Exploring the Victoria Falls: My Experience

As Zambia’s High Commissioner to Australia, I am delighted to share my experience of visiting one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders – the Victoria Falls. On October 10, 2022, I was privileged to present my credentials to Australia’s Governor-General as the High Commissioner for Zambia. It was an honour and a privilege that will stay with me forever.

Amidst the chaos of work and just trying to settle into a new assignment, I had a remarkable opportunity to revisit my homeland of Zambia briefly. While there, I was able to explore some beautiful tourist attractions. In particular, I explored Victoria Falls – one of nature’s most stunning wonders that every person should experience at least once in their lifetime!

Located on the Zambezi River, straddling Zimbabwe and Zambia, these majestic falls are more than just a breathtaking site to behold; they also act as a reminder of how powerful nature can be. This natural wonder is known as the Mosi-Oa-Tunya, “the smoke that thunders” for its misty clouds that rise from the falls and the thundering sound of its cascading waters. It’s a sight you will remember!

I was lucky to visit the falls just at the beginning of the rainy season. The waters were not at their highest, so I could at least see the falling waters much clearer. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. From the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Falls, I could see why it is one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. The power and beauty of the Zambezi River cascading over a sheer drop of 100m was awe-inspiring. It is hard to believe that a single river can create such an impressive natural wonder.

I took in the falls from several vantage points, including the Victoria Falls Bridge and a plane ride above. I did a mini hike down to the Boiling Pot as well. The views were simply breathtaking! I also got up close and personal with nature by going on a guided tour of the national game parks nearby. The Falls is actually in a game park, but close to that game park are other parks in both Zimbabwe and Botswana that form a common habitat for animals. Here, I learned about the unique plants and animals that live in this part of Africa and saw some fantastic creatures, such as hippos, elephants, and crocodiles.

Victoria Falls is sometimes referred to as “the greatest curtain of falling water in the world,” which is an apt description for its 1.7-kilometre width and 108 meters depth! The spray from the falls can be seen from over 30 kilometres away, so even if you don’t get close enough to feel the mist on your face (which I highly recommend), you will still be able to appreciate its majesty.

Victoria Falls offers plenty of activities for intrepid explorers, including whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, bridge swings, and helicopter rides that offer spectacular views of the falls. The region also has some incredible game parks where you can spot exotic animals like elephants, giraffes, hippos, and rhinos. I was feeling adventurous, so I zip-lined across the gorgeous Batoka Gorge. Victoria Falls itself actually sits on the Batoka Gorge.

Zambia isn’t just about wild adventures; it also has a vibrant culture steeped in history. During my time there, I visited Livingstone Island, where David Livingstone first saw Victoria Falls in 1855 and Maramba Cultural Village, which offers insight into traditional customs and beliefs. There are also several local markets where you can buy crafts made by artisans from all over Zambia.

I also visited the Livingstone Museum, which houses a vast collection of memorabilia related to the explorer. But more than that, the Museum explains the story of the world, the story of all people and our human journey to the present. In fact, all visits to Victoria Falls should start with visiting the Livingstone Museum. Afterwards, I could also go on a safari and spot some amazing animals, such as elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, leopards, buffaloes, cheetahs, wild dogs and antelopes. It was a truly incredible experience! Unhindered by passports and national citizenship laws, animals can easily travel between Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Angola – a powerful reminder of our shared space. When I visited, the elephants had ventured into Botswana. So I made my way to Chobe National Park – an unforgettable experience.

The African landscape

A visit to Zambia’s magnificent Victoria Falls is an experience like no other. From exploring the majestic falls themselves to getting up close with exotic wildlife or experiencing traditional culture, there are countless ways to make your stay memorable. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or want to relax in one of Africa’s most beautiful landscapes, Zambia’s Victoria Falls has something for everyone!

Furthermore, individuals holding either an Australian or New Zealand passport can enter Zambia without needing to get a visa.

Drenched or wet? The smoke that thunders

The Author is Zambia’s High Commissioner to Australia; public theologian, lawyer, ordained minister; Chiwempalan; runner; Ph.D., MBA, LL.M, M.DIV., MA, MA, LLB (Hons)., BA

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