Photographer's Note

When visiting the Victoria Falls this week, my biggest challenge was trying to take a photograph from a POV that had not already been posted to TrekEarth. That was not easy as there are already many good images on TE, mainly shot from the Zimbabwe side (which gives the better views as it is facing the Falls), some aerials, and some taken from the Zambia side, including one a few metres from the edge. So the only new POV that I could find was right on the edge – and I mean REALLY right on the edge.

I took this from a rock ledge on Livingstone Island overhanging the gorge. One step forward, or one step to the left, and there would be no more banyanman. I have posted another picture to the workshop in which you can see the ledge on which I was standing to take this. You will see that there is no fence or safety railings on Livingstone Island (they would be swept away in the rainy season) – only your commonsense and nerve separates you from a 400 ft plunge into the gorge below.

I took a flight in an open ultra-light over the Falls as well, but I actually found it more exhilarating standing on the edge like this. Sixty people a day are allowed to go onto Livingstone Island, which is from where David Livingstone first saw the Falls in 1855, and is now a World Heritage site. It costs US$45, and you go across in groups of four, each with a guide, in a small motorboat, with a maximum of 12 visitors on the island at any one time.

You have to sign an indemnity which starts: “I acknowledge that I am aware of and appreciate the real dangers and risks that are associated with visiting Livingstone Island on the Zambezi River arising inter alia from slippery surfaces, river currents, flash floods and the presence of wild and dangerous animals . . .”

But don’t let that put you off. It is $45 well spent, and you get to stay on the island for over an hour, and you can swim in a rock-pool that is right on the edge of the Falls. I forgot to ask, but I assume you can only do this in the dry season because the flow of water in the rainy season would wash you over the Falls. I have posted a second picture to the workshop, taken from the Zimbabwe side, showing people swimming in the rock-pool. The man in the khaki shirt standing up taking photographs of the group in the water is one of the guides. Like me, he was standing right on the edge. The difference was that he was standing in bare feet on a wet ledge with water flowing around his feet – I was standing with rubber soles on a dry ledge – so what he was doing was far more dangerous than me.

Even the short boat trip across to the island is exciting – as you bump over the shallow rapids and near the edge of the Falls, you wonder what would happen if the outboard motor packed up at that moment.

It is experience that I can thoroughly recommend to anyone visiting Victoria Falls. However, I would suggest that you avoid going to the edge with anyone with whom you are not on good terms!

Photo Information
Viewed: 4797
Points: 46
  • None
Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
View More Pictures