Monday, January 7, 2013

African Adventure, part 3

After lunch we loaded up, got directions to Victoria Falls, received a warning about not stopping outside the Falls because of crimes against visitors and drove back down the dirt road to the highway.  A very short distance away we could see the border crossing and off to our right side entrance to the park.

On this map we entered at the red star marked "Curio Stalls."  Where, I might add, we were certainly swept up by vendors!  Next visit we will be on to them and avoid the stalls completely.  The lodge warned us about the vendors outside the gates, but not inside!  We were able to take the trail to see #6, #5, #4.  We had no desire, though Peter being as he had already paid for a visa was tempted, to cross into Zimbabwe to see the more spectacular views.

Our first stop was to pay for parking and admission.  Tom paid, came back to the rig, and we drove to another entrance.  We were definitely not at a US National Park!  After parking we walked in a light rain to the Visitor Center.

Inside was a replica of a archeological dig (or perhaps the real thing?) with a photo display around the walls of the center.  We moved forward in time, but I suppose if you had started at the other wall you would have been walked back in time.  For the most part it was informative.

Bronze statue of Dr. David Livingstone.  
Finally, we were ready to actually enter Victoria Falls Park.  That required that we enter a small kiosk, show our tickets and exit.  Now, apparently we were really, really there.  There was plenty of signage, including several urging people not to bring in food.

Kate was our official photographer, and took well over 300 photos of just this part of our visit.  I've pared them down, and hopefully you can get a feel for how incredibly huge this area is.  As I am typing we have receiving another tropical deluge, complete with lightening and thunder.  The sound is very close to what we heard as we approached the Falls!

Just an aside, the official name in the local dialect is Mosi-ao-Tunya, "The smoke that thunders."  The Maramba River Lodge sits within Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

The trail signs were easy to spot, though low to the ground:

Our first hike was to the Eastern Cataract, and after walking a well paved trail we saw this sight:

We all agreed that this alone made all the previous aches and pains of traveling, stolen articles, flat tires,    waiting for new tires, driving on bad roads worth every minute.  

So .. rather than bore you with more of my writing join us on our hike around each part of Victoria Falls we could fit in and enjoy an armchair view of this natural wonder.

Next post, part 4 is the Upstream hike (the eastern edge of the Zambezi River.)

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