Unexpectedly, one of my favorite memories of Victoria Falls is my stop at the Lookout Cafe to see the Botoka Gorge! The Botoka Gorge is a sizeable gorge just beyond Victoria Falls, and it is absolutely stunning! We were so lucky to have stumbled across the Lookout Café!
The Lookout Cafe is a small outpost/bar right of the walking path between the Victoria Falls Hotel and Victoria Falls. This walkway is open to the public and there are signs for the Lookout Cafe halfway down the path. Dan and I decided to stop on a whim, thinking that it would just be a fun place to grab a drink! Wrong! But it was a fun place to grab a drink!
Livingstone, Zambia is a walkable town with a number of restaurants that seem tourist-friendly. On our first night, we ended up walking just down the street from our hotel to Cafe Zambezi, an Africa/Caribbean restaurant located in a strip mall! Odd mix!
While its in a strip mall, the restaurant is quite large. The front is all enclosed like a normal pub, but the back opens up to include outdoor seating! The crowd was a mix of locals and tourists, both international and African, and one could certainly meet fellow travelers here. All of the staff spoke English and were quite accommodating!
On our final afternoon visiting Victoria Falls, Dan and I decided to go all out and take a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls! As this was right after our Livingstone Island/Angel’s Armchair tour, this day was reallllly crazy!
Helicopter tours are offered from both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides of the Falls. We signed up at our hotel the morning of the tour. The helicopter tours are quite expensive, running approximately $160 a person for a 12-15 minute ride! While expensive, the views were stunning and we really enjoyed our 15 minutes!
The tour started with a transfer to the take-off site, followed by a short safety lesson. After that, it was off to the chopper (as Dan said!). Here is our trusty ride:
Note – the helicopter seats four guests, one in the front and three in the back. On our trip, it was only Dan and I and one other person, so we all got a window seat! However, if there are four people, someone will have to sit in the middle. Here is Dan in the front and me in the back!
The tour started with a fly over Victoria Falls. The pilot pointed out the relevant sites, such as Livingstone Island, and gave a bit of history. Everyone wore a headset, so questions were welcomed! Again, the views were absolutely stunning!!
After staying in the upscale and traditional Victoria Falls Hotel, Dan and I crossed the border to Livingstone, Zambia and spent two nights there! Why did we change? Well, I really wanted to see both sides of Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia!), and I really couldn’t resist the chance to see another country…Plus I had to try their local beer…Mosi Lager. Not great, not great. Zambezi from Zimbabwe was much better!
Livingstone was a much different experience than Victoria Falls. Livingstone is an actual town, where people work, shop and live. It’s not just a tourist destination. The town is located about 10 minutes from Victoria Falls, and you will need to take a cab there. The walk is not safe, due to wild animals and some shady individuals looking to rob tourists. There are a number of hostels and low-mid range hotels right in Livingstone, and quite a few very upscale hotels closer to Victoria Falls, including some with on-site animals (Royal Livingstone pictured)!
One of the most adventurous activities at Victoria Falls is swimming in the Devil’s Pool – a natural infinity pool right on the edge of Victoria Falls! When the water levels are too high, which is pretty often, Devil’s Pool is closed due to safety concerns. But have no fear, Angels’ Armchair is open for business! Angels’ Armchair is a similar pool also right on the edge of the Falls, very close to Livingstone Island. Just a tiny rope separating you from the 354 foot drop off… If you click on the pictures below to enlarge them (pictures taken from the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls), you can see people in Angel’s Armchair on the left side of the screen. We took these pictures the day before we were sitting in Angels’ Armchair. I called them crazy…
Now I don’t really like heights nor am I much of a risk taker (and Dan even less so), so you’re probably wondering how I got myself into this… Well, I really wanted to see Livingstone Island, and the tour to Livingstone Island automatically comes with a visit to either Devil’s Pool or Angels’ Armchair. Livingstone Island is an actual island right on the edge of the Falls. There it is – the island right on the edge! This picture was taken from our helicopter tour!
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