The Victoria Falls and Me – A Love Story

I am the ultimate tourist. I want to see as much of famous landmarks as I am able to. To my mind destinations become tourist attractions because they are special.

During a visit to America I was impressed but not moved by the Niagara Falls. I donned the yellow raincoat and wore the little hat when I viewed the Falls up close but the commercialism and garish colours with which the falls were highlighted spoiled the sight for me.

My son changed my perception about Africa when he arranged a week-end stay for me at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I love to travel but I can’t say that I was very excited at the thought of seeing another commercialised miracle of nature.

On the last day we went to view the Falls. We trudged along a dusty road in a light drizzle where the rumbling had become thunderous and a heavy mist shrouded everything. An inexplicable excitement took hold of me as we followed one another along the edge of a gorge. There was nothing to see except trees on either side, but as we drew nearer to something, I knew I was in for an incredible experience. Be assured, no one has ever heard anything like the voice of the Victoria Falls.

Up until that moment I had seen the impressive Victoria Falls as depicted in advertisements and coffee-table books. What I experienced now as jungle-type terrain on our right suddenly gave way to something more that unleashed an intense emotion that I never experienced before, or since.

The awesome sight right there close to you in the heavy mist is overwhelming. The effect of the hugest mass of electrically- charged movement, right in your face and mind, is something you will never experience again. Your throat constricts in breath-taking excitement, your heart wants to burst from your chest. Energy pours into every fibre of your being together with an overpowering conviction that there is nothing in the world that you cannot achieve.

We just stood there in silence; paying homage to the most spectacular creation in the world. Absolutely soaked through….who could use an umbrella at a time like this? We stood there, two drowned rats laughing together from the sheer joy of it all.

And then an amazing thing happened, a rainbow beginning at my right foot stretched its way across the valley in a huge arc of coloured light and came to rest again on my left foot. Laughter silenced now we just stood there together in awe.

You will appreciate that the time spent at the Victoria Falls is a highlight in a life that has seen and experienced many things. I have so enjoyed reliving those wonderful moments. Nothing in the West or East has ever had that effect on me and, as I write of it now my heartbeat has quickened and my restless feet ache to take me back.

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