Victoria Falls + BUNGEE jumping!
If you are unfamiliar with African geography, Victoria Falls sits on the northern border of Zimbabwe and the southern border of Zambia and is part of the Zambezi River, which separates the two countries. Originally, travel to Zimbabwe was heavily restricted by Peace Corps for security reasons, but the travel ban was recently lifted so we are basically free to roam as we please. My friends Cathy, Austin, and I decided to make the trek.
We left Pretoria around 4 p.m. and arrived at the South Africa/Zimbabwe border gate around 1 a.m. I’ve never crossed an international border by foot, but apparently every border has two border gates; one to leave the country, and one to enter the next country (I feel like I should’ve known this). The land in between is pretty much no-man’s land (or in the case of the Zimbabwe/Zambia border, it’s Zim Zam).
At the Zimbabwe border gate, we ran into a problem. The visa we needed to enter the country could only be purchased in cash (and Zimbabwe uses American currency; of which we had none) and they had no ATMs at the border. When it looked like we were about to be stuck in no-man’s land forever, our bus driver loaned us the cash until we could get to Bulawayo and an ATM.
We got to Bulawayo (a city in central Zimbabwe) about 6 hours later, withdrew cash, and waited for our next bus to Victoria Falls. The 18-hour bus ride from PTA to Bulawayo wasn’t too bad because we were on an Intercape Sleepliner (the seats recline about 120 degrees) and we slept most of the way.
We arrived in Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe Sunday night, and went straight to the backpackers for food, showers, and sleep. We stayed at Victoria Falls Backpackers Lodge. It is a great backpackers and they help organize activities like sundowners and bungee jumping!
Monday, I BUNGEE JUMPED! People keep asking if I would jump again, and honestly, I’m not sure. I went back to the bridge the next day and looking down, all I could think was, “I’m an idiot, this is so freakin’ high!”
I jumped off Victoria Falls Bridge, which is over the Zambezi River, right next to the falls (see map). The bridge is between Zimbabwe and Zambia (the no-man’s land called Zim Zam I told you about). In order to cross to the other side, you need a Zambia visa. According to my research, this is one of the best/coolest bungees in the world! You can find more information about the bungee jump here.
*Through this experience, I learned that the main way I cope with anxiety is holding people’s hands*
After jumping, we went back to the Zim side to the National Park to view Victoria Falls. There are multiple viewing points, all equally wet. I was not prepared for the amount of water involved in Victoria Falls (I guess it is high season) and I wasn’t about to get my camera wet, and since my water-proof iPod died, so I only got this pic haha.
Monday night Cathy and I went on a sunset booze cruise on the Zambezi River (organized through our backpackers). Unlimited beverages, beautiful views, and cool animals… not too shabby.
Tuesday we saw the “Big Tree”. Yep, just a really big tree. But it was on the map so we went.
After we went to the “Big Tree” we trekked back to the bridge so Austin could bungee (what a follower ;P) then to the Zambia side to see more of the falls. (This time I remembered to charge my water-proof IPod for some wet pics).
Before Zim switched to American currency, the economy collapsed or something (I don’t know, ask an economist) and inflation was so bad that they had 10 TRILLION DOLLAR notes! So naturally, I bought one for 4USD and now I’m a 10 trillionaire.
Tips for travel to Vic Falls:
- Have American cash on the ready (or a ton of rand) if you plan to cross the border by car/bus/foot.
- Waterproof EVERYTHING when viewing the falls.
- Victoria Falls Town, the bridge, viewpoints, and even the Zambia side are all very walkable so renting a car or paying for a lot of taxis is absolutely unnecessary. We walked from Zimbabwe to Zambia and back again in one day.
- If you travel by bus, take a Sleepliner, it will save your life.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip (almost) as much as I enjoyed going 🙂
Have you been to Victoria Falls? Have you bungee-jumped? I want to hear about it in the comments!