Victoria Falls

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May 5th, 2002, 08:36 PM
  #1
DiDi
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Victoria Falls

We will be spending 1 1/2 days in Victoria Falls before we begin our safari. We leave this Friday, 5/10/02

Can anyone share any suggestions as to how best to plan our days so we don't miss out on the beauty of the falls & other attractions in our very short visit. We will be staying at Illala lodge (which I believe is walking distance from the falls).

I thought your idea for a waterproof camera was brilliant. Although I only own a 35mm (brand new camera) I will be purchasing 2 disposable waterproof cameras. Did you require the rain gear while viewing the falls as a result of the spray or was it inclement weather? If I may ask what time of the year were you there?

Any suggestions for traveling in that region would be greatly appreciate.

Thanks in advance.

DiDi
 
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May 6th, 2002, 05:22 AM
  #2
cjw
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soaked - when we were walking in i thought people who were coming out had gone swimming in there clothes

you will get soaked - put your passports in a plastic bag for sure

ours got soaked

i was there in late april last year
livingstone museum in zambia is nice and creepy - gets you thinking

be careful taking picture on the bridge near the border crossing - government officals don't take kindly to that

also had a great meal at this this restaurant with traditional tribal dancing you have to ask around in vic falls, zim

menu in cluded: crocidile tail, warthog, ostrich, buffalo, impala, kudos, and mopani worms

you camn also take a sunrise or sunset hotair ballon ride over the falls - good time

don't change money on the street
small US bills are best for bargining

lots of ones and occasionally a 5-- if you bring 30 or 40 dollars in singles you can buy all you want
zim dollars don't speak as loud as us greenbacks and fiding lots of small us bills can be difficult one you get there - us currency was best for us -

only change what you need in zim dollars decause no one will want to change it back and it basically becomes worthless
same with kwatcha -
just change a little at a time-for small items like soda water film etc
if you go to botswanna pula is good currency so no worries there
 
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May 6th, 2002, 09:26 AM
  #3
Liz
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DiDi-My husband and I were there in August 1999. We carried ponchos (fold up) style. Put the camers under the poncho when not using it. The mist comes from the falls and you feel it 1/2 mile away. Walking through the rain forest was very wet, but beautiful. Just go prepared with those ponchos with hoods. Very cheap and about the size of a small pack of Kleenex. We used our regular 35mm camera and it was fine. We walked the full length of the falls on Zimbabwe side. Be prepared for the visa if you fly in. They soak Americans and are quite rude at the airport to you. I would be leery about going there now after the elections but I have no foundation for that feeling. Have a great time, we LOVED Botswana. Liz
 
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May 6th, 2002, 02:54 PM
  #4
Lisa
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cjw, can you explain what you meant about Livingstone being creepy. We are going there as I hotught it would be "safer" than Vic falls.

I'd love to know the name of that restaurant? Can you rack your brain to think of it? Would really appreciate it.
 
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May 7th, 2002, 04:07 AM
  #5
cjw
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i would not know the vibe on the street in Vic falls now but there was lots of security for there are lots of expensive shops and nice hotels right in the downtown district. Plus downtown is very small so it's hard to "wander off the path"

although only in Livingstone for 4 or 5 hours we did not get a very good vibe from the people on the street. Very few tourists and lots of local people shopping and mulling around which was very intimidating.(not too many locals on the street in Vic falls)we were with 2 cab drivers- the one we hired through our hotel in Zim and the one he had arranged to drive us once we crossed the border.
one thing i will admit is we were very uneasy our first night in vic falls but by day 2 we felt quite comfortable walking on the street - perhaps this is the same way in downtown livingstone but there we lots and lots of locals on the streets unlike Vic falls. I think when traveling it takes a while to acclimate yourself to your surroundings and things that make you feel uneasy at first seem to settle down after a while. either way take a guide at first and just be carful. i am not badmouthing livingstone but you just have to trust your gut feeling
There was lots of construction activity going on near Zambia side of the falls - nice hotels and lodges being built - like 10 or 15 minutes from downtown
so perhaps since elections in Zim there will be lots of tourists in Zambia - and i am a big fan of safety in numbers

I used the word creepy to describe the museum....it just was....it like a slave museum...and the skull of supposed the oldest human right when you walk in ....but very interesting just the same..a must see

as far as the restaurant....can't help you with the name..go to the nice hotel with the casino and say you want to go to the restaurant with the show of local dancers with the real nice buffet..where they cook all the meat right out in the open...it out of town like 10 minutes...big tourist place.... like in a giant hut with a thatched roof.. excellent experience....and the food....you have to see to believe
they will know....vic falls is real small...if they don't ask at another hotel...someone will know
Good luck -be safe!

