That well-known SA philosopher, Van der Merwe, once observed: “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” Ryan’s Corollary to Van der Merwe’s Observation is: “Sometimes I sits and thinks while sipping an ice-cold beer.”
Whichever of the three philosophies appeals to you, I have found the perfect place to sit – the bar at Gorges Lodge on the lip of the Zambezi River Gorge, a few kilometres downstream of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The platform around the bar extends over the edge, giving you a superb view of the rapids pounding away some 200m below – not for nothing is the lodge’s motto “living on the edge”.
I have been visiting the Victoria Falls since the mid-1960s and over 50 years have seen big changes in tourist flow and the range of activities available to visitors.
The destination has seen almost as many booms and busts as the gold market and right now Victoria Falls seems to be recovering again, judging by my packed flights. When I last visited two years ago the planes were half-empty.
There used to be three main things to do: looking at the famous Victoria Falls; game viewing; and the traditional evening “booze cruise” – now known as the “champagne cruise”.
All are still available but there are now plenty of additional activities on offer, such as: white-water rafting, kayaking and boogie board surfing (below the Falls); canoeing (above the Falls); elephant-back safaris; horse-back safaris; bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge and the zip wire (a high-speed foofie slide) across the gorge near the bridge.
All these activities can be done using Gorges Lodge as a base – it’s situated about 20km from Victoria Falls town – and they will even organise a day excursion into neighbouring Botswana’s Chobe region for you as well.
Why? That’s the question that niggled at me while I sat admiring the view of the Zambezi River from the bar deck at Gorges while sipping that ice-cold beer I was telling you about earlier.
Who needs to go anywhere? The view is incredible, the weather is superb and the silence is magnificent. There’s also plenty going on. You just need to be patient and keep your eyes open. The resident pair of black eagles soar past a few times a day when they are not dog-fighting with the resident peregrine falcons or augur buzzards.
|Fast Facts about Gorges Lodge:|
|Number of Chalets||10 (Stone and Thatched, all en-suite)|
|Total Guest Capacity||20|
|Location||10 km South East of Vic Falls Town|
|23 km from Vic Falls Airport|
|Depth of the Gorge at The Lodge||Approx. 250 metres|
Then there are the white-water rafters and kayakers, who provide a distraction on their way past in the river far below.
This is known as “chilling out” – an activity I thoroughly recommend – but one which it seems many cannot do even when on holiday. I cannot remember when I last slept so soundly, with the constant rushing sound of the river in the background.
By: Brendan Ryan
Date: 9 May 2013