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The Vic Falls Bush Telegraph, issue 7
June 06, 2011
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Victoria Falls Newsletter
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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.
Victoria 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.
News And Events
A ZAMBEZI OPENS ITS DOORS AGAIN
The 18th of May 2011 saw the
official opening of the
completely refurbished A Zambezi
River Lodge in Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe. Local, regional and
international travel agents,
members of the press and
dignitaries gathered in these
unique and wonderful
surroundings, to be part of this
YELLOW FEVER VACCINATIONS
Early reports started filtering out that a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate was required by the South African Health department, for any traveller going to or from Zambia. This would obviously affect many of you flying into Livingstone. In typical Africa style, it was very unclear as to when this became effective, and all sorts of panic ensued. The understanding now is that these YF certificates will be required from the 1st July 2011 so if you are travelling to Zambia and then back to South Africa make sure you have a YF vaccination. They are available in Zambia and Zimbabwe at US$80 and US$50 respectively. Read our Important Newsflash page for continual updates
The proposed airport tax detailed in our last newsletter has been officially scrapped for the time being. What a relief as flights to this destination are already so high. However the Victoria Falls airport does need upgrading to accommodate larger planes as this would be largely beneficial to tourism in the area.
First goal tough would be to get Air Zimbabwe fully operational with more regional and domestic flights at a competitive price.
Dexter’s masterpiece, the ‘Global Village’, has taken him six years of work and dedication. In this mechanical wonder, animated by crankshafts, miniature sculptures bring to life scenes from everyday African life, with... read the full story
VICTORIA FALLS MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGE
29th June sees the start of this years Victoria Falls Mountain Bike Challenge, so if you haven't signed up yet, I suggest you do so very quickly. This is surely one of the most exciting three stage mountain bike events in the world. Riding through some of the most spectacular scenery, starting with a ride along the length of the Zambezi from the Botswana border to the Victoria Falls, the next day... read the full report
Victoria Falls Restaurants
In May we opened up a completely new section on Restaurants in Victoria Falls. Everyone loves to dine out but there is very little information out there on the best restaurants in Vic Falls. If you have eaten out at one of these restaurants please add a review or if you are going to the Falls you can now see all your options.
We have also added and Important Newsflash section, here we will detail any dramatic changes that can affect anyone travelling. Like strikes, vaccinations, changes to visa fees etc.
REHABILITATED WILD DOGS ARRIVE AT THE VICTORIA FALLS PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
The last week of April saw the arrival at the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve of six rehabilitated Painted Wild Dog from the Hwange Painted Dog Conservation Project.
The pack of dogs have been rehabilitated as part of the Painted Dog Conservation Project, based at Main Camp, Hwange National Park, where they have become known as the...read the full report
BIRTH OF BABY BLACK RHINOThe Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve has proudly announced the successful birth of another baby black rhino calf - an exciting milestone in this local breeding project. The VFPGR is now home to a ‘crash’ of 6 black rhino. Shungu (the big daddy) fathered... read the full story here
Follow all that's happening at the Wild Horizons Trust on Facebook
New Property for Sale
A couple of new properties have come onto the market. One that might be of particular interest to some of you is a Savanna Backpackers Lodge. This is an great opportunity for anyone wanting to get into the hospitality industry in Victoria falls... read full details on our property page
Feel free to contact us with any questions, queries, ideas or criticisms.
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Bye for now
www.victoriafalls-guide.net | Pietermaritzburg | Kwa-Zulu Natal | 3201 | South Africa