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Victoria Falls Bridge Tour
Truly a Wonder of Victorian Engineering
Victoria Falls Bridge and Steam Train
The Cape to Cairo railway line was the vision of English-born businessman, mining magnate and politician Cecil John Rhodes. The Railway line pushed northwards at incredible speed but the Zambezi Gorge presented a huge natural barrier that they had to overcome if it was to continue on towards Cairo (Egypt).
The Victoria Falls Bridge built
1904-5 was to span this gorge. It was designed by Mr. George Hobson of Sir Douglas
Fox and Partners. At the insistence of Rhodes it was to be positioned so
that the spray from Victoria Falls would fall on the carriages as they crossed
over the bridge.
In May 1903 Rhodesia Railways awarded the contract for the construction of the bridge to The Cleveland Bridge Company of Darlington, England, for a price of £72,000 pounds sterling. The entire bridge was fabricated in Darlington, England and then shipped in parts to the port of Beira, Mozambique and then transported by rail to Victoria Falls.
It is one of the many outstanding achievements - that the bridge, built in England, could be fitted together so perfectly more than 8,000km away in the heart of Africa.
This is just a snippet of the history surrounding this bridge and how it was built, so early in the 1900's. At the time of it's construction it was the highest railway bridge in the world.
The Historical Bridge Tour unveils the whole history in an unusual and entertaining way and even if you weren't interested before, I would dare to say you will be afterwards.
The Victoria Falls Bridge Tour Begins...
You are collected from your hotel and transferred by vehicle through customs and immigration to the Victoria Falls Bridge Visitors Centre. After registration, the tour begins.
It starts with a very entertaining performance by an actor impersonating Mr Georges Imbault who was the chief engineer during the construction of the bridge (and also responsible for the Syndey Harbour Bridge in Australia).
This show last about 45 minutes as he regales stories of how and why the bridge was constructed, the enormous problems they encountered and how they overcame them. It's enthralling and fascinating.
After this is finished an informative guide shows you around the Visitors Centre, where information and pictures of the Bridge's history is displayed. This visual part of the tour enhances what was mentioned in Georges Imbault's theatrical presentation.
There is plenty of opportunity to ask any questions you might have. You will more likely than not, now be engrossed and fascinated by the history of the Bridge.
After the Visitors Centre walk is completed, there is an “optional” physical under the Bridge tour, where you get the rare opportunity to walk on the catwalks used in the original construction of the Bridge.
After a short safety briefing and the donning of a safety harness by which you attach yourself to safety ropes under the bridge, you are then led on a guided walk underneath the bridge which gives you a real opportunity to marvel at the Bridge's construction.
Once back at the Visitors Centre you have the opportunity to enjoy wandering around on your own for approximately 30 minutes before heading back to your respective pick up points.
The onsite thatched Bridge Cafe and Bar offers tasty burgers, a cold drink and respite from the baking sun. It overlooks the spectacular Zambezi gorge and you can enjoy watching the more adventurous throw themselves off the bridge doing Bungee, Bridge slide or Bridge swing. Of-course there's a shop with a selection of Clothing and Memorabilia to say you've done it.
There are 2 tours scheduled per day with approximate pick up times being 10h00 and 14h00. All Trips include courtesy transportation to and from all major lodges/hotels in Victoria Falls.
The Bridge is considered "No Mans Land" and therefore it does not count as an exit or entry into the country, therefore it does not affect your entry visa status.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Victoria Falls Bridge Tour and feel no trip to the Falls is complete without it.