We’ve been staring at the mist rising up from the falls for two days now, the falls themselves humbly waiting their turn in the line of incredible sights this town has thrown our way. But the wait is no longer, one of the worlds great three falls alongside Iguazu which borders Argentina and Brazil and Niagra also bordering the US and Canada. These three great falls share statistics of greatness with Niagra boasting the largest volume of water, Iguazu the broadest falls and Victoria by far the highest. Such a testament to this area that a natural phenomenon that is a global wonder is resigned to the latter reaches of our travel queue, the falls precisely the type of sight that springs to the front of our list in any other place.
Today also marks the end of our time in Zimbabwe, we head back to Botswana today, just one day away from possibly the main attraction in this African leg of the trip, Chobe National Park. Up early we fight against a soddy kind of day, the rain is just clearing as we drive through town and into the falls. The mist is now no longer in the distance but rising up not so far away nearly 100m into the air at a guess, it looks like a bushfire for all money, it is difficult to perceive it as water. Raincoats and ponchos on we feel more like we’re approaching a main stage at a festival, a roaring crowd awaits us beyond a line of trees. And just like a festival we charge forward in eager anticipation of our days entertainment.
We’re kids again gracing the mosh pit of our favourite band, we’re sweating like pigs in cheap ponchos lost in a deafening roar and blissfully oblivious of the inclement weather. A few party drugs and we’d be a fake tan away from a sad cliche. It’s in this lifting festival atmosphere that Victoria Falls greets us, there’s no place to casually watch the elegance of the falls, no VIP tickets, it’s in the throb of the roar or not at all. The weather has come over again forcing our hoods tight but we don’t care, it’s hard to catch a glimpse of the ‘band’ with all the mist roaring up before us, the smoke machines of this concert block the view of the stage for the most part casting us into more of an atmosphere than a visual spectacle.
After rounding a few bends we realise that the wether is just fine, this rain is only that mist returning to earth in a deluge reminiscent of a tropical downpour. These massive falls plunge to the Zambezi directly opposing a sheer cliff just metres from where they meet the frothy water below. In such a confined space the updraft is immense, this is not mist that we’ve been seeing but tonnes and tonnes of water lofted high into the air by forces we can barely get our minds around. We catch glimpses of the falls, a flat delta of water so serene meeting a tabletop edge to dash any sense of serenity it once had. Fleeting glimpses emerge and pass in the gusting wash of water flying skyward to meet us in a few minutes, this truly is an immersive experience as we feel the falls more than we see them.
We’re soaked and battered by just being close to these mighty falls, this really is more and more like a festival mosh-pit the longer this day goes. It’s time for us to hit the road and head back, where else but in Africa would there be two elegant antelope on the path that we walk within a few metres of. The cute little bushbucks are wild but couldn’t care less about us and we’re happy to see them too. What would a festival be without a few sideshow attractions, where is the gozleme stand?
We all know the scene, wasted youth leaving a temporary fenced arena custom designed to drag out every scrap of energy and appreciation they have to give. They leave drained, bedraggled and thoroughly delighted as they make hasty plans for next years return. It’s with this worn out elation that we leave dripping wet, looking like delighted messes from the festival that is Victoria Falls. It wasn’t for music that we came but we’ve been entertained, thrilled and wrung-out in the best possible way. We might not be planning for next year but our hasty plans for a return in the low water season aren’t entirely flippant. For now we float like lost youth all over again to our next thrill, Chobe we’re on our way.