Jul 022013

Having a few days off, with nothing to do, has resulted in me getting the photos I have to process organized. A lot of the photos I’ve released from my last trip to the Victoria Falls were taken under tricky conditions. I was surrounded by swirling mist which soaked both me and my equipment and obscured my view of the falls, making everything blurry and flat. I got clear shots the first time I was there, but there wasn’t much water about.

This picture, is actually of the first view of the falls you see when you enter from the Zambian side, but it was the last picture I took that day. Apparently, I’d figured out how to deal with the mist by this point. I think I’d gotten more patient, waiting for the mist to clear before clicking the shutter. Looking at the shots I took just before this one, I think I’ve got some more clear images to come.

The Victoria Falls at high water framed by surrounding lush green plantlife

Feb 212013

As you drive from Livingstone to the Victoria Falls, there’s a moment, before you get there, where you can see the mist reaching for the sky directly ahead of you. When you enter the park, before you feel the mist, you can hear the falls roaring in the distance. Before you can see the falls, you feel the air get moist and see the mist swirl around you as you pass the gate. Then, you stop, and your jaw drops as you see the massive curtain of water tumbling into the rift stretching ahead of you. But, this is just the beginning. The gorge continues on and on as you continue to walk. Eventually you reach the end of Zambia, totally soaked to the skin, camera gear screaming for mercy, and the curtain of water disappears into a cloud of mist where it crosses the border to Zimbabwe.

It was at this point that I stopped and watched three tourists, far more prepared than me, with a guide and ponchos, gaze upon what is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Four tourists in ponchos view the Victoria Falls waterfall in the Batoka Gorge surrounded by swirling mist


Feb 042013

My first trip to Africa was entirely inspired by a forwarded e-mail showing people swimming in the Devil’s Pool right on the edge of Victoria Falls. In order to do this we had to go at low water, which was an incredible experience. However, I can safely say that a return at high water was necessary to truly appreciate the grandeur of the falls.

Where you can see the fall in this picture is where we walked across the last time we were here, it was bone dry. This time, mist swirled everywhere and it didn’t take long for me to get completely soaked.

A rainbow arcs across Victoria Falls and the Livingstone bridge at high water in Zambia

Nov 262012

I’ve been talking with my travel buddy a lot today about our future plans. We’re confident that we’ll be going to Livingstone and the Victoria falls. This will be my second visit and her first. As you may be aware the last time I was there I went swimming in the Devil’s Pool. As it turns out, it looks like the water levels will still be low enough when we get there for us to take a dip atop the falls. I am very much looking forward to watching the look on her face as she takes the plunge.

With that in mind, I thought I’d post a picture capturing what we’re likely to see as we make the walk to the Devil’s Pool. Last time, this beautiful double rainbow greeted me shortly before we prepared to swim across the top of that waterfall to the Devil’s Pool. When I hung my head over the edge and looked down from the Devil’s Pool I realized that rather than a double rainbow there was actually a triple rainbow in the swirling mist. Next time I’m there I hope to get down to the falls for some sunrise/sunset shots.

A double rainbow in the mist of the Victoria Falls waterfall in Zambia


Nov 072012

The Victoria Falls during the dry season was an incredible experience. The gorge ripped open by the force of the Zambezi was clearly on display. We were able to walk across the top of the falls to swim in the Devil’s Pool and hang our heads over the edge, and I was able to take this photo of the rainbow born of the spray from the torrent just around the corner.

I enjoyed my time there so much that I’m planning on going back in January. This will give me the chance to experience the full power of the falls as it will be during the wet season. I’m also hoping to coordinate my visit with the full moon in the hope that I’ll get to see the lunar rainbow.

View of the Victoria Falls, Zamabia during the dry season with a torrent of water and a rainbow between the gorge.

Feb 202012

Victoria Falls at low water lets you really explore the falls. They have a real untouched feel about them. On one side there’s a simple path leading you past views across the Batoka Gorge. On the other side you can leave the path to walk across the top of the cliffs. There’s nothing to stop you walking right up to the edge, as you can see in this picture.

