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Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe
MAY 31, 2007

The Smoke That Thunders

The train from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls leaves at 8 in the evening and travels the smallish distance through out the night, arriving at 7 in the morning. It travels nice and slow so that you arrive at a sensible time, and allows for the train to stop along the way to pick up passengers at the various railway sidings. Even with the generous time frame we were still three hours late due to a signal/communications problem.

One thing I love about Zimbabwe is it's British heritage. The train was no exception, and although it is now old, a tad neglecgted and the steam engine has been replaced with a modern diesel locomotive, small glimpses of this fine old machine could still be found in the ornate woodwork.

Ahhh Victoria Falls, so much hype and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We saw the smoke rising over the tree tops well before we arrived in the township, disappointment soon followed. After such a wonderful trip through southern Zimbabwe, entering the township of Victoria Falls was like walking into a town anywhere in the world. Small prefab tourist shops selling the same gimmicky nick knacks and touts on street corners selling wooden carvings. Victoria Falls themselves - average.

Do not get us wrong, Victoria Falls is huge, there is lots of water and we left totally drenched, but at the end of the day, we just did not get the ‘wow’.  We were more impressed with smaller falls we saw after an eight hour hike in the Hogsback region. At least there we felt a sense of satisfaction from the hike through the forests. At Victoria falls it is a short ten minute walk through town, then you hand over your 20 bucks, push through the turnstile and thank you very much - there is the waterfall.

Perhaps having previously seen photos and footage of the falls was responsible for removing the wow factor. Pretty much everything else we have experienced we were not sure what to expect, with Victoria Falls it is pretty obvious what you are going to see.  Maybe we had high expectations?

After that disappointment, we were both pleasantly surprised when we took a horse ride through the nearby Victoria Falls National Park (Zambezi Horse Trails). This was not planned, and as the park is only five minutes from town, we expected to just ride along the Zambezi river for a bit. That in itself would have made for a nice afternoon. Not two minutes into the ride and we started encountering game, from Impala and Bushbuck, to a massive Kudu bull. We had close encounters with elephant and managed to get very close to a herd of buffalo. As the sun set behind the magical pink baobab, we were grinning from ear to ear..

Victoria Falls was one of the main reasons we went to Zimbabwe, however that is not the memory we will take forward. Zimbabwe enabled us to meet many wonderful people and experience first hand the daily battles they face, this is what made it more than worthwhile.
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Hey Donna - I am loving reading about your travels, especially Zimbabwe and seeing the photo's. You guys are experiencing some of the most amazing places in the world and having this website is a fantastic way for us all to follow it with you. Love Sal Cameron p.s. - great to see your face again too, it\'s certainly been awhile.

Sally - Aug 09, 2007

Every chapter in your travelogue has been a really great read. Your insights into local life are capturing and your scenic descriptions and photography are superb. I am following you every inch of the way. Great stuff.

Thommo Sen - June 07, 2007


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