Oddly, the high point of my trip to Zambia in Africa wasn’t watching nearly extinct white rhinos from 30 paces, or seeing so many hippos in a river that I lost count, or walking next to zebras, or even the surprise bubble bath with a river view.
Parker was among the first to build an international quality lodge in the mid 1990s. Today there are some 15 “A class” lodges, though most were built only in the last decade.
In Your Bucket Because….
- You really like excitement and adventure.
- You are comfortable in the water.
- Good for: People willing to travel far for something unique.
Victoria Falls (locals call it “The” Victoria Falls) is a mile wide and 360 feet high. But you don’t really get a feel for this at the lip. It wasn’t until I flew over it in a helicopter that I realized the falls, unlike Niagara, is a long, thin rip in the earth.
And though the first thing you’d think of at a place with a gigantic waterfall is honeymoons, that’s not the half of it.
I thought Swakopmund in Namibia was Africa’s adventure capital but Victoria Falls gives it a run for its money. Whitewater rafting, game viewing from canoes, walks with lions by your side, flights in microlights (think glider with a lawnmower engine), bungee jumping, some craziness that involves swinging on a cable like a pendulum over the falls. And, of course, Devil’s Pool.You take a boat to Livingstone Island, which is where Livingstone first saw the falls on Nov. 16, 1855 and named it after Queen Victoria. Devil’s Pool was discovered by fishermen around 1970 but didn’t become a tourist thing until the mid ’90s. You hike a bit, swim through a shallow pond and scramble over some rocks. Then you jump into THE pool, a large basin 30 feet across and 15 feet deep with a sturdy rock lip at the very edge of the waterfall.
Guide Felix and his buddies scrambled over the rocks like they were crossing the street. We, meanwhile, let the current push us against the rocky rim where we clung, watching the rainbow-sparkled water literally thunder from our shoulders to the chasm below.
The guides stood on the lip where their ankles formed a sort of fence. It was tempting to grab a foot but, well, it’s such bad form to knock your guide over the edge. So we just hung there and gawked.
- May through July is dry and cooler. August through November is dry and hot. December through April is wet. For Victoria Falls, you want July through September. The rest of the year, it’s either too dry or too wet.
- Visits to Devil’s Pool are arranged through Tongabezi Lodge
- General Information for Zambia tourism and Zambia national parks.
- South African Airways (www. www.flysaa.com) flies from New York (JFK) and Washington (Dulles) to Johannesburg in South Africa, after which you transfer to SAA’s flights for Zambia. SAA has a code share arrangement with Jet Blue (www.jetblue.com) and United (www.united.com) to book flights and transfer bags.