|Victoria Falls from a helicopter|
The largest wall of water on the planet was veiled in a deep mist laced with a rainbow. Mosi-oa-Tunya, the local name for Victoria Falls, which translates as The Smoke that Thunders, was spot on. The immense power of the roaring and crashing of the water as it plummeted into the deep gorge below was a vision that stopped me in my tracks.
As the falls were at their lowest flow, we could get close up and see the ravines. We spent time walking alongside this roaring sheet of water drinking in its sheer beauty, before going to Livingstone Island, the place where Dr David Livingstone in 1855, first cast his eyes on this magnificent spectacular. He named the falls after his Queen, Victoria. Providing you are not scared of heights a swim in Devil’s Pool is like no other. It is literally right on the brink of the falls. The natural rock wall stops you falling.
|Victoria Falls from Livingstone Island|
Dr Livingstone wrote after he first saw Mosi-oa-Tunya: “European eyes had never seen it before; but angels in their flight must have gazed upon scenes so lovely.” My flight of angels was in a helicopter. Also seeing the falls from the Zimbabwean side and appreciating the actual size of this majestic sight was an exhilarating and unforgettable experience that lifted the spirit and soul.
An elephant ride made my day complete. The beast I was supposed to ride took off as it as I was trying to get on her back – it was huge – leaving me with one leg over it and the other suspended in mid-air. I was on the brink of abandoning the idea altogether when a cute baby elephant was produced and, although here were a couple of hair-raising moments along the trail when she got a little bit frisky, we seemed to bond well. I was told if we meet again in 20 years, she would recognise me. They say an elephant never forgets.
On the banks of the Zambezi, with the falls in the background and surrounded by the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Wildlife Park, the Royal Livingstone has one of the most stunning hotel settings I have seen. Sipping my sundowner, watching monkeys protectively guarding their babies and zebras and giraffes casually sauntering around the grounds, I suddenly caught sight of a crocodile darting in and out of the water and a hippo basking in the day’s last rays of sun. It was as if I had slipped through a hole to an era before television and the internet. This was my Out of Africa moment!
By Daralyn Danns
South African Airways (www.flysaa.com)
The Royal Livingstone (royal-livingstone-hotel.com)