Something came over us when we arrived to Livingstone, Zambia. I don’t know if it was the roar of falls or the spray you can see from 30 miles away but this place makes you do crazy things. In a matter of four days we fit in more adrenaline-packed activities than we had in the previous four weeks combined, with the help of our amazing lodge Tongabezi, our partner Honeymoons.com, and whatever Mike put in my oatmeal. Here’s a snapshot of our wild ride in, above, and around the largest waterfall in the world.
Tongabezi is the oldest (and perhaps the most incredible) lodge above Victoria Falls. Their gorgeous property on the wild banks of the Zambezi river and expert staff made our stay in Livingstone one of our favorite in all of Africa.
The Zambezi river is the lifeblood of the area and its beauty makes you want be near the water as much as possible. Seizing our first day, we woke up for a sunrise sail. Watching kingfishers swooping through the air, baboons playing on the sandy banks, and hippos returning from their night of foraging, we sipped our coffee before heading back to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. Then as soon as we finished breakfast we were back out on the river for a fishing trip and Mike caught a beautiful tiger fish!
In the afternoon we went on safari at the nearby Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (which means “The Smoke that Thunders,” the Tonga name for the falls). There we saw giraffe, zebra, warthogs, elephants, baboons…but this hippo sighting? It was at dinner! We were on the patio a few feet above the riverbanks and heard the sound of a big mouth chopping and snarfing; we flashed our light and low and behold it was an adolescent hippo a few yards from our table! You’d think with the light he might scurry away, but no, he ate right alongside us throughout our meal and even joined us for some after-dinner drinks.
Then for the main event…Victoria Falls. At 354-feet high with a single stream of water running 5, 604-feet wide, it is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world. Our guide Brian gave us a very informative tour on the geology and history of the magnificent falls and then he handed us two rubber rain coats. The path opposite the falls was the world’s greatest natural water park! We giggled and squealed like school kids as we got more and more drenched, catching glimpses of the cascades and rainbows.
Tongabezi was a true pioneer in early eco-tourism to the falls and the best example of that is Livingstone Island. They have exclusive access to this island which literally hangs over the edge of the waterfall, providing views that will make your stomach drop and your heart soar. Now this is what I love about Africa…we got to walk right to the edge of one of the world’s biggest waterfalls with no railings, no glass walls, just the pure power of nature at your feet. Safety standards, who need ’em!?
To fully grasp the magnitude of the falls an aerial view is a must. Many people take helicopter rides (an enclosed, sturdy option) but that would be too cushy for us. Instead, we opted for the microlight (essentially a flying moped). We each strapped in with our respective pilots and took flight over the winding Zambezi, the series of profound gorges, and the face of the falls crossing from Zambia into Zimbabwe. The feeling, not to mention the views, was absolutely incredible.
As if we didn’t already have enough adrenaline fixes for the week, we decided to do the gorge swing. We had never heard of such an extreme sport nor seen it done until we were in a harness, with our heels teetering over the edge. Check out the rapid-fire photos of us plummeting 155-feet and swinging back and forth over the rocky canyon. This may sound crazy but being strapped to your soul-mate as you sweep through the air into the unknown was actually kind of romantic.
Victoria Falls was our initial attraction to Livingstone, Zambia but with incredible wildlife, dramatic landscapes, a lively river, and extreme sports, the falls are just the beginning of the fun.