Zimbabwe
Cataract Island

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    • Day 77

      Safari und Victoria Falls, Simbabwe

      January 19 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      D Erläbnisdichti vom hitigä Tag isch relativ gross gsi.
      Am Morgä friä bini los ufne churzi Safari im Mosi-o-Tunya Nationalpark. De Nationalpark isch relativ chli, aber hiä läbid diä einzigä 11 wissä Nasherner in ganz Sambia. Mer hend da debiä ä churzi Walking Safari gmacht und sind so de Tier ganz neech gsi, das isch sehr idricklich gsi.
      Am Namitag bini de churz uf Simbabwe igreisd, ga d Victoria Falls bestuinä. Jetzt ide Rägezit isch d Wassermängi relativ gross. D Fäll sind drumm mega imposant, mä hed aber mengisch oi nid viel meh als Näbel gseh. Oi de Rägäwald und diä ganz Umgäbig rund um d Victoria Falls sind wunderscheen.
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    • Day 21

      May 26 - Victoria Falls

      May 26, 2023 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      After a nice breakfast inside since it was a bit cool to sit outdoors, we were picked up once again by Big Boy. After picking up some people at two other locations, Big Boy took us to Victoria Falls.

      Victoria Falls ("Thundering Smoke" or "Boiling Water") is a waterfall on the Zambezi River in southern Africa, which provides habitat for several unique species of plants and animals. It is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Zambezi River is the 4-th longest river in Africa, after the Nile, the Congo and the Niger Rivers.

      Archeological sites and oral history describe a long record of African knowledge of the site. Though known to some European geographers before the 19th century, Scottish missionary David Livingstone identified the falls in 1855, providing the English colonial name of Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria. It is a very important tourism site for both Zambia and Zimbabwe and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

      While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, the Victoria Falls is classified the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water. The Victoria Falls are roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls and well over twice its width.

      After giving us a short history of the falls, Big Boy led us through the surrounding rainforest to the main viewing vantage points. Words and photos are both inadequate for capturing the magnificence of Victoria Falls. The roar of the falls, the rising mist, the occasion rain shower, the sheer power of the water – we all just drank in the sight.

      Big Boy delivered us back to the hotel. We’ll be doing a river cruise this afternoon. It’s nice to have a few hours to enjoy some relaxation time.
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    • Day 5

      Victoria Falls

      October 30, 2022 in Zimbabwe ⋅ 🌩️ 33 °C

      (Deutsch weiter unten)
      I booked a group trip, but chose to land a few days earlier in Livingstone, so I have time to visit the Zimbabwe side of the Victoria Falls. My trusted travel agent Maya advised me to not go alone if possible. Tour guide Mannex is pulling up every excuse he can find to not having to come. He knows that the entry fee is expensive, and he doesn't want me to spend so much money on him. As I find out that he has never been inside the Victoria Falls park, I'm not holding back anymore. I tell him that as a tour guide, he should have seen the things he recommends to his guests himself. That helped – nobody questions his pride for his profession!
      We spend a beautiful morning at the Falls and Mannex is thankful that I insisted on him coming along. The residents actually call the Victoria Falls «Mosi-oa-Tunya» which translates into «roaring smoke». Indeed, the «smoke» is one of my favourite details: This fog creates a small rainforest area, where it's actually really raining constantly. And this cool rain is sooooo nice when it's more than 30 °C «outside». Plus, it's responsible for many beautiful rainbows. My recommendation: Visit the Falls on the Zimbabwe side and early in the morning – that's when the rainbows are the most beautiful.
      ___
      Eigentlich habe ich eine Gruppenreise gebucht, bin aber schon ein paar Tage früher in Livingstone gelandet. Weil ich deswegen schön Zeit habe, will ich mir heute die Victoria Falls von Simbabwe aus anschauen. Meine Reiseberaterin des Vertrauens, Maya, hat mir geraten, das wenn möglich nicht alleine zu machen. Tourguide Mannex sucht jedoch alle Ausreden, um nicht mitkommen zu müssen. Er weiss, dass der Eintritt teuer ist und will nicht, dass ich so viel Geld für ihn ausgebe. Als ich jedoch herausfinde, dass er noch gar nie im Victoria Falls Park war, gibt es kein Zurück mehr. Ich argumentiere, dass es doch mit Berufsstolz zu tun habe, die Orte, die man den Gästen empfiehlt, auch selbst zu kennen. Da schlägt dann doch tatsächlich sein Berufsstolz zu.
      Wir verbringen einen wunderschönen Vormittag bei den Victoria Falls und Mannex ist nun doch sehr dankbar, dass ich ihn überredet habe, mitzukommen.
      Die Victoria Falls nennen die Einheimischen übrigens «Mosi-oa-Tunya», was so viel wie «donnernder Rauch» heisst. Tatsächlich sieht der Sprühnebel von Weitem wie Rauch aus. Mein liebstes Detail: Durch diesen Sprühnebel entsteht bei den Fällen ein kleiner Regenwald, in dem es tatsächlich regnet, obwohl eigentlich die Sonne strahlt. Dieser kühle Regen im Regenwald tut einfach so gut, wenn es «draussen» eigentlich weit über 30 °C hat. Plus ist er verantwortlich für dutzende wunderschöne Regenbögen. Mein Tipp: Die Victoria Fälle unbedingt von der Simbabwe-Seite aus anschauen und am frühen Morgen gehen – dann sind nämlich die Regenbögen am schönsten.
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    • Day 25

