Memorable travel moments: Flight of the Angels

“A waterfall begins from only one drop of water… Look what comes from that…” Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

I love everything about waterfalls. They usually look spectacular. The sound of the water trickling over rocks or thundering into a chasm can be breathtaking. And they are fun to photograph, unless the mist is so great that your camera gets soaked. Which brings me to Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe; in short, the most amazing waterfall I’ve ever seen.

The local name for Victoria Falls is ‘Mosi-Oa-Tunya’, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’. The mist generated, from the impact of the Zambezi River plunging more than 100 metres into a chasm, can be seen for kilometres. When David Livingstone discovered the falls in 1855 he uttered, “On sights as beautiful as this, angels in their flight must have gazed.”

Today, the ‘Flight of the Angels’ is a 15-minute flight over the mile-wide Victoria Falls. This heart-stopping flight was one of my favourite experiences in Africa, followed closely by our walk through baboon-populated rainforest to the falls on the Zimbabwean side. Amid the immense water, spray and sunshine there was a rainbow. We ended up thoroughly drenched, but it didn’t matter. This was an incredible moment.

Victoria Falls

“On sights as beautiful as this, angels in their flight must have gazed.” David Livingstone

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Victoria Falls, Zambia

The local name for Victoria Falls is ‘Mosi-Oa-Tunya’, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’. It’s a fitting description. The mist generated, from the impact of the Zambezi River plunging more than 100 metres into a chasm, can be seen for kilometres. When David Livingstone discovered the falls in 1855 he uttered, ‘On sights as beautiful as this, angels in their flight must have gazed.’

Victoria Falls is one of my favourite places in the world and I have to agree with David Livingstone; it is beautiful. It’s actually the most spectacular waterfall I’ve ever seen.

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African sunsets

Matopos Hills, Zimbabwe

Matopos Hills, Zimbabwe

As the sun drops lower in the sky, I gaze out the window of the overland truck, trying to commit everything to memory. It’s my second-last day in Africa and I really don’t want this moment to end. Nor do I want my travels in Africa to be over.

The landscape surrounding us is mostly rural; cornfields stretch to the horizon, there’s a spattering of acacia trees and a couple of ramshackle huts. It’s not a particularly remarkable sight…

…but, there’s this golden light slowly working its magic… transforming that mundane scene into something truly breathtaking… changing its hue, getting progressively darker. It’s another masterpiece by nature.

Of course, sunsets and sunrises are always beautiful, no matter where they occur. But, what can I say, photographers notice the light and, for me, Africa owns the world’s best sunsets!

Here are some of my favourite photographs.

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Photo story – Lake Kariba

In canoes we silently paddle our way amongst dead trees that are emerging from the depths of the lake. Slowly the sun descends, seemingly moving faster as it approaches the horizon. Its colour is intense, as if we are watching a fireball light up the sky. There’s an orange glow enveloping the sky, which gradually turns red. As dusk takes hold, the mood is eerie. Ghost-like trees are silhouetted against a sullen red sky. It’s just another spectacular sunset in Africa, with the scene played out on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe.

The story the photo doesn’t tell…

Back then, I wore prescription glasses. I was almost blind without them. And, when we set out in the canoes I was wearing prescription sunglasses. But, once the sun set, I realised I didn’t have my normal glasses with me. This meant I was basically blind after sunset – the journey back to our house-boat, in fuzzy darkness, was an adventure in itself.