourist destination to those who want to visit the waterfall.
Zambia is another landlocked country in the southern African continent, with neighbours such as Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, Tanzania and Malawi to the east, Angola to the west and Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to the south. The capital is Lusaka, and the country has a population of abut 16 million people. The country’s original inhabitants were the Khoisan. However, this was affected by the Bantu expansion in mid 13th century. Zambia was ruled by the British until October 1964 when it became independent.
The country’s economy almost collapsed when copper prices fell in the 1970s, and the IMF stepped in. Today Zambia is still dealing with economic reform. With its rich natural resources such as agriculture, tourism, gemstone, mining and hydro-power, the country has become one of the region’s fastest economically reformed country.
Until 2012, the capital of Zambia was Livingstone. This was a historic British colonial city named after David Livingstone, the first ever European explorer in the area. The city has a population of about 136,000 people. Among the main attractions in the city include the Livingstone Museum and Maramba Cultural Museum.
There is a bridge over the Zambezi river that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe, where they offer river cruises, sports fishing, kayaking, white water rafting, and bungee jumping!
1. Recommended Tour Operators:
Zambezi Safari & Travel (UK-based).
2. Recommended Hotel:
Zambesi River Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The view of Zambezi river, leading up to Victoria Falls waterfall.
After a busy 3-4 days of both land and water safari, it was quite nice to just relax towards the end of our vacation, in our hotel right by the Zambezi river. The staff here were very friendly and helpful.
3. Recommended Activities:
a. Walking with Lions in Victoria Falls:
This was another exciting activity (not to mention a bit scary as well…..)
This three-hour tour is operated by Lion Encounter, and you actually do walk side by side through the African bush with the King of the Jungle. They are simply majestic creatures. And most importantly, you will learn about the conservation efforts and issues, and will be satisfied to learn where the money from this tour goes to.
I highly recommend this activity. You will of course be briefed beforehand, especially on what not to do during the tour. Everybody will be given a stick and taught how to use them. We were accompanied by three lion handlers and one trip leader, who all carry rifles, communication radio and a first aid kit.
b. The Victoria Falls Waterfall:
Also called Mosi-oa-Tunya, this waterfall is located at the end of the Zambezi river, at the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site. It is classified as the largest waterfall in the world, with a combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres.
This massive waterfall accommodates five large falls: Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Eastern Cataract. There are two large islands in between: Boaruka Island on the west, and Livingstone Island on the east.
Victoria Falls waterfall is about twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls, and over twice the width of just the Horseshoe Falls. There are two national parks in the waterfall area that are relatively small: Mosi-oa-Tuya National Park, and Victoria Falls National Park.
It was quite a clear day and we spotted two lost elephants trying to cross from Zimbabwe to Zambia.
We also spotted a beautiful rainbow right by Rainbow Falls.
c. Bungee Jumping from Victoria Falls Bridge, Livingstone, Zambia:
One final activity was to take my son Liam for “The Big Air Experience.”
This bungee-jumping activity takes place on the impressive Victoria Falls bridge on the Zambian side, so you need to take your passport. It offers a spectacular backdrop, with the roaring sound of the Zambezi river beneath.
Countdown: “5-4-3-2-1- BUNGEE……” Then you jump off 111 metres down into the river!!! Good luck with this. Make sure you make your flight home!