      Two sides of a natural wonder - Part 1

      February 19, 2023 in Zimbabwe

      Yesterday we were quite exhausted when we finally arrived at our accommodation, a two bedroom house we were renting for three nights. A bit later than we did, Likumbi, a friend and colleague of Anne, arrived from Lusaka to join us. We spent the evening getting to know each other a bit better over an Indian dinner, where, as is typical for Indian food, we completely overordered and took home about half of what we had ordered.

      Today, we had scheduled for visiting the Victoria Falls, considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. They are the widest falls on the planet at 1700m, and the masses of water thunder down with immense power, especially at this time of year. Hence their local name - Mosi-oa-tunya, meaning "the smoke that thunders". The falls can be admired from two different sides, one from Zimbabwe and the other from Zambia. We decided to start out the day by driving over to the Zimbabwean side, which is known for having bigger chunks of the falls visible.

      At the border crossing, we had a rude awakening. Likumbi, a Zambian local, was not allowed to cross without her passport (which she had forgotten at home), and we would have to pay a fee of 30 USD per person, cash and in US currency, for our visas, which we had to get even though we were only planning to visit for a few hours. We had been largely unaware of this visa requirement, but decided that we would probably not be back in the area of the falls for quite some years, so decided to go for it. Likumbi chose to stay behind and let us proceed without her while she sorted out some errands over the phone.

      The first challenge was getting the cash. When traveling in areas with unstable currencies, I always carry 40 USD cash in my wallet to get me out of sticky situations should the need arise. Those came in handy now, and the remaining 20 USD we had to exchange with a border taxi driver at a rather questionable exchange rate. Since we didn't have the car with us, we were walking into the country - a simple feat because the entrance to the falls was just a few hundred meters behind the border. We came upon the national park entrance and were a bit confused. The park was called the Rainforest Park.

      After some checking we confirmed that we were indeed at the place from where we could see the Vic Falls, and we also learned that we would have to pay another 30 USD per person park entrance fees - but this time card payments were accepted, fortunately. We didn't have to follow the path for long until we came upon the falls. Well, the first part of it at least. We were fully decked out in our rain gear, and for the better - we got really wet, really fast.

      What we could see of the falls was very impressive. Enormous amounts of water falling down into the canyon below. Visibility was rather hit and miss, we were only regaled with sparse glimpses of the enormity of the falls. Usually we could only see a part of it for a few seconds at a time. But those were enough to inspire awe in us from seeing the raw powers of nature unleashed. At some point we were unable to determine if the wetness we experienced came from above or below. Was it raining heavily? Was the mist being pushed up? Did the mist fly up and then got pushed down by rain, doubling the intensity? There was no way to tell, but we did get very very wet.

      The park was nicely arranged with a circular walkway, offering great views of everything. Once we had completed the loop, we walked back toward Zambia to meet up with Likumbi at the car, which was parked in the no man's land between the countries. And so, just two hours after acquiring the nice visa sticker in our passports, they were invalidated again by our emigration.
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    • Day 112

      Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

      April 22, 2023 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

      It was another one of those 'Bucket List' item days . . . got to cross off Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. First few photos are from our flight arrival. Then the rest are close up. What an amazing view. This is the heavy water time of the year, so the flow was huge, causing a lot of spray.Read more

    • Day 115

      Victoria Falls to Livingstone

      January 8, 2020 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      We arrived into Victoria Falls slightly early, but the ever reliable Clifford was already waiting for us, so we could confidently navigate the throngs of taxi drivers who block the exit of the bus.

      Clifford dropped us at the border just as the sun started to rise, and we opt to walk across the bridge separating the two countries. The road just over from the Zimbabwean side of the border is flanked by trucks, the first of which was being invaded by a baboon just as we approach it. I lean around the truck to inform the driver “There’s a baboon in your truck”, to which he angrily shouts to his mate, who is sleeping soundly in the truck instead of keeping away baboons. The cheeky monkey is able to escape with an entire loaf of bread.

      As we cross the bridge, it seems to us that the water levels have risen even in the couple of weeks that we’ve been gone. On the Zambian side, the rivers that ran bare when we first crossed the border are now full of water. The spray from the falls rose up into the sky and fell like rain into the potholes, even so far as the Zimbabwean border post.

      Tired from the bus journey, the rest of our day was a lazy, uneventful one, though we did have a tasty tea of Sadza (what they call Ugali in this part of the world), beans and greens.
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    • Day 11

      Teure Dusche

      August 4, 2022 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      Bevor wir Botswana weiter bereisen, führt uns der Weg an die Victoria Falls. Unser Auto dürfen wir nicht über die Grenze bringen, und so sind wir mit einem Transfer gefahren. Das hat zum Glück super geklappt. Auch der Grenzübertritt nach Simbabwe war dadurch etwas einfacher, hat trotzdem wieder lange gedauert, und kostet hier pro Nase 30USD.

