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Monday, November 7, 2011

Adventure opportunities aplenty from Victoria Falls lodges

It’s an incredibly large waterfall, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. But there’s so much more to the Victoria Falls than a wonderful sight. A safari to this special place in southern Africa where the mighty Zambezi River plunges into a gorge on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border promises lots to explore. There are thrills aplenty to those in search of adventure, and even looking at the falls can take on a whole new meaning – for example, if done from a helicopter, hot-air balloon or microlight aircraft.

For a serious adrenaline rush you can jump off the bridge – the Victoria Falls Bridge being one of the highest bungee jumping sites on the planet. You can also abseil and gorge-swing under the bridge. Whereas below the falls the river makes for relaxing river cruises, great kayaking and canoeing, and ultra-energetic pursuits including white water rafting expeditions. Plus there are hiking trails and nature walks, horseback and elephant trails as well as game drives – the Mosi-O-Tunya National Park, for example, stretches for about 12km upriver from the falls.

If you’ve never been to the Victoria Falls it’s hard to imagine how many places there are to stay at in the area – so many that you need the advice of a truly professional tour operator when making your choice. Specialists African Encounters can speak from personal experience in recommending the accommodation that they do, regardless of which country you’d prefer to base yourself in.

Recommended on the Zambian side of the falls are the Zambezi Waterfront, Thorntree Lodge, Zambezi Sun and the Royal Livingstone. And on the Zimbabwe side: Gorges Lodge, Ilala Lodge, A’Zambezi Lodge, the Kingdom Hotel (casino and entertainment centre), the Victoria Falls Hotel and the Elephant Hills Hotel (5 Star resort).

The Zambezi Waterfront, for example, is 4km upstream, right on the river banks, and fly-fishing is among the many activities they offer. Thorntree Lodge is also on the river, within the Mosi-O-Tunya Park, and the attractions there include game-viewing barge cruises.

Gorges Lodge is a fantastic retreat on top of Zimbabwe’s Batoka Gorge, 200m above the Zambezi. It’s literally perched on a cliff, and guests are limited to 20. Whereas Ilala Lodge is an understated oldie English safari lodge within walking distance of the falls and has a luxury cruise boat fitted-out in a style of generations ago.

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