Monthly Archives: May 2017

First-timer’s guide when you visit in Victoria Falls

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls are wider than Niagaraand higher than Iguazú – and have more activities on offer than both of them combined. Rough Guides Managing Editor Keith Drew has the lowdown on everything you need to know about Africa’s adventure capital.

 

So which side should I visit: Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Both. The lion’s share of the Falls are in Zimbabwe, and it’s here that you’ll get the best overall impression of their epic scale – all 1700m of thundering whitewater cascades. The numerous lookouts that run along the gorge inside Victoria Falls National Park include show-stopping views of the Devil’s Cataract; precarious Danger Point; and the spectacular Main Falls, the largest single sheet of water in the world.

On the Zambian side, the lookout points in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park give you another angle entirely. Watch the water plummet over the edge from just a few feet behind the Eastern Cataract, or cross the sliver of a bridge to Knife Point Island for that in-the-thick-of-it feeling.

You can also climb down to the river’s edge to the so-called Boiling Pot, named for the way the water rebounds off the rock face to create a treacherous swirl of criss-crossing currents.

 

Will I get wet then?

When the water levels are high, from around March to June, you’ll get absolutely soaked, particularly at Viewpoints 9 to 15 on the Zimbabwean side and around Knife Point Island in Zambia. The spray from the Falls can be so heavy that the island (and its bridge) are showered in a constant “downpour”.

Wear quick-drying clothes and flip-flops and hire one of the ponchos that are available to rent on both sides – they’ll also protect your camera.

 

 

KENYA on Advanture Tips

The African elephant is under constant threat from poachers, and numbers have fallen by one third in seven years. Joe Minihane journeyed to the Samburu reserve in Kenya to meet its elephants and the people trying to save them.

His trunk sways like a pendulum as he turns and spots our 4×4. Slowly, silently, he begins padding towards us.

“Don’t move a muscle,” whispers Saba from the driving seat. “Just let him come to us.” I watch as this young male elephant begins circling our vehicle, turning my head slowly as he passes and lets out a grunt, eyeing us with interest. His scent is pungent, his hide wet.

“He’s secreting from his temporal glands,” says Saba, as our interlocutor walks off towards the nearby dry riverbed. “It means he’s in musth.” Musth, she explains, is a short period when bull elephants become acutely hormonal. High testosterone levels mean they can be dangerous.

I’m in Samburu, northern Kenya, exploring the frontline in the battle to save these majestic creatures from the menace of ivory poaching.

Saba Douglas Hamilton is my guide. With her father, Iain, and her husband, Frank Pope, she runs the world-renowned Save The Elephants (STE) charity from here in the heart of the east Africa bush, doing vital, pressing conservation work.

It’s estimated that 22,000 elephants are killed annually for their tusks
There’s no denying that the African elephant is in crisis. Between 2007 and 2014, numbers fell by 30 percent across the continent, according to the Great African Elephant Census. In September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said elephants were experiencing their worst decline in 25 years. And there’s one key reason: poaching.

ALTERNATIVE TOUR DE FRANCE

With the Tour de France in full swing and 2017 marking the 200th anniversary of the mighty bicycle, Rough Guides’ Greg Dickinson embarked on his own two-wheeled adventure through the country – and he discovered some things about the power of pedalling along the way.

I click down through the gears and stand up. To my left a half-man, half-bicycle overtakes me with his right arm raised and fingers splayed. The soft whistling noise his bike makes sounds expensive.

Then, a glitch in the matrix and an identical cyclist follows, wearing the same red and white lycra outfit. Arm raised, fingers splayed. Within seconds a peloton of a dozen cyclists has left me in its slipstream, each “bonjour” loading another brick into my already overloaded panniers.

I try to go down one more gear but can’t. I’m at rock bottom, on a stretch that my France en Velo guidebook promised would be the easiest of the entire Channel to the Mediterranean cycle. In eight days and five hundred miles’ time, my calves and knees will have broken and repaired, and the Massif Central will feel much easier than this.

But right now I can’t see over this hill. I dig my hand into my saddle bag for an astronaut-style energy gel sachet and rip it open with my front teeth.

Once I’ve sucked out the gloop, I chew the plastic for any sugary remnants. This, I think, is not fun. At least, not “type one” fun.