It’s high tea, late afternoon on the giant expanse of a porch at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Cucumber sandwiches, dainty pastries and a view unlike any other. In the distance, a rising smoke and an echoing sound that, to the unfamiliar ear, just cannot be placed.
It’s not a veld fire, it’s not a UFO landing, but it is the smoke that thunders.
The water vapour, manifesting the sheer power of the Victoria Falls, whispers into the atmosphere after a 108m drop. The mighty Zambezi’s power cannot be described, it must be felt.
Seeing one of the seven natural wonders of the world is quite an emotional experience; it is charged with anticipation and expectation. The great thing is that it does not disappoint.
In fact, the town of Victoria Falls with its geared-for-tourism attitude sets an example on how to attract, influence and generate enough word of mouth to keep masses of tourists streaming in.
Even on a quiet day, this town is busy and exceptionally friendly. It also does not have to be expensive. In fact, compared to a domestic weekend away in South Africa, a trip to Vic Falls costs much the same these days.
The brand-new Shearwater Explorer’s Village offers neat bungalows, camping facilities and tented accommodation for the more adventurous while the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has a range of accommodation options available.
There are backpacker’s lodges, bed and breakfast accommodation options for the very budget conscious.
On the one end of the scale, the Victoria Falls Hotel’s wood panelled turn-of-the-19th-century luxury and breathtaking views is something you can drink in for hours, and high-tea is somewhat of an unmissable ritual and a must for any visitor to the Falls.
Victoria Falls is a resort town and there is a ton of stuff to do beyond the actual waterfall. White water rafting, sunset cruises, safaris or just relaxing really, really hard.
For the very brave, the Devils Pool, a natural infinity pool that is on the edge of a sheer drop, quite literally on the lip of the falls. There’s bungee jumping, too, as well as elephant safaris and tiger fish fishing. There’s also a grand trip on the Victoria Falls steam train. There’s so much to do in Victoria Falls that if you ever get bored, it’s really your own doing.
For dinner there is a great selection of restaurants, but no visit to Victoria Falls is complete without becoming a certified mopani worm eater at the Boma restaurant, situated at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. It is a giant buffet of African braai with a fantastic selection of venison, you have to try the warthog, entertainment and true Zimbabwean hospitality.
Think of themed African restaurants, on steroids. It is really an amazing experience and sadza, Zimbabwe’s interpretation of what we know as pap, is a gritty, tasty and moreish side to your meal.
An evening at the Boma always ends off with diners drumming together. Do not forget to try mopani worms, and wash the salty chewy crawler down with a healthy cup of local sorghum beer.