20 years ago, almost to the day, I visited Niagara Falls. In doing so, I was fulfilling one of my goals from when I joined the ‘red and white’ travel agency group – Flight Centre - of seeing the three most famous waterfalls in the world: Niagara, Victoria and Iguacu.
The day in Canada/USA was freezing, and to be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by the border-creating waterfall. I’ll blame the weather so cold, it had frozen much of the upstream water. Despite the lack of flowing water, the ‘Maid of the Mist’ cruise, did depart, in my mind, as the ‘curse of the ice crystal’, with tiny punctuating fragments of frozen water cutting through the air and pricking the skin. That’s ok, that’s nature - unlike the commercialisation and casinos that had stolen the natural beauty of a once magnificent area.
My second waterfall was viewed in 2014, on Southern Sky Safari. On a Fred Watson tour I led a group of 18 people through the African nations of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, the latter, primarily to see the Victoria Falls. The pure chaos of the country (still under dictatorship at the time) the queues, the corruption and the non-existent infrastructure, faded to a stale memory, when we saw the magnificent falls. Mind-blowing. Water, water everywhere. We had been advised, but our numerous, rain coats, ponchos, and umbrellas were completely insufficient as we walked the kilometres around the clifftop taking photos. Soaked, exhausted and delighted, we slopped back into the minibus and returned to our once glorious 5-star hotel for dinner with the German Consul General.
Now, 2019, and travelling with a group of eclipse chasers for our Southern America Eclipse, I can tick the last of the falls from my bucket list. My waterfall journey went “good, better, best” with the intensity of Iguacu Falls hitting me in the face the minute I saw it. From the Argentine side, we walked on water, (well, ok, on bridges,) 2km or 3/4s of the way to Brazil and peered into the first and deepest part of the falls.
We had two days to explore upper, lower falls on both sides, but if you only had one, stay at Belmond, and see the Brazilian side before the hordes of crowds, as we were lucky to do. but whether you experience by jet boat, foot, bus or helicopter, you’ll truly get a rush.
Before I sign off, I must add a huge, thank you to my fellow travellers for indulging me. Not only am I privileged to see these magnificent sites, but I get to do it in the company of people who make me laugh, smile and want to keep sharing the world.