A Return to Africa - Victoria Falls & Chobe
Updated: May 25
Rhinos, Victoria Falls, Zambezi and the Chobe National Park. Looking back at these images, this was as great an experience as my first African trip to the Serengeti.
In 2015 May, I returned to Africa and this time I visited Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia. In Zimbabwe, We stayed at the Stanley & Livingstone Game Reserve in their separate chalets that are not at the main hotel complex. They offer a choice of a day or night safari for each day,
One of the big attractions are the Rhinos that are protected here from poachers by a force trained by the IAPF
The open vehicles offer an immersive and safe experience. On our first day, we got out of the vehicles and walked a short distance through the bush to see the Mother and baby Rhino that were less than 50m from where I was standing. I took this shot below and then our guide moved us back to the vehicle. Mum decided to move toward and then past us.
Directly in front of our chalet was a watering hole that attracted various animals throughout the day. On this day, a few elephants wandered in for refreshment, then some mud before finishing off with a ritual of sand dusting.
Each day's or evening's safaris were unique and personalised. On one day we enjoyed a private walking safari with our guide.
Thanks to our guide Mike Mpuche Tahwa
The Stanley & Livingstone Game Reserve is just a short distance from the town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Not surprisingly, the town features the actual water falls. Also there stands the statue of Livingstone that overlooks this magnificent wonder. Livingstone was the first European to see Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") falls and then renamed it after Queen Victoria. Personally, I prefer its original name.
The first sight of the falls reminds you how powerful nature is. Mosi-oa-Tunya's sound will vibrate through your entire body and it's spray can be thicker than a tropical downpour from which there is no staying dry.
From where Livingstone's statue now stands is a start of one of the best walking tracks in the world that follows the falls all the way to the Victoria Falls Bridge. Adrenalin seekers can Bungie Jump from middle of the Victoria Falls Bridge.
About the spray, please be warned - My camera was so wet by time I got to the Bridge, which is quite a walk, it had stopped working and I had to somehow dry it out to take that shot. Even with wet protection, I was soaked, as you can see in pictures of Max and Michele, Which was before it got to really wet. The wind will determine where the spray goes and on this occasion, it was not the ideal direction, but it is part of this incredible experience and I would not change any of it. My camera recovered and worked well for many years until I upgraded and passed it on to Max, my son who uses it now.
A day on Chobe River
The Botswana border is also a short drive from Victoria Falls and we took a day trip to Chobe National Park.
We returned to Zimbabwe and the Stanley & Livingstone Game Reserve after an incredible day on Chobe.
The Victoria Falls Hotel is a beautiful piece of Grand history with an amazing outlook
The town of Victoria Falls also features the Victoria Falls Hotel, which still represents that classic British Colonial architecture and has a view towards the falls.
Our time at the Stanley & Livingstone Game Reserve was sadly at an end and it was time for sad goodbyes to our wonderful hosts.
Moving over the border to Livingstone, Zambia
Victoria Falls are on the Zambezi River, which is also the Zimbabwe Zambia border and both countries offer a very different view of the falls that are equally worth the time to explore and experience.
In Livingstone, we stayed at the Zambezi Sun, which is aligned with the Royal Livingstone Hotel.
From the Zambezi Sun Hotel, you have unlimited access included to Victoria Falls. You register as you leave the hotel grounds and enter the park. My curiosity was triggered as I tried to ascertain the reason.
When I asked is it common for people to fall, the response was, 'one or two a month'.
I find that hard to believe keeping a record of people going off the edge was valid, but then also it‘s not completely implausible. Regardless, unlike Western society, I am thankful there are no fences and you are forced to use common sense, be responsible and accept the consequences for your own actions .
One of the first walks from the hotel was to the Boiling Pot, which is steep descent to the base of the river running under the Victoria Falls Bridge. I have great memories of this day that I shared with my son Max as we left the others behind moving at a more intense pace. Climbing back up will take your breath away, but again, it is worth the effort.
Just looking at that climb back up takes my breath away.
Life does not get much better than this
At the end of each day, we would return and then catch the small electric shuttle bus to the Royal Livingstone Hotel to enjoy the afternoon ritual of drinks as we watched the amazing sunsets over the Zambezi River and falls.
Walking along the top of the falls on the Zambian side gives you access to a small rock pool you can sit in on the edge of the falls, but at this time, the flow was too much and the pool was completely overflowing with rapid water. The power of the water here is its own spectacle and seeing the water disappear over the edge in front of you is just incredible.
Another thing you can do from Livingstone is cruise the Zambezi River to experience the wildlife up close.
As the sun sets on this Album, It would be unfair of me to choose one African trip as better than the other. They cannot be compared. Yes, Tanzania had more diverse wildlife, but we travelled over a much larger distance. Zimbabwe and Zambia had Victoria Falls and a the close up experience with wild Rhinos, which is a whole different experience. Botswana had its own unique beauty of which Chobe is only a small part.
What I learn from this is that I need to experience more of Africa
©2022 Noel Castley-Wright