Standing from the check point I could hear the roaring sound of Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) but I recall feeling quite indifferent as I watched my companion and other visitors get all excited. I felt even less motivated after having paid $20 just to watch a mass of water fall down a rock wall. Ever heard of that economic thing about marginal utility? Well let’s put it this way, ‘my marginal utility was close to zero!’ ‘It’s just a waterfall what is all the fuss?’ I thought to myself as I presented the entrance ticket to the gate keeper. I just couldn’t understand why all these other people were being hyper about, taking their cameras and guide books. Do you know how many BBQ’s I could have had with $20 back home? Yet here I was being all touristic. Seriously! This is probably a typical African reaction or may be just me being cynical.
It’s just a mass of water falling down a rock wall! I just could not go past that concept.
‘So where should we start?’ My companion asked eagerly. ‘What about danger point?’ I suggested in jest. Well, since I was already here I might as well add some adventure to it at least it would put my mind off my financial regret. ‘That’s a great idea!’ My companion responded cheerfully as she started off towards the trail while I followed behind reluctantly. We came in front of Dr. Livingstone’s monument and all the lenses (mostly Japanese made) were out and fidgeting in the air, zoom-in, zoom-out, accomplishing their owners’ desires for selfies and other attempts of being photography genius. ‘It’s a darn statue. A statue you hear me!’ I could feel the African in me scream quietly inside in exasperation. The guide went on to describe the history of how Dr. Livingstone discovered the falls of which I am sure was very interesting except that i was not so much into the old fable. You can call me cynical but the truth of the matter is that the Mosi- oa – Tunya existed way before Livingstone was ever conceived and it’s a fact that the locals knew of the falls for decades before his arrival. ‘Can we swiftly move on to the exciting part?’ I thought to myself.
It is hard to fake excitement. I try sometimes but I fail miserably. It just doesn’t come naturally. For my companion’s sake I had to repeat the phrase ‘I am so excited about this’ like a bunch of times so as not to rain on the parade. Okay, in all honesty probably it was getting a little bit more exciting because I could finally hear the sound of the falls getting louder. We walked in small steps observing the nature surrounding the falls, the trees, lizards, squirrels these little things added a bit of colour to this whole trailing business. As we continued to make our way down it was the usual ‘did you see that? Aww so cute.’ We got to a point where my feet remained grounded and I could only sway slightly to accommodate the gravitational force. I recall lifting my eyes and remaining stunned. I could feel the nerves on my head relax, the skin on my face stretch upwards as it pulled my eyebrows northerly and my mouth wide open. ‘Oh my God! Wow! Wow!’ I screamed from some where deep inside of me, a typical touristic reaction that I am embarrassed to admit but I did not expect it to be a part of my emotional composition. Right in front of my eyes was the roaring sound of the Zambezi hitting the rock wall, the white foamy disposition of its flowing water, all the stray droplets making the misty smoke and the cool breeze that was left behind. It was happening in seconds, my marginal utility was shooting up from zero to indefinite!
It was just a mass of water falling down a rock wall but it was so strikingly beautiful. I began my first experiential steps on Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘The smoke that thunders!’
As we walked down the trail of Victoria Falls we enjoyed the spectacular views of the falls at different angles. Stretching a distance of 1.7km and height of 800m the Victoria Falls looked massive and in some occasions quite daunting. Minutes down the trail and all our clothes were soaked but it was all worth it as I caught sight of the first angle of the rainbow, a full circle rain bow. The rainbow at Victoria Falls is always there and the most amazing part is that you can catch a full circle and a double rainbow too.
What are the top 5 things to do at Victoria Falls?
5- Play with the baboons
There is a number of baboons and other interesting animals around the forest within the falls. The baboons are quite used to tourist and you may get nice nature pics. Watch out! They are quite intelligent and may grab your snacks.
There is an area at the falls called ‘Up stream’. It offers a wide ground suitable for group picnics or just relaxing. You can catch sight of the Zambezi river before it begins its fall.
3- Cross knife edge bridge
This is probably the most wet area in the Victoria Falls trail. It is completely covered in moist and stretches for about 300m. Getting soaked adds to the adventure but if you are not up to it then it’s best that you get a rain coat.
2- Find the full circle and double rainbows
When following the Victoria Falls trail you may get lucky to sight the rainbow. I managed to see a full circle rainbow unfortunately it is very challenging to take a picture. Keep following the path and you will discover the double rainbow too. Whether there are three rainbows or just one rainbow with different views remains a mystery to me.
1- Trek down to boiling pot and dip your legs in the falls
The most adventurous route of the Victoria Falls trail. Walk down the Rocky valley and get close to the water of Victoria falls. The path offers a scenic view of interesting plants and trees as well as streams of water passing over huge rocks.
Tips and Recommendations
1- If you plan to visit the Mosi-oa-Tunya then it is best that you leave the whole day for this activity. You will have more fun taking your time around the falls. Bring lots of water and snacks.
2- The entrance for all non-Zambians is $20 however this does not include transport to the falls. You can arrange cheap transport by catching the shared taxis at 8 Kwacha (a little over $1) or 50 Kwacha (about $7) hired taxi per single trip
3- Water proof everything! The Victoria Falls trail is very wet and you may damage your electronics. If you wish to take pictures and videos it is best to bring waterproof devices. Also ensure your bag is water proof. You may wish to take a rain coat too.
4- The ticket is valid for a single entry ensure that you check the area map carefully and you visit the whole Victoria Falls trail. If you miss any part you may have to pay again to revisit it.