A Travellerspoint blog

Day 78 – Ngonye Falls

9th December 2011

semi-overcast

The aluminum hull of our boat broke the glassy water as the sun made easy work of tearing apart the storm cloud that had lingered above us all morning. The banks were made up of huge chunks of volcanic basalt rock that appeared almost man made, as if they’d been placed to protect the shore line from flood waters. They were interspersed by white sandy beaches that clung onto Mokoro canoes at their edges, whilst men fished and women washed. Twice we rushed up rapids, the hollow thud of the hull shaking our bodies as we went. Finally we could travel up stream no further. Our passage blocked by a set of voracious and forceful rapids. We moored on the eastern bank just downstream from the convergence of the two branches of the river and we continued on foot.

The rocky banks of the river where made from huge slabs of basalt. A massive volcanic eruption, millions of years ago, had covered the area in this molten rock. As the rock cooled, it cracked, and began forming what we were walking on, gigantic paving slabs cracked in huge jagged rifts, glossy on their surface and decorated with impressions of fossils, each piece weighing several tonnes.

We rounded a few more corners, crossing through smaller tributaries, all the while the white noise of the water was increasing. Finally we turned a corner and they opened up before us. Perhaps six or seven metres in height from top to water they were nowhere near as big as Victoria Falls but they were majestic in the extreme. The bold unending symphony came at you like a huge wall, deep rumblings that descended beneath our hearing range up to the hissing of small jets of splashing water, our eardrums were all consumed in the cacophony. Words and pictures will fail to sum it up, but we sat for almost two hours in almost silence, watching, listening, absorbing. Laura and I, with Jackson, our guide, were the only humans there. This place felt like it was ours.

On the way home we pulled over onto the bank where a father and son stood with their days’ catch. We bought a red bellied bream from them; it would go nicely with some cherry tomatoes and rice. A camp fire, fish supper and a humid evening finished off a settling day in a Zambia more real than we’d seen so far.

Posted by ibeamish 04:34 Archived in Zambia

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