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!
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!
Dan and I stayed at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel when we visited Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The Victoria Falls Hotel is an old historic hotel located right in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The Grande Dame of Victoria Falls if you will. The nightly rates at this hotel are more than Dan and I usually spend on hotels, but I just could not come all the way to Victoria Falls and not stay here! So we bit the bullet. I thought it was quite luxurious and a worthy splurge!
The hotel is set in a dramatic location, with views of the spray from the Falls, the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Second Gorge from the main terrace. Truly stunning!!
If you have been reading my posts (and here it is again if you haven’t!), you know that Dan and I took a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River when we visited Victoria Falls. I found this tour to be extremely enjoyable, suitable for all ages and really a “must-do” when visiting Victoria Falls! The above picture was taken from the Sunset Cruise. The cloud/smoke in the background is water coming off the Falls!!
No need to book ahead of time. All accommodations in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from hostels to the fanciest hotels, offer this tour, and you can generally book it the same day. It costs about $60 US a person. Wild Horizons, who did our transfer from the Livingstone Airport to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, seems to organize the Zambezi Sunset Cruise in Zimbabwe.
We purchased our tickets around noon for the Sunset Cruise later that evening. Around 4:00 p.m. a Wild Horizons tour bus picked us and several other tourists up to head to the “port.” The bus stopped at several other hotels to pick up guests. When we arrived at the “port,” which is not much more than a boat landing, we filed down to the dock and boarded one of several boats waiting in the water. Some boats are nicer than others, and which one you get is really based on luck.
Tourists have two options when visiting Victoria Falls, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Zimbabwe or Zambia. The Falls straddle the border between the two countries, and the famous border is marked but the photogenic Victoria Falls Bridge!
Zimbabwe has historically been the tourist favorite, offering the best views of the Falls and the closest accommodations. In recent years, however, political turmoil and crazy-inflated currency have lead many tourists to visit the Falls from Zambia, rather than Zimbabwe. Dan and I decided to visit both sides and started our tour in Zimbabwe, and I much preferred to Zambia!
Old and new Zimbabwe ads! I just love travel ads!
The good news is that Zimbabwe is steadily returning as a tourist destination. The politics largely avoided Victoria Falls in an effort to keep tourist dollars flowing into the country, and Dan and I really saw no sign of it on our trip. The people were very friendly and we felt totally safe. The only lingering effect of the past troubles is Zimbabwe’s lack of currency. As of April 2015, Zimbabwe uses the US dollar.
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