Though Zimbabwe has many spectacular attractions, most of them can be loosely termed ‘touristy’ especially during peak periods. However, a few kilometers from what is arguably Zimbabwe’s major tourist attraction which happens to be one of the world’s seven natural wonders, Victoria Falls is a scenic and gorgeous gorge called the Batoka Gorge.
Batoka Gorge is located in the scenic locations town of Victoria Falls. The gorge is in the Zambezi Valley and it is predominantly covered by lower Jurassic sandstone and basalt. Batoka Gorge has a depth of 120 to 240 meters and it covers a distance of 100 kilometers.
A visit to Batoka Gorge will leave you satisfied. There are a number of activities you can do when you come to this majestic place.
Arriving at Batoka Gorge, you will be greeted by the evergreen riverine vegetation. Batoka Gorge’s steep walls are supported by mixed deciduous woodland typified by small to medium-sized paper bark trees. Gentle slopes of the Batoka gorge are covered by localized tree species, Entandrophragma caudate and the Propeller Tree (Gryocarpus americanu). The flat plain on top of the gorge supports Mopani woodland. Further away from the edges of the gorge are Riparian forests. Thick mixed woodland interspersed with grassland cover the screes.
White Water Rafting
Batoka Gorge provides one of the most thrilling and intense white water rafting experience in Africa. With over 23 white water rapids in class 2 to 4, there is a spot for everyone. Those who like gentle and smooth rafting will find their spots while those who love the adventurous and dangerous Rapids have their own spots too. During the rainy season (November to February) only 13 rapids can be attempted while all 23 rapids can be attempted from March to the end of October. Batoka Gorge white water rafting will definitely leave you with a rush of adrenaline whether you are the adventurous type or not.
Though B atoka Gorge is a few kilometers from the mighty Victoria Falls, much of the settlements in this region are rural settlements. In these rural settlements, much of the land is not developed thus there are huge forests which provide space for hiking. There are many guides willing to help you explore Zimbabwe’s virgin forests. Hiking for half a day normally takes 2 to 3 hours. You will get to explore Zimbabwean countryside which offers a glimpse into timeless African rural life. Along your way, you may encounter many wild animals though not necessarily dangerous ones. Among some of the most popular animals which roam this part of the country are elephants, bushbucks, and monkeys among many other small creatures.
Apart from touring Zimbabwe’s countryside, tourists can burn some calories walking through the Batoka Gorge. The Batoka Gorge hiking also includes the 250-meter climb up the walls of the gorge, an experience which is daunting and strenuous. Only the physically and mentally fit will be able to undertake this great adventure.
There is also a Boiling Pot hike. The Boiling Pot hike lets you view the majestic Victoria Falls from the bottom up. Hiking to the bottom of the Victoria Falls, you start off by hiking down the Batoka Gorge from there you will pass under the Victoria Falls bridge to the Boiling Pot also known as the Devil’s Delight. From there, you can view the rainbows form above you, shower under the spray of Victoria Falls and swim in the rock pools. However, note that the Boiling Pot hike can only be attempted from August to December.
Bird lovers will find Batoka Gorge refreshing. The area is home to some rare bird species. It has been honored for its conservation work in relation to birds by Birdlife International which bestowed the area with the Important Bird Area tag. The Taita Falcon which is a small endangered species breed in the Batoka Gorge, including many other rare birds of prey, the lanner, Verreaux’s eagle, and Peregrine falcon. There are 34 species of raptors seen in the gorge, including owls.