Still on our quest to see more of our continent, my #SAfricansTravelToo friends and I ventured off to the much talked about, Victoria Falls. As with all our trips, we did not go at it alone, but we partnered with Fastjet Airlines and Avani Hotels & Resorts to help make our trip memorable.
Having heard of FastJet and their aim to be pioneers in making travel through east and southern Africa reliable and accessible, we reached out to them to ask if we could try them out for our trip to Vic Falls and we were happy when they agreed to come on board.
They did not have a direct flight to Victoria Falls from Johannesburg on our dates, so we had to fly via Harare and then connect to Vic Falls. And it just so happened that our trip was around the time of #MugabeMustFall so it was interesting to be there at that time. It was quite surprising though that as much as there were marches and everything going on in Harare, the airport was super quiet, and it was business as usual.
So a bit about Fastjet: Their model is based on Easyjet's model, which means they allow you the option to choose pay-as-you-travel extras. If you won’t be carrying a suitcase, you don’t need to pay for it and if you’re happy to only be assigned a seat at check in, you don’t need to pay a pre-assigned seating charge, and they offer flexibility that promises to save you money and time.
Fastjet currently fly to the following destinations:
We had a good experience with FastJet, there isn't much to expect really, all low cost airlines promise is to get to you to your destination safe, without any frills and that's what we got.
Oh Avani!! Where do I start! Should I start with the fact that the hotel is literally a 5 minutes walk from the Vic Falls? And that as a guest you have unlimited access, meaning you could sit and stare at the falls all day? Or should I start with these Zebras that are lazily strolling about, everywhere you turn?
Or talk about the friendly staff at the hotel? I don't know where to start, all I can tell you is that we were received so warmly at the hotel, and having spent time at the Avani in Lesotho, there seems to be a common thread of warmth and genuinity in the people they employ.
The hotel driveway...
This is where the 5 minutes walk from the hotel will take you... to view the falls.
..we unfortunately visited during their Dry Season so there were no "waterfalls" to see on the Zambia side...
Victoria Falls is ranked as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world and they lie in between Zambia and Zim. The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe and they are 1.7km wide and 108m high.
But we didn't let that get us down... instead, we went to where there was definitely water: Zambezi River for white river rafting!!!!! *insert scream*
Guys, we went river rafting in the Zambezi river and it was the best thing about the trip. We did the half day option, it was the scariest experience but also the BEST! Just make sure you take a GoPro camera with you, and don't be like my friend, Papi, who forgets the camera in a bag!!! I wanted to strangle him, when I saw all the wonderful photo opportunities we missed along the way. Thanks to Bushtracks Africa for the images we managed to get.
...and no, don't worry about not being able to swim, you will still come out of this alive lol. I mean, I did. The Rapids were absolutely amazing, and they had names like Devil's Toilet Bowl or Boild and Stairway to Heaven, they really named them to make you believe death is coming but shem they were super fun! Though I closed my eyes through them all... lol I only realized when I viewed the pictures that I was the only one who closed eyes during the rapids, i thought we were supposed to lol.
Our Guide was really great, he even convinced me to get out of the boat and swim (read float) in the river. I felt like something was pulling me under the water and screamed for them to get me back in the boat, so my "swim" was very short-lived.. I'm glad this part isn't captured anywhere hehe.
This pic above was taken at the end of our journey - I was SO happy I did this, and I was talking about how I can't wait to do it again! We luckily did no flip over!
...that was until I realized I had to hike up the gorge!!! Heheheh I don't know how I thought we'd get back up but to be honest, all I knew before this was that I wanted to river raft, then I saw we were walking down to the river and then I was just anxious to get to the river, I did not for a moment pause to think about the fact that I'd have to walk up to get back! Oh my word!!!!!!!
The hike back was so dramatic! Can you imagine hiking that entire distance when you had NO plans to hike?? We walked, and walked, and walked... took a break, walked, took a break, walked, took a break, took a break, took a step...took a break.. and after what seemed like a lifetime for someone as unfit as me, we finally got back to the top and I wanted to cry!
But I had no time to waste crying because next up we had the Royal Livingstone Express waiting to host us for dinner....
plus I had a red dress I had to wear!
This was another beautiful experience but definitely one that you must do with a partner for a romantic dinner.
inside the train...
The menu... The only thing I couldn't eat was the seared salmon eeeuww...
I generally felt the trip was ideal as a romantic getaway. Take your partner to Victoria Falls! I felt this even more when we went next door to the Royal Livingstone hotel - another must see!!
Sunset view from the Royal Livingstone Hotel bar
It wasn't a romantic getaway for us but nonetheless the boys and I had a great time in the train. I most especially enjoyed the train's stop at the Victoria Falls Bridge where I once again, looked down at the river and marveled at not having died after that hike! It was intense.
A special mention goes to our wonderful hostess Joyce Sikabbubba for her hospitality, she was amazing. Thank you Joyce!!
Another BIG thank you to Papi and George for their company during the trip, we had the longest layover in Harare but they made it memorable. On that note, if you go to Vic Falls, fly direct! Like Zanzibar, layovers to Vic Falls are a waste of precious time.
Thanks once more to our partners FastJet and Avani for making my first time in Zambia/ Zimbabwe/Vic Falls unforgettable! I will definitely come back and yes, I will go river rafting again 🙂
I think it's one of those adventures you should do at least once in your life!
Here are the details of the companies that helped with arranging our activities during this trip.
Safari Par Excellence