      Nach der Ankunft im Hotel haben wir uns zu Fuß an die Victoriafälle begeben. Für ebenfalls schlanke 30USD bekommt man einmalig Zutritt zum Nationalpark. Mal kurz rausgehen und später wiederkommen ist also nicht, es sei denn man zahlt erneut.
      Von der simbabwischen Seite hat man einen super Blick auf den Hauptteil der Fälle und der Sambesi führt noch gut Wasser, das hier bis zu 107m hinunter stürzt. Ein beeindruckendes Naturschauspiel, bei dem man auch selbst mal ordentlich nass wird. Das lohnt sich auf jeden Fall.
      Mit unserem Visum dürfen wir nur einmalig einreisen, sodass wir auch nicht auf die andere Seite der Brücke können, um noch etwas mehr zu sehen. Das ist aber nicht so schlimm.

      Überall im Ort werden auch diverse Aktivitäten angeboten, die allesamt ziemlich teuer sind. Man hört und sieht bspw. die ganze Zeit Hubschrauber kreisen. Allerdings fliegen diese sehr hoch, sodass wir uns fragen, ob man wirklich etwas davon hat.

      Wir werden morgen auch das eine und andere machen, wir sind ja auch nur ein Mal hier. Aber dazu später mehr.
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    • Day 21

      Victoria Falls

      June 12, 2023 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

      Unsere Reise neigt sich dem Ende zu. 😥
      Am vorletzten Tag waren wir bei den Vic Falls, sind alle Aussichtspunkte abgelaufen und dabei ordentlich nass geworden. Absolut beeindruckend, diese Wassermassen! Nach fast 3 Wochen Stein- und Sandwüste grünt und blüht es nahe dem Wasserfall fast wie im Dschungel.
      Der letzte Tag war zur freien Verfügung bzw. für weitere zusätzliche Aktivitäten. Yvonne und Adrian sind nochmal Hubschrauber geflogen und haben dabei tolle Fotos gemacht. Martin und ich haben eine Village Tour zu Einheimischen gemacht. War sehr interessant!
      Am Nachmittag sind wir über die Brücke gelaufen und waren damit für einen kurzen Moment in einem weiteren Land, in Sambia.
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    • Day 71

      Walking across the Zim-Zam border

      July 16, 2023 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      When we exited the park, we walked to the border with Zambia, getting our clothes dry in the sunshine as we did so. The Zimbabwe/Zambia border is in the middle of a bridge across the gorge. People are allowed to walk across and stand with one foot in each country. You just have to pick up a pass on the Zimbabwe side so that you can get back in again. We walked to the middle and took photos down into what they call the ‘boiling pot’ below. We also watched as some mad fools bungee jumped down into the gorge!

      The bridge was the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, part of his grand and unfulfilled Cape to Cairo railway scheme, even though he never visited the falls and died before construction of the bridge began. Rhodes is recorded as instructing the engineers to "build the bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls." It was designed by George Andrew Hobson of consultants Sir Douglas Fox and Partners, assisted by the stress calculations of Ralph Freeman, who was later the principal designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The main central arch is a parabolic curve.

      The bridge was prefabricated in England by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company before being shipped to the port city of Beira in Portuguese-ruled Mozambique and then transported on the newly constructed railway to the Victoria Falls. It took just 14 months to construct and was completed in 1905.
      The bridge was officially opened by Professor Sir George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin and President of the British Association, on 12 September 1905.

      Constructed from steel, the bridge is 198 metres long, with a main arch spanning 156.50 metres at a height of 128 metres above the lower water mark of the river in the gorge below. It carries a road, railway, and footway. The bridge is the only rail link between Zambia and Zimbabwe and one of only three road links between the two countries.
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    • Day 14

      Victoria Falls hautnah

      February 19, 2020 in Zimbabwe ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      Vom Flugplatz aus geht es nun direkt zum Vic Falls Visiter Center.
      Hier müssen wir Eintritt bezahlen, 25 Euro pro Person. Der Park ist ein Rainforest. Aufgrund der ständigen Gischt, die an der Schlucht wie Starkregen herunter kommt, gibt es eine ständige Feuchtigkeit, weshalb viele Palmen und exotische Pflanzen wachsen können. Einige von uns tragen deshalb Badesachen und Tücher. Wir versuchen uns etwas vorzusehen, um nicht so nass zu werden.
      Die Wasserfälle sind direkt gegenüber und erstrecken sich über eine Länge von fast zwei Kilometern. Es ist ein unglaubliches Spektakel. Die Länge der Schlucht und die Wassermassen sind wirklich beeindruckend. Wir laufen bis zum Dangerous Point. Hier zischt das Wasser noch einmal besonders heftig von allen Seiten. Der Punkt hat nicht umsonst seinen Namen.
      Frank und ich versuchen zur Brücke und nach Sambia zu gelangen. Dafür müssen wir nun wieder aus dem Park heraus.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Cataract Island

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