I'm scared of flying and took a Micro flight over Victoria Falls
During my four-months as a travel reporter for See the World with SPAR, I was lucky enough to experience the very best of Zambia, from cruising down the Zambezi river soaking up incredible African sunsets to walking alongside lions in a certified animal sanctuary. Taking a micro flight over Victoria Falls, however, is probably the one Zambia experience I remember most of all. But how is that possible for someone who is so scared of EVERYTHING?!
* this post is more than 5 years old. forgive young Gemma Fottles for her writing sins.
Zambia is an incredible place. Incredible. The people, the lush, lush land, the diversity of the experience from Livingstone to beyond... it was everything I expected and more. One of the must-see attractions is Victoria Falls, the mighty waterfall that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe. And I experienced the best view possible over the falls: a micro flight.
The fact that the micro flight over Victoria Falls was my Zambia travel highlight may come as a surprise to anyone that has ever travelled with me... or spent any time with me at all. I am scared of flying and scared of heights and well, scared of everything. (On the other hand, I guess that would also shock some readers of Fottles Travels. How can I travel so much when I am such a scaredy-cat? One of life's many mysteries...).
So how was taking a micro flight for a person that's scared of everything?
I get scared when flying from the UK to France. I don't do rollercoasters, and you would have to pay me an excessive amount of money to do a skydive. So how did it feel to dangle my feet hundreds of metres above one of the world's largest waterfalls? You know what? It was surprisingly nice. And I mean surprisingly.
I booked the trip with Batoka Sky on-site at my lovely hostel. I was picked up in the morning for a full day of Victoria Falls fun, and everything was very reassuringly organised and taken care of. When the time came to board the Microplane? My hands were gripping to the sides of my seat with all their might, but I was surprised to feel safer in this rackety little plane than in a big commercial place. Even though I had no control over the situation, it also felt like I had more of an overview of what was going down. That tiny little shake? I can see that nothing is happening on a Microplane. On a commercial flight? I immediately think we're going down.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everybody who is scared of flying will enjoy a micro flight experience. I admit I was scared. Terrified, in fact. In the beginning, the runoff to the take-off is anxiety-inducing. But a few minutes later, I was up in the air and enjoying unbelievable views of Victoria Falls. Did I relax? No. But did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. (Would I do it again? Probably not.)
Best time to see the Victoria Falls in Zambia
I visited Victoria Falls from the Zambian side and you can also enter on the Zimbabwean side. I travelled there in November, so the falls were not at their best. By that, I mean they are not at their mightiest. If you want to see the awe-inspiring power of the falls in full, then head to Victoria Falls between February and May, just after the summer rains. The pros of visiting Victoria Falls out of season, however, that mean you can do amazing activities like the Devil's Bathtub, where you take a guided walk along the tops of the falls to jump into a deep pool at the edge of the waterfall and peer off the edge.
Again, very adrenaline junky themed activities, but Zambia is a land full of adventure. And though a micro flight over a giant waterfall may have looked like one of the scariest things to do in Victoria Falls, it turned out to be one of the tamest.