Going adventurous on Victoria Falls Bridge

ALMOST everyone desires to visit the majestic Victoria Falls, regarded as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, which straddles Zimbabwe to the west and Zambia to the east.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

Victoria Falls is among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It lies on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, where the mighty Zambezi River drops more than 100m into the Batoka Gorge to form Victoria Falls.

At 1,7km wide, it is the largest curtain of falling water in the world, and is often referred to as Mosi-oa-Tunya or the Smoke that Thunders.

Although I have been to this place on several occasions, it is only recently that I got the opportunity to explore the tourist resort.

Last week, I managed to explore it since I had gone specifically for a retreat booked at the four-star Elephant Hills Hotel alongside the winners of the Starbrite Kuwadza talent search.

Before participating in the high-wire activity in the afternoon, I had a morning tour of the Falls, accompanied through the Rainforest by a guide who gave a brief history of the Falls and detailed the flora and fauna and other points of interest.

With a wide range of high-wire experience choices, including the gorge swing, bridge swing and bunjee jumping, I had to opt for the bridge slide, although I would have preferred the bunjee jump — reputed to be the adventure of the brave — but an old knee injury disqualified me.

No doubt that jumping 111m off the Victoria Falls Bridge has to be one of the craziest things one can ever do, but I loved the adrenalin rush. It was like a passage of rite from boyhood to manhood.

I watched in agony seated on the bench at The Bridge Café as my immediate friend Aaron, with whom we had chosen bungee jump, prepared to undertake the adventurous “life-threatening” activity.

After virtually signing my life away as part of the paper work, I was then strapped into a harness and waved to some of the people who had earlier questioned my courage to choose bungee jump given my rather small
frame.

A camera in hand to capture and document the unforgettable experience was the only gadget I had as I slid for about 300m over the rapids in the Batoka Gorge below, affording me incomparable views of the Victoria Falls before I gently came to rest on the Zimbabwean side of the bridge.

The heart-pounding sensation of actually sliding above the raging Zambezi waters is something quite unforgettable as the memories will not quickly fade.

After the big air bridge slide, I went back to the hotel to freshen up, as I eagerly waited to be picked up by the shuttle for a two-hour evening Zambezi River cruise.

While there are a variety of cruises that include early morning, lunch and sunset, I settled for the sunset one aboard a three-tier Zambezi Explorer that has the capacity of carrying about 120 guests and was driven by Captain Botshiwi Muleya of Binga, who has been a captain for 13 years, though with different companies.

While Mother Nature did not guarantee what we were going to see upon boarding, it, however, did not disappoint, as I was lucky enough to see floating hippopotamuses along the shallows first, as we headed to catch a better glimpse of the four elephants which were a distance away, with only those with binoculars managing to zoom in closer.

I also had a clear glimpse of an average-sized crocodile that was relaxing on the muddy banks before catching the sight of the world’s tallest animal, the giraffes, five of them from the cruise liner.

Unlimited food and beverages were provided, making eating and drinking on the boat excellent as we waited for the stunning sunset.

As the name sunset cruises suggests, I stayed on the river to watch the sun set and returned as soon as darkness descended.

Indeed, the cruise and the slide were just a wonderful experience full of adventure.

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