Welcome! After a long wait Easter finally delivered the tourists to Victoria Falls, with a busy couple of weeks towards the end of April. There has been a notable increase in the numbers of independent travellers exploring Zimbabwe, and this has been especially true in the weeks surrounding HIFA, the Harare International Festival of the Arts which was held in the last week of April.
Falls remains the key crossroads for people exploring southern Africa or travelling to or from the north, with many people spending at least a couple of nights, if not more, in town whilst they relax, recuperate and explore the local area.
The last weeks of April also brought some unexpected rains, with a few torrential downpours over several days. Despite these late rains, most of the grasses have seeded and died back, and flocks of small birds such as firefinches and blue waxbills are beginning to gather together for safety in numbers as they feed on the dried grass seed.
The arrival of winter has been announced with the first week of May bringing some cool evenings and chilly nights, especially towards dawn, making campers the most likely to wake up for sunrise and that hot cup of coffee. If you’re travelling in Zimbabwe during the winter months be prepared for some cold nights!
The Zambezi River remains high, although it has peaked and is slightly
dropping again. The Falls however still to roar and thunder at full force. On quiet nights loose window frames and doors rattle from the constant vibrations caused by the waterfall, despite the waterfall being eroded into solid basalt rock and the town being located on sand!
Rafting is still closed due to the high water levels, and will not reopen until the river drops, probably in another month or so. In the meantime the bunji jump and swings remain a popular alternative, along with aerial flights above the Falls, which are highly recommended at this time of year, when a visit to the rainforest often results in a solid wall of spray blocking the view of the Falls.
Our local elephants continue to enter the main town and surrounding suburbs, almost nightly, to feed in the well watered gardens of residents. Wall breaking has started again (see story in our last Newsletter) and (another late night break-in and entry here) and many sleepless hours are spent by locals trying to ward off these gentle giants from their favoured treats. Lodges in town have to warn guests of the potential dangers of bumping into elephants or buffalo if walking after dark, and a walk or bike ride along Zambezi Drive during the daytime is odds on to return a few sightings.
Elephants frequently use the corridor between the main town and the Victoria Falls Park and can often be found hanging around these areas during the day, so care should be taken even when walking along the road or footpaths! No need to pay big fees for safari game drives here, when you can walk or cycle around the local area and bump into anything from elephants to antelope!
Recently a leopard was spotted one evening on one of the residential
roads, and a couple of lucky Chobe Day trippers had one dash across the road in front of them on their way to the border. Hyeana have been seen following our resident herd of buffalo on the outskirts of town. Wild dog continue to be occasionally seen in the area (including again most recently seen on the Botswana border road).
It is this wealth of wildlife literally on our doorsteps which makes Victoria Falls such a special destination for the backpacker or traveller on a budget.