Today, like every wonderful day of our journey while road tripping around Namibia, starts with coffee on our verandah. It’s a peaceful experience considering the size of the hotel, with our view of the landscaped gardens enhanced by a pair of nibbling warthogs.
We stroll along the river to breakfast at the river-facing restaurant where we satisfy our morning hunger on a fry up before the day’s activities commence. It’s hard to tear ourselves from the sublime views, but we came to see Victoria Falls and need to get there before the masses.
The Rainforest Area of Victoria Falls National Park opens at 6 am, which is the best time to enjoy it in solitude, but we arrive around 8, and the crowds are still pretty thin. A row of raincoats greets us in the parking lot. It’s an odd sight on a perfectly sunny day, but we take the hint and suit-up.
This turns out to be a good idea. As soon as we enter the sightseeing area, there’s a constant fine mist in the air and every tree drips with evidence of how close we are to the Falls themselves. We amble numerically from the Livingstone viewpoint to the Bridge Viewpoint at our leisure, egged on by increasingly picturesque sights at every one.
Victoria Falls is no ordinary water feature. Pictures don’t provide an accurate depiction of how immense, violent and loud this chasm in the earth is. Our ongoing reverie is interrupted by the realisation that we have a lunch booking at The Lookout.
Lunching and looking
This restaurant, perched on the edge of Batoka Gorge has some of the best views in town. We can see the bridge from here as well as the rushing waters far below us. The menu is vast and tempting but we decide on fish and chips Victoria Falls-style with Zambezi bream, salad and chips. The food is as good as the view.
Now and then a helicopter appears, ferrying sightseers around for an aerial view of the Falls, and the exhilarated screams of bungee jumpers drift by on the breeze. There’s no such thing as a quiet day in this neck of the woods.
We are pleased that we have settled for an afternoon game drive instead of these rather costly and (to my mind) terrifying excursions. Hundreds of others visit here to find the ultimate thrill playing in and above these raging waters on ropes, boats and aircraft. It’s the only destination in Africa that can give Swakopmund a run for its money adrenalin-wise.
Zambezi National Park sightings
To fit in with our timing, we have opted for a self-drive tour of the Zambezi National Park. We don’t have our hopes pinned on amazing sightings at this time of day, but it’s a bucket list item that needs a tick.
The park entrance is a few kilometres upstream and since we’re travelling outside of peak hours, we get to explore a lot of the park during our afternoon trip. The Chindu and Sansimba Loops deliver with sightings of buffalo and elephant as well as waterbuck, hippos and crocs. We consider ourselves lucky to see sable and eland along with the usual variety of plains game like giraffe, kudu and zebra.
We return for our second night to Á’Zambezi Lodge, satisfied with our day’s explorations and settle in at the cocktail bar to watch the sunset over the river before dinner. During dinner we are lucky to catch sight of Sebastian, the local hippo, emerging for his nightly sustenance along the river bank.
Follow our adventurers as they bid farewell to the mighty falls on the Boiling Point Hike – ending off with a splash and a slow amble back up the gorge before their last evening meal at A’Zambezi Lodge.
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