Above: Expect to get wet at the Falls
For many, the gentle beauty of the Zambezi River is as inspiring as the awesome Victoria Falls. As Ernest Holub - the explorer who produced the first map of the Victoria Falls area - wrote in 1881: "Stretching far away into the distance are the numerous islands with which the river-bed is studded, the gorgeous verdure of their fan-palms and saro-palms standing out in striking contrast to the subdued azure of the hills behind."
The rain forest is the core of the Victoria Falls National Park. The main entrance to the Falls on the Zimbabwean side is at the end of Livingstone Way, a short way before the border post. Be prepared to get wet, particularly in summer when the spray is akin to a tropical downpour.
Raincoats may be hired at the reception area. There are 15?viewpoints of the Falls from Livingstone's statue to the old bridge over the river. Allow for at least two hours to explore the area (see Part 2 for more detail).
Zambezi River Walk
This is one of the best ways to experience the tranquil, tropical beauty of the river above the Falls. This gentle walk along the river bank is excellent for birding and you may come across game.
A new private game reserve has been developed on the outskirts of Victoria Falls, stretching from the Victoria Falls Hotel downstream along the Zambezi gorge and stretching back to the main Bulawayo road. Formerly an under-utilised and degraded part of the Victoria Falls National Park, the 2000ha concession has been awarded to tour operators Wild Horizons, who will operate their elephant-backed safaris from this property.
An 18-bed, luxury safari lodge is also reportedly being developed and an animal reintroduction programme is under way to bring in white rhino, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and other plains animals. The operators plan to establish a cheetah breeding programme on the property to reintroduce these big cats to the Victoria Falls area.
Brett Hilton-Barber and Lee R. Berger. Copyright © 2010 Prime Origins.
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