Finally viewing Vic Falls and microlites flights

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Woke up for what was to be a big day. Vic Falls viewing followed by an afternoon microlite flight.

Vic Falls had been high on my itinerary of must dos since starting my trip, infact since I was young and had seen some of the fantastic paintings and photos of it.

I was blown away by the sight that first greeted me, it was the sort of place that sends shivers down your spine. I think I spend my first 10 minutes just glued to the spot staring in awe.

I walked up to the place just where the river meets land and the falls start to cascade down. From here you got some nice views of some pretty rainbows kicked up by the waters spray and get some idea of how much water is coming over the falls. Next I walked along a section of trail called the knifes edge that crosses right in front of the falls. There was just a phenomenal amount of spray along here it was just like India in monsoon season and everyone, rain jacket or not, was soaked through to the skin.

We walked down to a spot at the bottom of the falls on the Lower Zambezi, called the boiling pot. Here you get some idea of all the water that is coming over the falls and getting forced through this small channel creating a whole host of currents and whirlpools in the river. From here we could see the people doing their 110 ft bungee of the Victoria Falls bridge and also the jet boaters as they shot up and down the river. The last trail I took was along the top towards the bridge where there were some more great long distance perspectives of the falls. What a fantastic place.

Spent time doing some more research on Botswana and Namibia and found out they were hellishly expensive and almost impossible to get around as a solo traveller. Despite all I'd said 2 days earlier I was contemplating signing up for an overland tour to get me down to Cape Town.

It took 2 phone calls that afternoon to get the guys from the microlite place to come and pick me up. Apparently they'd forgotten about me. This ended up working in my favour as I was the last microlite going out and I ended up getting the sunset trip.

I have to say, the microlite trip was one of my favourite things so far. I sat up from and behind the pilot, unfortunately they wouldn't give me the controls for some reason! He was a German fellow who had been in Africa for the last 12 years ever since he travelled through when he was younger on his motorbike and just loved the place and decided to stay.

It was a bit of a shaky take off, but once in the air, the machine felt pretty stable. The route took us high above the falls for a birds eye view of the fall and what was a great perspective.

In front of the falls we could see 7 zig zag gorges showing where the falls had been in previous generations and how they had moved backwards. We could see a new gorge forming in the existing waterfalls that would be where the falls got moved back yet another step.

The falls themselves are a mile wide and 108m high. At this time of year the waterflow was at it's peak, and although hard to mentally visualise the 8 million litres of water per second that fell over the top, it looked and seemed an awful lot.

Flying back up the Zambezi we could see elephants, hippos in the water and impala from the sky. At the same time the sun was just dipping below the horizon.

I spent a worthwhile $20 on a CD full of photos, taken from the camera that is attached to the end of the wing and faces back in towards the engine. On the ones that I'm looking at the camera, you can see the grin, like that of a Cheshire cat, that didn't leave my face for the whole flight.

That night I ended up getting dragged out with a bunch of people I knew who had just got back fro the booze cruise. A bit of a heavy drinking night and I don't think got home until the early hours. One poor young gap year student managed to get robbed at knifepoint on the way home - His third time in Africa!
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