The Zambezi River is the fourth largest river in Africa with a length of over 2700 miles, and it winds its way through 6 countries before hitting the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. The ‘middle’ Zambezi River forms a 500 mile border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and this is where the amazing Victoria Falls are found.
Having such a spectacular backdrop allows for ample water based activities, and we took a sail (or a cruise) on the Zambezi Sunset Cruise operated by Bushtracks Expeditions
Following our pick up from the hotel, a short bus trip took us to the boat departure point (a dirt road with a plank accessing the water). Our waiting boat – the Victoria, was all ready to rock and roll. The crew of 3 gave us a friendly greeting, handed a ‘traditional’ welcome drink – a Pimm’s and Lemonade, before setting us under way downstream towards the mighty Victoria Falls.
We cruise down stream with a glorious sun beaming down from the rear of the boat, a sun that we are supposed to see set upon our return, but something early tells us this may not be the case with the incoming storm clouds, and even when the crew say – nature pending, we cut our expectations off there, and sit back and enjoy.
The river flows through various countries, which covers multiple game farms, nature parks etc and is home to countless animals – big and small. It is apparently possible to see 4 of the Big 5 (no Rhinos) on this cruise apparently! Our cruise saw a mass abundance of hippos at every given vantage point..often in families 20-30 or more but not a lot else.
The number of hippos was matched by plenty of crocs floating by, or lazing around as well…which always makes me think back to the question on these cruises – if you sink what do you do…attempt to float and hold onto something risking being taken down the falls, make a swim for it and risk the crocs (and hippos), or just cry?
As we head downstream the river splits into multiple channels, and the width of the river shows its awe in size. The distant mist spray can be seen from the falls to our right hand side (something I would have a photo of, if I had realised I had no memory chip in my new camera before this cruise – after taking heaps and heaps of awesome photos, none of which exist- just my iPhone ones, and mostly on the return after realising!). The spray can be seen from up to 30+ kilometres away, and was evident from the air when flying into Victoria Falls. It was the spray that Dr Livingstone, who was the first white man to discover them first saw, and thought they were a fire in the distance.
The cruise was filled with a friendly crew who simply wanted to pile as much drink into you in two hours as they could from a surprisingly fully stocked bar, and the ‘snacks’ that came with the deal where much more than expected, which was chips and nuts etc, but what we had was a constant stream of sushi, satays, beef wellington etc. This was an awesome start to our trip and a great way to see the falls from afar – we did manage to get to within around 800 m from them (and again I had some awesome photos on my camera!) but all we saw was an increased spray from the falls.
On the return we didn’t get to see the sunset, but Josh did to live his lifelong ambition and Captain the ship as we headed back upstream…so he was pretty excited.