River Club – Victoria Falls
From Kasane airport I was taken to a ferry across the Zambesi river using a small boat rather than waiting for the large vehicle ferry. Another taxi driver met me on the Zambian side and after the customs and visa formalities we continued to the River Club hotel outside Livingstone. The hotel is a largely wooden building in British colonial style with many old photographs on the walls. I was interested to see some of oarsmen in racing-eights with elephants in the river near them! This did not happen on the river Cam where I used to row in my student days. The individual rooms are distributed along the bank of the river with views also from the bathroom on a lower floor.
The big attraction of the area is of course the Victoria Falls which I went to see the next morning. During the so-called rainy season when the Zambesi is carrying most water a huge amount of spray is created which obscures the view of large parts of the falls. They can be viewed from above next to the upper river and from the opposite side of the canyon into which they fall. Here one soon reaches the spray-drenched area which includes a footbridge across part of the canyon. One can either don the plastic cape provided in an attempt to keep at least partly dry or go with a minimum of clothing and get completely wet. The water is in any case quite warm. In the dry season the falls must look quite different, although some said less impressive. I found them less spectacular and extensive than the Iguazu Falls in South America.
The next excursion departed in a speed boat from the luxurious Royal Livingstone hotel to Livingstone Island in the middle of the river above the falls. Here there was an opportunity for ‘swimming’. Rather than the quiet pool which I was expecting this turned out to be in the rapids just above the head of the falls. I ventured as far as a water covered rock at the edge of the island but no further. A young family there at the same time did however enter the water completely with the help of the two guides. We were all rewarded with a substantial and excellent lunch.