is more or less a broken country. It has pretty much every problem that a modern nation state could have. It has an aging, violent autocratic ruler who tampers with election results in order to stay in power. It has hyper inflation so bad that they don’t even use the local currency anymore. There is very little freedom of speech. The AIDS epidemic has hit the country hard. The average per capita GDP is about $400. The place is a mess, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better.
This is sad for many reasons. There is a lot of human suffering in Zimbabwe. But Zimbabwe does have (along with Zambia) Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world (as measured by height and width). It is an incredible sight, and it generates much needed revenue for the local economy.
Of course, the name Victoria Falls was given by a British explorer who just had to name the thing after his Queen. Real original. But the native name for it is Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates to “the smoke that thunders,” which is a way better name. There are a series of gorges that surround the falls, which is on the beautiful Zambezi river. There are all sorts of different ways to view the area. There’s a good old fashioned viewing platform, there are helicopter plane rides, there are hikes and guides, and there is even a cruise down the Zambezi river. There’s also barrel rides over the falls (kidding). There is also some serious (Class V) white water rafting in the area.
There are really nice Zimbabwe hotels
in the town of Victoria Falls. The big one that everyone goes to, whether they are staying there or not, is the Victoria Falls Hotel. You can pay thirty bucks to have tea there, which sounds a bit much, but there’s food and it’s really classy. The Queen mother stayed here when she came, apparently.
Zimbabwe has it’s problems. But Victoria Falls is not one of them. It’s a beautiful sight that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Hopefully, the next time I’m there I’ll be able to use the local currency.