Days 302,303… Victoria Falls
Day 302… The Victoria Falls are an enormous curtain of water, about a mile wide, falling 108 m into a narrow gorge below. the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 m and the falls are an impressive raging torrent. The spray from the falls can sometimes be seen from kilometres away. It’s no wonder that the local name Mosi oa Tunya means the ‘smoke that thunders’. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and it’s possible to see little islets in the river below. The sight is nothing short of breathtaking and easily as magnificent as Iguazu back in South America, toe to toe beautiful.
An interesting side note in how my whole trip is bookended. South America was organised by my aunt, so my 1st real trip was Central America followed by 2nd USA camping trip. This camping trip is 2nd last preceeds my final journey through Indonesia and Malaysia. Also… Africa and South America are of similar shape. .. weather… peoples… levels of rich and poor… Pyramids and ancient civilisations. .. abundant wildlife. .. amazing rivers and waterfalls (a literal A to Z… Amazon to Zambezi). Nice.
Now i kick back with a succulent impala steak for lunch, then i head out to do my elephant walk. I join Wild Horizons for an extraordinary and exhilarating journey along the edge of the Zambezi gorges following ancient game trails. Seated comfortably on the back of natures true “king of the beasts”, i get to experience an age old tradition whilst silently exploring the majestic grasslands of Victoria Falls National Park and marvel at the spectacular scenery. The whole adventure is much more than just a game-viewing experience, but rather a closer insight into the worlds largest land mammal, the African Elephant. Over the years Wild Horizons has become the recognized elephant sanctuary for orphaned and abandoned elephant and the herd has now grown to 23 animals, all of which are either orphaned or have been born within the herd.
On safari, the elephants are only ridden for a maximum of two hours a day and the rest of the time they are free to roam in the wild, what they call “elephant time”. Whilst in the wild they regularly encounter other animals, including other elephants, and have on a number of occasions joined up with these wild herds for short periods of time, only to return to camp of their own free will at a later stage. Two of thier females have given birth after being impregnated by wild bulls and during the time that they were being serviced they showed no inclination to leave the security of their domesticated herd and join the wild bulls.
Each day the elephants partake in a short training program, which re-enforces the bond between the handlers and elephant. The training is totally based on the American method of rewarding an elephant each time they obeys a command correctly and does not involve any beating, shouting or any other form of intimidation, so the experience is an authentic one. This is certainly up there with some of the more incredible experiences in have had on my 180 Stays and is something I won’t soon forget. Just magical.