I left off with our arrival to our first hotel, Pamusha Lodge (which we highly recommend). After a small meal and a much needed shower we discussed our options for our time in the country. Jay wanted to go white water rafting, so we booked that for our second and last full day in Zimbabwe to give us plentyof time to acclamate to the time difference. The next day we decided to spend the entire day at the falls, with the option for an evening booze cruise. But with a good chunk of the day ahead of us, we decided to start our trip with an early dinner at the Buffalo Bar at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge which overlooks a watering hole.
We arrived at the lodge at about 4:30, a good hour before sunset and settled in with a few beers and front row seats to the watering hole. Shortly a gifraffe arrived instantly confirming our reasons for coming to this bar from dinner. We then enjoyed a nice meal and a few drinks as we watched the sun slowly set over the horizon. Just after sunset, we were pleasantly surprised to witness a heard of elephants refresh themselves in the watering hole. A great way to end our first day on this miraculous continent.
The next day was dedicated to the falls. We woke on our own and enjoyed breakfast at our hotel before heading out for the day. Our driver from the hotel recommended 3 hours at the falls. Not convinced we requested he return after 4 hours. There are two things we wish we would have done differently, one of those was we should have requested more time at the falls. It took us about 2.5 hours to view the falls the first time. They are miraculous from all angles. The falls create a pretty mighty mist, so grab a poncho on your way into the park.
After our first round, we grabbed lunch at the Rainforest Cafe before taking a second walk around the falls. This is where we felt rushed. At this point we had about 45 minutes to view the falls. We could have easily spent another hour viewing the falls as they appear differently at different times of day. Alas, we met our driver and returned to the lodge where we booked an evening booze cruise.
The sunset booze cruise, while not anticipated, was a fantastic choice. We were on a small cruise with a nice Australian family originally from Zimbabwean. We saw hippos and crocodile and easily drank our fare.
That evening we went to bed early, anxious about our white water rafting trip on the mighty Zambezi river.
I will admit, I was terrified to go white water rafting and even attempted to cancel. But, it was one of my favorite experiences at Victroia Falls. We woke early for a full breakfast before being picked up by Wild Horizons. We then met our group and guide at their cafe ( Lookout Cafe) overlooking the Zambezi river before heading to our starting point. Since it’s high water, we started our ride at rapid 11. But first we received a safety briefing, hiked down the gorge to the river and practiced our paddling.
About two hours later we were paddling our way toward the first rapid (Rapid 11). The Zambezi offers some of the best rapids in the world. Thankfully, for me, the high water resulted in only one category five rapid. While I had a great time, met some great tourists from Aussie and Russia, I don’t think I’ll be rafting the Zambezi in the low water when the rapids are stronger. I will consider white water rafting in the future and may even be brave enough to get in the water. Jay had a great time, experiencing a whirlpool and a rapid while holding onto the raft. While we did lose one person during a rapid, but she held on tight to the rope and was quickly pulled back into our boat.
After finishing our journey down the river and climbing out of the gorge we sat down to lunch with our guides. I can not stress how impressed we were with Wild Horizons. All of our guides were professional and made sure we had a very fun day. As we loaded back into our transport back to town, we had the opportunity to purchase a few souvenirs. Knowing we weren’t bringing back some of our clothing items, we traded vibrams and a shirt for a few souvenirs. We often leave clothing behind on trips, I almost wish we were further along and could have traded more clothing. Apparently clothing and shoes are hard to come by in Africa. If I were to go again, I would purposely bring old tennis shoes or Keens and trade them at the end of my rafting trip.
After washing up at our hotel, we decided to go back the Wild Horizons Lookout Cafe for a drink. Our hotel driver hesitantly dropped us at the falls entrance and we walked the 400 meters to the cafe (2nd mistake – we should have let our driver drop us at the cafe as were harassed the entire walk). At the cafe, we ran into some friends from our rafting trip. We compared travelers stories and watched our new friend do the Flying Fox before hitching a ride back to the falls entrance (see we’re quick leaners). From here we went through Zimbabwe customs and walked to the center of the Victoria Falls bridge to marvel at the Zambian portion of the falls (a must).
Back at the hotel, we enjoyed some traditional African food prepared by our hotel and chatted with some German women. All in all we had a fantastic time at Victoria Falls and would highly recommend it to friends. While some of the towns people were only out to scam us, all of the guides at the hotel staff at Pamusha Lodge were fantastic. Besides our brief walk from the falls entrance to the Lookout Cafe, we felt completely safe. That ends our Zimbabwe/Zambian adventure. Next stop, Kruger National Park.