We embarked on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, about 2 km upstream from Victoria Falls, which is a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. This provided our first view of the deep orange sunsets that this region is known for, as well as animals such as elephants and hippos.
Victoria Falls is actually a series of falls that runs down the Zambezi River gorges between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was discovered to the western world by David Livingstone in 1855. It can be viewed from either countries, but we remained on the Zimbabwean side for our trip. It has a width of 1,708 m (5,604 ft) and a height of 108 m (354 ft), which by comparison is about twice as wide and twice as high as Niagara Falls. The mist and spray from Victoria Falls can be very impressive during the rainy season (late November to early April), so much so that a rainforest lines the Falls in an otherwise arid region. Lucky for us, we came during the dry season, so while the water wasn’t as full, we were able to actually catch great views of the Falls.
It took 37-and-a-half hours from airport to airport between Portland and Victoria Falls. This included four flights and five different airports. Between Portland and Seattle, we saw the most beautiful sunset. This was also a really short flight, which made us very happy. As soon as we reached cruising altitude, we went into our descent. On the flight between Seattle and New York, we were witnesses to the aurora borealis to the north. It followed us for much of the flight. It was pretty difficult capturing it and it wasn’t as bright as I thought it would be. The longest flight was between New York and Johannesburg. Eventually, we reached Victoria Falls, which was a small airport that works manually, as in each visa had to be handwritten. It took nearly an hour to process the visas for our flight of 60 or so people.
Happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.
About three months ago, my husband, my parents and I went on a two-week trip to southern Africa. We traveled through parts of South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Our trip was a good balance of safari and famous sites. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be sharing some pictures and more details on this trip.
(Spoiler alert! The trip was amazing and we would love to go back to other parts of Africa in the future.)
This was our basic itinerary. I’ll update with links to the pages as I post them.
- Day 1-3: We traveled for about 37 hours from the West Coast of the US to get to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
- Day 4: We battled some (a lot of) jet lag. We remained on the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls because exiting the Zambia side required yellow fever vaccine documentations. We also enjoyed a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.
- Day 5-7: After Victoria Falls, we tried across the border to Botswana. We visited Chobe National Park over the next couple of days, which included a cruise and five game drives. (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Day 8: After a morning game drive at Chobe, we flew to Cape Town, South Africa.
- Day 9: We visited multiple places in and around Cape Town, including the famous Table Mountain.
- Day 10: Our day was filled with great weather as we traveled south to the Cape Peninsula.
- Day 11: We left Cape Town for Hermanus, which is the whale-watching capital of the world.
- Day 12: We got up early to go shark cage diving in Gansbaai.
- Day 13-15: We hopped on a flight from Cape Town to Skukuza, which is located within Kruger National Park. We would spend the next couple of days at Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, getting up close and personal with amazing wildlife. (Parts 1, 2, 3)
- Day 16-17: We left Sabi Sands after the morning game drive and spent another 37 hours of traveling to get back to the West Coast.