Zoom Off To Zambia

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Zambia beckons the intrepid adventurer; those who want to step off the conveyor belt of busy tourist destinations.

Land of the legendary African walking safari, earth's biggest waterfall, the wild Zambezi River, breath-taking lakes and wetlands, a profusion of birds, abundant wildlife, and raw, pulsating wilderness, all in one friendly country. Acknowledged as one of the safest countries in the world to visit, Zambia is the real Africa.

The Victoria Falls, described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ - ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ and in more modern terms as ‘the greatest known curtain of falling water’, they are a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as 546 million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, at the height of the flood season, over a width of nearly two kilometers into a deep gorge over 100 meters below. The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges.

Facing the Falls is another sheer wall of basalt, rising to the same height and capped by mist-soaked rain forest. A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor who is prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls.

One special vantage point is across the Knife edge bridge, where visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge. Other vantage points include the Falls bridge and the Lookout Tree which commands a panoramic view across the Main Falls.

"The first impression was unmistakable; immense power, the raw energy unleashed when the entire Zambezi leaps wildly into a black two kilometer wide abyss. The scale is massive, the spectacle spellbinding and perpetually changing. The falls hiss and roar as if possessed, they rumble and crash like thunder. Vast clouds spew and billow out from the seething cauldron of its dark impenetrable depths. The moving water creates a magnetism that sucks you closer, so that you recoil in horror to quench a subliminal sacrificial urge." (Jumbo Williams, Zambezi, River of Africa. 1988).

The Victoria Falls Bridge was commissioned by Cecil John Rhodes in 1900, although he never visited the falls and died before construction began, he expressed his wish that the "railway should cross the Zambezi just below the Victoria Falls. I should like to have the spray of the falls over the carriages."

The bridge affords a magnificent view both down the gorge on the one side and through to the falls on the other. The immense depth of the gorge can be fully appreciated from this perspective and combined with the sea green river below, the shiny black rock face and lush green foliage, the 360 degree view from the bridge is breathtaking.

Besides the spectacular Falls, there's the astonishing wildlife of South Luangwa National Park, home of the legendary walking safari and one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries on the continent.  See the graceful lechwe antelope filling the vast plains of Busanga and Bangweulu in their tens of thousands and the annual wildebeest migration of the Liuwa Plains which rivals the Serengeti. 

For those who enjoy adventure, Zambia has plenty of adrenalin pumping pursuits including white-water rafting, bungi jump off Victoria Falls Bridge, fishing, river surfing, canoeing, skiing, diving, elephant back safaris and gorge swinging.

For further information on Zambia visit the Tourist Board at http://www.zambiatourism.com/ or Zambian Safaris at http://www.zambiansafari.com/Zambia.htm

Images reproduced courtesy of the Zambia Tourist Board.

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