Zimbabwe, Africa

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Click on the above photo to watch the video.

TUCKER- Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is a really cool place. While we were there, we stayed at a great Airbnb. It had a pool, two bedrooms, and a fully stocked kitchen! We also played monopoly and mom won. We were close to an amazing restaurant named Reynaldo’s. They served pizza, delicious ice cream, and drinks. By the restaurant there was a grocery store with everything we needed. After we settled in, we took a short river cruise on the Zambezi River. We saw alligators, hippos, monkeys, and elephants. It was a really fun and a great experience. The mist was so strong, that we could see it from the river cruise. The next day, we saw the falls and they were beautiful. There were hundreds of streams pouring out over the valley. Nearby the falls, there is a restaurant called The Lookout Cafe. It’s named this because it looks over the valley where the water from the falls goes. This cafe had good food like yogurt parfaits and delicious drinks. However, there was an even better part to the cafe. It had a zip line and giant swing into the valley. Mom and dad would not let us do the giant swing. The swing was a massive elastic rope that had you jump over the edge of the cliff and into the gorge. However they did let us do the zip line which was over four hundred feet long. It was really fun. Next we had a traditional Zimbabwean dinner at Mama Africa and went home. We had a great time and enjoyed our stay. This is what we did at Victoria Falls.

AVA- Zimbabwe was full of adventures. The first day we got there we went on a sunset riverboat cruise, and saw so many animals. There were elephants just casually walking next to the river, and hippos on the water where locals were washing their clothes! The sunset was also beautiful of course. We met a nice couple from New Jersey while skimming the water. The next day we were eating at a restaurant called the Lookout Cafe, and watched as someone went on a 400 foot long zip line. After much convincing, we finally persuaded mom and dad to consider doing it! I know. I couldn’t believe it either. The next morning we were at the same place getting harnessed up to zip line! It’s the first waiver I have signed by myself. I only got scared when I was watching the others go. It was a total blast! You feel like you are flying. The zip line is over a huge gorge that has been carved out by the Zambezi river. It was a beautiful view to take in, and something I will never forget. We went to the falls of Victoria Falls early in the morning to catch sunrise, and it was 100% worth it. The falls are absolutely gorgeous. It is hard to comprehend how much water is really there. Dad says a long time ago he river rafted at the bottom of those very same falls, and I feel we are lucky to have him here today. Zimbabwe was a lot of fun, and I also learned a lot about the culture of Zimbabwe as well. Enjoy the video!

CARMEN- Going to the town of Victoria Falls was so fun. The first night we were there we went on a river cruise and saw elephants, hippopotamuses, monkeys, and crocodiles. On another day we went to tour Victoria Falls, it was so beautiful. Our guide took us to all the best photo spots. By far my favorite thing we did there was the 425 meter zip line across the falls. I don’t even know how we got our mom to let us do it, but I’m so glad we did. Going on it was amazing and exhilarating. When Tucker went down he screamed so hard (on purpose) and it sounded like a dying warthog. That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

TERESA- I have to be honest, I did not know what to expect in Zimbabwe. As we exited the airport in Victoria Falls, goats roamed in the yard and the air was hot and dry. Another adventure afoot. The host at our rental was very kind and explained that before we walk out of the tall corrugated gate to leave the property, we should look in the street for elephants and water buffalo. Also, she mentioned casually, a lion killed a water buffalo a few streets away so maybe don’t walk alone at night or in the early morning. Okay, sure. 

We were only in Victoria Falls for 5 days, but we had quite a few pre-planned activities. Below is some information on the tours we chose:

Transportation – Afro Dawn Safaris – our transportation was arranged through this company and they provided us with rides throughout our stay. Isabel even took me grocery shopping late the night we arrived. Paul provided most of our rides and we had some of our favorite conversations with him over lunch, learning about what life is like for people living locally.

Private Sunrise Tour of Victoria Falls – Cuckoo Safaris – We got up early to take a hike and see the sunrise at Victoria Falls. We had a great guide, Simon, who spent a lot of time talking with the kids. Actually, they were trying to talk him into a visit to Kansas City! The falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was magnificent. The walk took us to different points along the trail for views of the Zimbabwe and Zambian side. I am thankful that we got there early, both for the heat and the crowds. Of note, there is a $30 per person park entry fee I was not expecting. 

Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi – Although my sister, Kim, warned me against going on the Zambezi due to a reported slew of videos on YouTube of hippo attacks, we managed to take a safe cruise. :). Actually, this ship was large and beautiful, a perfect way to spend our first evening in Victoria Falls. We traveled into Zambia during the cruise which was exciting. From the boat, we saw a lot of hippos, elephants on the island, crocodiles, and baboons. True enough, I would not have wanted to be in a canoe or kayak! 

Wild Horizens Zip Line – Right next to the Wild Horizons Lookout Cafe (Highly recommend), you can view fools flying across the zip line or taking the swing over the Zambezi River. Claimed as the longest zip line in the world, 425 meters across the gorge and 120 meters up, this ride is ridiculous. So, the kids wanted to do it and Dan thought it was a good idea. I went first to test the line and when it held for me, I enjoyed watching the rest of them fly away into the trees on the other side of the gorge!

Special thanks to Kathy from Acendas Travel for making such great arrangements for this leg of the trip!

I am really glad we decided to add this particular journey. It allowed us to see another part of Africa and talk with people about their culture and experiences. This area relies on tourism and was devastated during Covid. Two of the individuals we met had to return to their villages to work, one in the mines and the other in farming. Unemployment in Zimbabwe is soaring and the currency has collapsed. No one uses the banks because it is not safe to put their money in and be sure they will get it back. American dollars are used in Zimbabwe but they were willing to accept almost any international currency. It has been very interesting and often sad talking with people around the world about their experiences during the height of the pandemic. Tourism to this area is slowly returning and the people we spoke with there were happy to have their jobs back. We were thankful to be there.

DAN- In Victoria Falls the economic hardship was as visible as the beauty of the environment. More than any place we had been to on the trip to this point we experienced the extreme challenge that covid had caused. Severe unemployment, crippling inflation to the point that Zimbabwe’s own currency was no longer accepted, and many stories of hardship. 

All that said, people spoke of dreams for the future; weddings, businesses, regional development – how can one not be amazed by the resiliency of people. 

Oh, and it was incredibly beautiful and fun with wonderfully helpful and inspiring people.

4 thoughts on “Zimbabwe, Africa

  1. You all are a very “gutsy’ family and I am proud of it. Thank you for sharing all this beautiful information Dad-grampa-FIL.

  2. Thanks for sharing this once in a lifetime experience! I will never forget the spectacular falls and the zip line. Praying for an economic recovery and renewed health of the people of Victoria Falls and Zambia. Aunt Jan

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