HomeLeisureFalling for the Falls

Falling for the Falls

Rainbows. The Smoke That Thunders. And mopane worms. All the joys of the falls, and of Victoria Falls Safari Club.

It’s pretty disappointing, really. After years of wondering, hoping and secretly wanting to believe, I can now confirm that there is no such thing as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

That’s because, when you walk through the magnificent rainforest created by the Victoria Falls, you step through at least 20 rainbows – all tiny mirages that have come about from that awe-inspiring Smoke That Thunders, crashing down with so much energy that its spray reaches meters and meters away from the plunging plumes of water. It’s entirely magical … the kind of scene your seven-year-old self (who truly believed she would one day be able to ride a unicorn) would delight in.

But, even if it weren’t for rainbows hovering just beyond your grasp, the sheer mysticism of this place cannot be denied (in fact, one of my fellow visitors was so stirred by the spectacle that she couldn’t stop crying). More than being just a beautiful landmark, the Victoria Falls is a tribute to the power and majesty of nature. It’s impossible to look upon the streams of water, whirling and swirling into cauldrons below, and remain unmoved.

- Advertisement -

Small wonder that it was named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It seems that everything in the small corner of Zimbabwe that’s home to the Falls has a touch of the dramatic about it. The city – also named Victoria Falls – might be little more than a small shopping centre or two and several resorts clustered around a main road, but once you get beyond that point, everything seems geared towards getting your pulse racing – possibly because when you have a phenomenon that dwarfs everything else in sight (you can, after all, see the spray from the Falls skimming the horizon as soon as you drive into town), it’s natural to spend your time doing things that make you feel truly alive. That’s surely why Victoria Falls is a magnet for people who want to try everything from bungee jumping to swimming in Devil’s Pool (a hurricane of a pool on the edge of the Falls) and helicopter flips.

Personally, it takes little more than a cruise along the mighty Zambezi to get my heart racing. Probably because, when there is a hippo snapping open his great jaws in a giant yawn around every corner, it’s not easy to keep calm.

Good thing I have the serenity of the Victoria Falls Safari Club to return to. The perfect base to explore the wonders of the area, the Safari Club, located on the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate, is a luxe cocoon of comfort. It seems that every detail has been considered to make sure there is nothing you could possibly want for. There’s a table placed thoughtfully next to the giant tub (where amenities include wonderfully fragrant bath salts) so that you can put your book down once you’ve finished your soak. Mosquito nets draped over the four-poster bed to make you feel like a princess in a centuries’ old castle. Superb coffee, so that you can enjoy a steaming mug on your balcony overlooking the antelope and zebra that come to the estate’s waterhole.

The rooms even smell gorgeous, thanks to beautifully scented diffusers placed throughout, and must-haves like sunscreen and insect repellent have been provided. Truly, every single one of your senses is coddled here.

And it’s not just in the rooms, either. With every staff member at the Safari Club greeting you as if you were just the person they’ve been waiting to see, the atmosphere is irresistibly warm and friendly. This is especially true at the Safari Club’s reception area, which flows into viewing decks and the restaurant – which means that, whether you’re munching on delicate mini quiches for high tea, tucking into succulent ossobuco at the restaurant, or just taking in the sights from the depths of a comfy couch, you’ll feel just like you’re visiting the home of long-time friends.

At The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show, the mood is very different. Your first step into this restaurant feels like a visit to a traditional village. Here, there’s a soapstone carver carefully whittling away at a statue, there, a healer is waiting to tell your fortune, and in the centre of the boma, dancers stamp and sing. And all around, the aromas of fabulous dishes swirl, hinting at a kaleidoscope of flavours. My face painted and my heart given over to the beat of the drums, I had to partake in a long-standing boma tradition … sampling a mopane worm. Suffice to say that worms haven’t made it onto the list of foods I would like as my last meal! The highlight of the night is, without doubt, the drumming show. Devoid of musical talent as I am, I threw myself into percussing away like a regular Ringo Starr. It was impossible not to be carried away by the mood of the crowd – one of the moments where every face you see is lit by a giant smile, completely united by what they’re doing.

No description of the Safari Club would be complete without mention of the Victoria Falls Safari Spa, also located on the same estate. Given that even a mediocre massage feels heavenly, it’s hard to create a standout experience – but the lodge certainly managed. Each of my travel companions admitted to having fallen asleep during their massage. My favourite part? My treatment took place in a cosy thatched chalet and started with a soothing foot rub on a little viewing balcony, so that it felt like I was the only being in the world – apart from the warthog family trotting past. Absolute heaven.

Leaving the Victoria Falls Safari Club felt like being plucked from under a blanket when you are still half asleep. Leaving the town itself hurt, too – a place with so many moods and so many faces, all waiting to be explored and experienced; one glimpse makes it easy to understand why Africa is a destination that gets under your skin.

Rates are in US$, from US$228 a night BB, rates for SA therefore depends on exchange rate at time of payment. Details: +263-83-2843211 -20, [email protected], www.victoria-falls-safari-lodge.com



- Advertisement -

Must Read