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In the U.S. it may be all about the Golden Gate and in Australia you’d be hard pushed to beat Sydney’s Harbour, but when it comes to Africa, it’s in Victoria Falls that you’ll find the bridge of all bridges.
Taking a whopping 14 months to build and grandly opened in 1905 by Charles Darwin’s son, the Victoria Falls Bridge was an incredible design and engineering feat of its time. And, with the almighty thunder of the Victoria Falls forming the bridge’s backdrop, even now you’d struggle to find something comparable.
It was the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes. A man who, when dreaming of establishing his Cape to Cairo railway scheme, famously spoke of wanting to “build the Bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls” – a desire that was quite fantastically realised. But as he never actually made it to the falls and died before construction of the bridge began, it was London based George Andrew Hobson who brought the idea to life in his place.
Over a century old now, the bridges wrinkles are starting to show and although some plastic surgery in the way of reinforcement has been done to ensure that the bridge will last another century, the frequency and speed in which it can be crossed has been restricted of recent years. Regular rail passenger services may not cross the bridge anymore, but steam trains are still a thing here, offering up a slice of genuine history.
Providing the only rail link between Zambia and Zimbabwe and astounding views of the falls, this bridge really is an example of some enchanting engineering.
The bridge is undoubtedly a sight to behold and one that many want to get a picture of just as much as the falls themselves. But crossing it is where things get really magic.
A historical tour will give you all the inside knowledge on the making of this legendary crossing and make its importance to Victorian engineering really hit home.
Secretly a trainspotter? The Railway Museum on the Zambia side of the bridge will be sure to spark your interest. Or, for those who’d like to be transported back in time, you can’t beat catching a steam train across it – the views through these picture windows just can’t be beaten.
But what strikes most as a once-in-a-lifetime experience when it comes to this bridge is the bungee jump that you can do off of it. Throwing yourself 111 metres down into the craggy gorge, with the choppy waters of the Zambezi down below may not be everybody’s idea of a great time, but even if you don’t take part, watching is half of the fun. Situated 128 metres above the river, standing on the bridge alone is enough to get your blood pumping.
A trip to the great wonder that is Victoria Falls is on everyone’s bucket-list and the bridge is part and parcel of the experience. Add it on as a location when you choose either the Classic or Garden Route base itineraries of South Africa for some no-holds-barred adventure. Head over to our itinerary builder now to start planning your dream holiday.
Crossing the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe, overlooking the incredible Victoria Falls.
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