Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bird's Eye View of the Victoria Falls

Most people I know have a to-visit or to-do list. For quite a while, a visit to the Victoria Falls was high on my list and I finally got my chance when I went to southern Africa. Spanning about 1700m between Zimbabwe and Zambia and at more than 100m tall, this spectacular falls is twice the height of the more accessible and visited Niagara Falls.

zimbabwe side of the falls
Known to the indigenous people as Mosi-oa-Tunya which means 'the smoke that thunders' - it really lived up to the billing when I visited at the end of the rainy season (end May). The spray of the falls could be seen from miles and the thunderous roar was surprisingly audible when having dinner at a hotel some distance from it. But it was while viewing the falls that I really began to grasp the sheer force and velocity of it all. It was like sightseeing in a rainstorm, all soaked and trembled in cold underneath my rain gear. The conditions and visibility were so bad and I thought it would be a good idea to see it from a different point - a vantage point.
A helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls was a splurge but it was also very special. Seated next to me was this well-traveled German lady from my camping group and we were both awe-struck by the amazing sight. The entire experience lasted no more than 10 minutes - the chopper took us to the falls from the base which was about a mile away, circled over it once before returning to the base.

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