Zimbabwe – Victoria Falls

16 Mar

“Beware of English spies, even they can be disguised as tourists. They’re trying to make Zim a British colony again.” An earnest Zimbabwean warned some Americans in Vic Falls. When asked (and as a tourist, it’s the first question you’ll get in almost every conversation), I tell the Zim’s I’m Irish (if I want to make friends), Israeli (if I’m haggling over something), or ‘not shopping’ (if I want them to piss off).

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is a purpose built tourist town, population of only about 20,000, right next to the falls. You can see the smoke from the main street. Situated in the Zambezi National Park, wild animals such as lions, rhino and warthog ‘roam the streets at night’, according to the LP.

It’s $30 to walk alongside the falls on the Zimbabwean side. You get a view right over the drop at The Devil’s Cataract, and you can stand on sludgy, slippery rocks at Danger Point, jutting out into a white, roaring oblivion. I was told a tour guide fell to his death here two weeks ago, when he pulled back a tourist who slipped while posing for a photo.

Upriver, I rode through the Zambezi Park and searched the riverside for a big rock that the locals use to chill out on. It was deserted, and warnings of crocodiles stopped me from going for a swim.

Further upriver is a giant boabab tree, between 1000 and 1500 years old, 18m in circumference. This boabab has historical significance as it was the meeting point for trading between the Zambians and Zimbabweans of old. There’s a policeman and a fence guarding the tree, to stop you from hugging / marking / nicking the thing, presumably.

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