 
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May 7th, 2002, 04:18 AM
  #6
cjw
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last ting about the falls - liz was there in august which if i'm not mistaken the falls are much lower than in april or may- look at what see wrote 1/2 mile away in august - look at the people coming out -trust me no one went swimming--- they just got that way from walking on the path - be careful of your passports, and take here advice and get a poncho, your going to get soaked
 
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May 7th, 2002, 05:27 AM
  #7
local
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DiDi

We went to the Falls in Sept 2001 and you have to not to go to the Falls to miss it.

The spray from the Falls is quite something (not bad weather) so, yes, a raincoat or something is advisable. My 35mm did make it however without any problems (hidden under clothes, etc.)

If you have to travel by taxi, fix the fee before you leave. Also, don't just pay, bargain first.

The sun can be very hot so I would advise some sun lotion and maybe a small hat.

On the day that we visited the falls, the small shop only sold Fanta and Coke and no water. As it was very warm, this did not quite do it for us.

The usual warning: The Falls is a malaria area.

Check out www.virtualtourist.com/m/.135749/65/?s=ofor some photos and comments on our trip.

Hi Lisa!!

My sincere apologies for not responding earlier to your mails but the last few weeks were mere chaos. Things are a little more under control now. (The email address above is not a real one, but I will get one asap.)

You must start to get the "min dae" (few days) feeling about your trip?

For me, "creepy" is maybe a little harsh for the museum but, make no mistake, Livingstone is not a tourist town.

I assume that you will be staying at one of the Sun hotels, which are about 15 km from Livingstone, right next to the Falls. (I believe they were built there specifically due to the problems in Zimbabwe. Can't confirm the validity of this, however.) It is also close to Victoria Falls town and I am sure that the hotel would be able to provide transport there. I do not know about visas, etc.

I think the restaurant that cjw refers to is The Boma, see www.vfsl.com/html/Boma/boma-main.htm.

We did not go there as friends (not from SA) that were there did not like it and thought it was overpriced. Many people like it though. You will have to get a taxi there as it is quite far from the falls.
 
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May 7th, 2002, 03:54 PM
  #8
Lisa
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CJW thanks for the feedback.

hi Local,
Hope everything is all right. E-mail me when you get organised.
re min dae: we have so much on oour agenda between now and then that it is hard to even think about it beyond getting the logistics taken care of.

I thought that peopel were not really traveling to Vic Falls, but just our luck, there is a world conference the week we are going!

And we have to pay inflated "Rich American with dollars rates". Apparently, having a Sowth Effriken accent is just not enough.

I remember reading about The Boma Restaurant. If I'm not mistaken, it is at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.
 
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May 9th, 2002, 09:19 AM
  #9
ellen
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DiDi,I was in Victoria Falls in October about two years ago. The falls were barely falling, it was so dry. If the river is full, you will need raingear. The trading area for goods is a terrible rip-off. The traders are far more clever and experienced than you are,There is an excellent shop of local goods and crafts on one end of the street sellers area. We all enjoyed it and the prices were fair. My roomate went to the evening Folklorico show and said it was outstanding; I wish I had gone. I took the helicopter flight and it was worth every penny. She went on the Ultralight flight and loved it. Have a ball. Ellen
 
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May 9th, 2002, 07:40 PM
  #10
DiDi
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Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions and comments regarding Victoria Falls. The cultural show sounds like a must as does dinner at The Boma. Even though they may be a little touristy, I am sure we will get a lot of it.

Will let y'all know how the trip went when we return at the end of May.

Happy & Safe Trails to all who are traveling.

DiDi
 
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May 28th, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #11
jackie
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I just came back from 2 days at Victoria Falls as part of a 3 week trip and while educational, I would not recommend going for more than a day trip. We were the ONLY ones in our hotel and the Victoria Falls hotel had 20 people (out of 250 rooms) in it. The market has good things to buy but people are so desperate, we were accosted all the time and pressured to buy. Felt very uncomfortable and couldnt wait to get out of there. You cant walk down 2 feet without people begging for money or offering to change money (dont exchange your dollars at the airport where 55 Zimbabwe dollars -= 1 US dollar). Go to a service bureau (dont accept from people in the street as its fake money) and they will give out 200-250 Zimb. dollars to the dollar. At the market, they want US $ b/c they can exchange it for more in the black market.

Id avoid though. Falls are beautiful but not worth a 2 day trip right now in the current pol. situation.
 
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May 29th, 2002, 10:29 PM
  #12
alison
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anybody else have recent experience in Vic Falls? I'm planning a trip there in December not just to see the falls, but to go rafting, elephant back safari, etc., with my college age daughter in between our safari experience in Botswana and holiday in Cape Town.
 
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Jan 1st, 2003, 02:43 PM
  #13
evelyntrav
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Topping for Dreamer
 
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