Not many safari visitors know that locals call this country “Zim”, or that this land use to be occupied by the Kingdom of Mutapa.  Over 1,500 years ago, the Monomotapa Empire prospered in what we know today as Zimbabwe.  The only remnant left is an acropolis that still stands on a 200 ft. granite hilltop with plains below where you can envision traders exchanging local gold and ivory for porcelain, glass beads, and other luxuries from as far away as India and China.

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Zimbabwe is a classic safari destination where we heard you can see s last great elephant, buffalo and sable herds at Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks.

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Home to Victoria Falls, one of the seven world wonders, and the great Zimbabwe ruins, a UNESCO site.  The Zambezi River follows its northern border, and the Limpopo flows along the southern border with South Africa.  This country is blessed with a variety of terrain from the granite hills of Matopos, to Hwange savannah grasslands in the north, and the Eastern Highlands lush forests and mountains.

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We learned there’s a lot of land to explore and wildlife to see.  But we were only here for a day to visit the majestic Victoria Falls.  We hiked the trails with views of the falls, bungee jumped from Victoria Falls Bridge, and swam the Zambezi to get to Devil’s Pool that overlooks the falls.  Here are more details about our adventures that day.

Victoria Falls:  Locally called “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, the “Smoke that Thunders”, you can hike through the lush rain forest on the Zimbabwe side along the rim of the narrow gorge, and see the falls tumble 365 ft. over the ridge into the deep gorge.  This World Heritage Site straddles the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and is the widest waterfall on earth ~6,000 ft. !

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Looking for an adrenaline rush of a lifetime?  Victoria Falls offers a variety of activities around the falls – helicopter flights, bungee jumping, micro-lighting, canoeing, jet boating and white water rafting.  Find out about the  “Big Air Experience” www.VictoriaFallsBungee.com where you bungee jump, swing, and/or zipline over the falls.  Click here to learn more about the bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge, or Click here to watch the video on YouTube – pure adrenaline!

From the bridge, you can see the dramatic falls from the Zambia side or Zimbabwe side, while in “No Man’s Land” – the area between the two borders.  One of the ultimate adventures is to motorboat from the David Livingstone Hotel to an area near “Devil’s Pool”, where you can cautiously wade in the pool and peak over the edge of the falls.  If you’re lucky, you will see a rainbow or two!  Note:  you can only go to Devil’s Pool during the dry season.  All the views are unique and spectacular!

By Patricia Stone, a travel writer and consultant

Photo Credits:  some photos are provided by Zimbabwe Tourism Board

For more information on Zimbabwe, visit:  http://www.zimbabwetourism.net/