I’ll be visiting Niagara Falls in March and wonder how it will compare. I’m expecting a lot more attention to be paid to safety, distancing you from the falls. I’m also expecting there to be buildings visible all around the falls. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’ll certainly make for great photos either way.

Victoria Falls at low water showing Batoka Gorge in Zambia.

Feb 052012

This is where the hike to the Devil’s Pool at the top of the Victoria Falls becomes a swim. The pool is located just on the other side of this waterfall. To get there, you have to swim up-stream against the current and then across. There’s a rope strung across in case anyone should succumb to the force of the water. Fortunately, it’s not actually a particularly difficult swim.

Victoria Falls at low water in route to Devils Hole with a double rainbow in Zambia


Jan 072012

This is another shot from Victoria Falls. We came across this, the Angel’s Armchair, on the way to the Devil’s Pool. During higher water, when you can’t swim in the Devil’s Pool, people swim here. They jump off the rocks to get in. Water would be flowing down into it from above and then tumbling over the edge. In the distance you can see the bridge that joins Zambia and Zimbabwe. The river is the border.

This bridge is a bungee jumping site. When we went rafting we had one solo traveler join us who happened to be in the same hostel. The day after rafting, upon returning from our elephant back safari, we sat down for a beer. Two seconds later the guy we’d been rafting with the day before burst in. Now, this individual was pretty chilled out the day before when facing category five rapids. At this point though, he was jittery and speaking in rapid fire asking if we’d had a good day, what we’d done etc. and not waiting for an answer. He ended this delirious monologue with, “I need a beer. Anyone need a beer? I’m gonna get a beer.”

After he returned from the bar, still sporting his wild eyes and jittery demeanor, we managed to get out of him that he’d just been bungee jumping. He was definitely still buzzing and stayed that way for an hour or so. We left him at the bar to explore the curio market in Livingstone and returned an hour later. He was no longer there. Apparently, he’d hung around for another half hour then suddenly crashed and gone to bed. It was 3 in the afternoon. He reemerged at 10pm. I think he’d had a total adrenaline overload.

Speaking of rafting, if you click this image to go through to my portfolio, then click it again and select the “O” size you’ll be able to zoom in and see a group of people preparing to go rafting from the Zimbabwe side.

View of he Angel's Armchair on the way to Devils Hole at Victoria Falls showing a bridge used for bungee jumping.


Dec 272011

The Victoria Falls are incredible. My friends and I were inspired to plan our recent trip to Africa, which included Cape Town, Zambia and Rwanda by a viral e-mail we received showing pictures of people swimming in the Devil’s Pool at the top of the falls. In order to do this we needed to visit during the low water season. The benefit of going in this season extends beyond swimming in the Devil’s pool. As a result of the low water we were able to walk across the top of the falls – providing multiple photo opportunities. That being said I do feel a need to return at high water to get the full experience of the Mosi-oa-Tunya (the native name for the falls meaning “the smoke that thunders”).

The below picture was taken on my second visit to the falls and left me with a huge adrenaline rush. I’m not a big fan of heights, and certainly not the 108 meter drop I was facing here. Still I decided that I needed to lower myself down onto this outcropping of rock to photograph this portion of the falls, which I believe is called the angel falls. Once reaching the ledge I stayed seated, gradually edging closer and closer to the edge, sliding my camera, and tripod ahead of me. The most nerve racking part was taking my lens cap off, I had already dropped a lens cap at the top of the falls on my first visit. It rolled within a foot of the edge – a very tense moment for me. I would not have been allowed this leeway with the spot I was in here. In hindsight, I really should have taken off all my loose bits and secured them before moving out to the edge.

In the middle of the picture you can see the area called the boiling pot. I’ll be posting another picture of this area in the near future. It’s from just below this point in the river where rafting trips start, on the category 5 rapids of the middle Zambezi.

View from the edge of Victoria Falls, Zambia during low water season showing the boiling pot of churning water next to angels armchair.