A ‘must see’ near to Chobe is Victoria Falls. While the view is grand, some are not so comfortable in Zimbabwe due to political and/or economic concerns. Since the falls are on the Zambia/Zim border, an alternative is to stay and view from Livingston, Zambia. We have written about the Falls previously, but didn’t include any information on Livingston.
We are honored to have a article today supplied by Sandy Salle. A native of Zimbabwe, Sandy Salle, Chief Executive Officer for Hills of Africa Travel, was born and raised in southern Africa. She believes that the next best thing to living in Africa is sharing it with others. To learn about their African safari tours visit their website or blog.
No trip to Chobe is complete without a visit to the famous Victoria Falls. This Natural Wonder of the World lies on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, so visitors can choose to view the Falls from either country or both. With 80% of its views on the Zimbabwe side, the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe became a popular tourist destination in the early 1980s. The very sleepy town of Livingstone in Zambia, a short 10 miles away, only recently saw explosive growth as the Victoria Falls tourist base- mostly in response to an aversion to visit the country of Zimbabwe.
No matter which side you choose to view them, Victoria Falls is a must see. Picture Niagara Falls twice as tall and twice as wide, and you still won’t be prepared for the spectacle of Victoria Falls. At a point where the mighty Zambezi River is one FULL mile in width, the water hurls itself over a giant, 300 foot cliff, creating the largest curtain of falling water in the world. With the old world charm still found in this lovely town of Livingstone, it’s a great base from which to enjoy all the activities this area has to offer.
Livingstone deserves at least 3 days in a visit because of all the great things to do. For the adrenaline seekers, this is Africa’s undisputed adventure capital with renowned white water rafting, thrilling bungee jumping, hippo dodging, canoe trips, helicopter flights over the falls, and…the list goes on.
For the animal lover, there are some really special encounters with wildlife, like visiting a research project for re-introducing lion cubs into the wild, or an elephant back safari. You can also interact with the locals by visiting an orphanage and getting your fill of beautiful smiles. Of course, you can’t miss the Zambezi River’s best activity of all, the sunset river cruise, complete with gin-and-tonic in hand.
Top 5 activities to enjoy while on an African family safari trip to Zambia’s Victoria Falls and Livingstone:
1. Historical Tour of the Falls: It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sight, the sound, the humbling feeling that here indeed is Nature’s Supreme Masterpiece. No photograph can begin to depict the reality and nothing prepares you for the first sight. The guided tour by a historian is important because it’s impossible to understand a country or continent without knowing something of its past. Africa has a rich tapestry of history and the area around Victoria Falls is no exception. On this tour, you will discover how the Victoria Falls were formed, the culture and traditions of the people who have lived in the land anointed by its mists, how the environment shaped these aspects of their heritage, and follow through to the story of David Livingstone’s exploration and discovery of the falls as the first European, then the years of colonization that followed and finally liberation. This tour de force will give you a breathtaking insight to the sweeping history of Africa and how it has shaped the destiny of a continent.
2. Walk with Lions: On this activity, you will visit with lion cubs at an ongoing research project which is a captive breeding program to safeguard the genetic diversity of Africa’s greatest carnivore. The adult lions have been rescued from all parts of the world and were never introduced to the wild. They are treated and introduced to their new dwelling and once established, the adult lions are bred. Then, the cubs are reared and introduced to the wild, to one day be released. Part of the re-introduction is walking in the bush, on a daily basis. On this activity you will join a professional guide in the national park, while he walks with his cubs. Feed back from this activity has been phenomenal.
3. Elephant Back Safari: Game viewing from the back of an elephant is a totally different perspective than from the seat of a vehicle. The reason? The wildlife you encounter while on the back of an elephant do not see you – they see the elephant and react to you like they react to an elephant. For the most part, they are not fearful at all, so it’s really fascinating. The elephants involved in this activity are all orphans who have been rescued from the wild and trained from a very young age. Over the years they have formed a very close bond with their handlers. They are saddled with custom built saddles for their comfort and the twice daily excursions form an important part of their daily routine.
4. Visit to Ebenezer Children’s Home and School: HIV and Aids pose the single largest threat to development in sub-Saharan Africa. It is calculated that 30% of adults living in this region are currently infected and the biggest challenge is coping with the number of orphans that are left behind. Ebenezer Child Care is an inspirational place of hope where a handful of dedicated people are working heroically to make a difference. On this tour, you will meet a person you may never forget – Mrs Chapatti, one of the founders of the trust, who has given everything she has to saving these children. In her humble manner, she will take you on a tour of the establishment and the school. At the school, you will meet the children, with their big, beautiful smiles, the teachers and find incredible perspective on your own life.
5. “Flight of Angels”: Helicopter Flight over Victoria Falls: As David Livingstone said, Victoria Falls is “a sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight.” He was not lucky enough to witness them from this vantage point, but you are! This is a must do activity. The Flight of Angels is a 15 minute helicopter scenic flight over the Victoria Falls and it’s an exhilarating experience offering great views and incredible photo opportunities.
Thanks to a network of diverse eco-systems, visitors to Zambia can experience an extensive amount of adventurous activities, and observe a surplus of animals and flora indigenous to the area.
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