Our helicopter flight with Wild Horizons: Flight of angels

Wild Horizons helicopter flight-1-6The helicopter flight over Victoria Falls, aptly named “Flight of the Angels”, was a highlight of my 2013 Zimbabwe holiday; an experience that I’ll savour for the rest of my life. I’ve been saving this post for last (of the Victoria Falls series) because, for me, it was one of the best things we did in this town.

I booked this activity through Wild Horizons and it is operated by the Zambezi Helicopter Company. Our flight lasted about 15 minutes and it really packed a punch. The helicopter took us on an anticlockwise figure-of-eight circuit above Victoria Falls, and then a clockwise one – meaning that people sitting on both sides of the helicopter got to see the falls without obstruction. Our helicopter held 4 people plus the pilot, and it was fitted with bubble-shaped windows so that we could get a better view.

I thought I would be nervous during the flight, especially as I’m not good with heights, but the ride was so smooth from start to finish, and the view was so engaging, I was too busy taking it all in to feel anxious! Seeing Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, from this perspective made me appreciate its scale even more. Roads, buildings and other man-made features were completely diminished by the wide Zambezi River, the smoke of Victoria Falls, and the zig-zag cracks in the rock. We did the helicopter flight in August when the water was not at its highest – I can only imagine the sight in April. Seeing the falls from above also meant that I could take photos of them without getting my camera wet!

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The phrase “Flight of Angels” echoes the starry-eyed description written by David Livingstone who was the first European to see Victoria Falls. I don’t think my account of the scene could be better than that of the famous Scottish missionary, even though he never had the opportunity to see Victoria Falls from the air. I’ll leave you with some of the photos I took during the flight, and an extract from Livingstone’s journal written for the Royal Geographic Society as he recounted seeing the waterfalls for the first time:

“… we came in sight, for the first time, of the columns of vapor appropriately called “smoke”, rising at a distance of five or six miles… Five columns now arose, and, bending in the direction of the wind, they seemed placed against a low ridge covered with trees; the tops of the columns at this distance appeared to mingle with the clouds. They were white below, and higher up became dark, so as to simulate smoke very closely.

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“The whole scene was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of color and form. At the period of our visit several trees were spangled over with blossoms … no one can imagine the beauty of the view from any thing witnessed in England.

“It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. The only want felt is that of mountains in the background. The falls are bounded on three sides by ridges 300 or 400 feet in height, which are covered with forest, with the red soil appearing among the trees.

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“… I believe that no one could perceive where the vast body of water went; it seemed to lose itself in the earth, the opposite lip of the fissure into which it disappeared being only 80 feet distant. At least I did not comprehend it until, creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambesi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet, and then became suddenly compressed into a space of fifteen or twenty yards.

“The entire falls are simply a crack made in a hard basaltic rock from the right to the left bank of the Zambesi, and then prolonged from the left bank away through thirty or forty miles of hills.

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“If one imagines the Thames filled with low, tree-covered hills immediately beyond the tunnel, extending as far as Gravesend, the bed of black basaltic rock instead of London mud, and a fissure made therein from one end of the tunnel to the other down through the keystones of the arch, and prolonged from the left end of the tunnel through thirty miles of hills, the pathway being 100 feet down from the bed of the river instead of what it is, with the lips of the fissure from 80 to 100 feet apart, then fancy the Thames leaping bodily into the gulf, and forced there to change its direction, and flow from the right to the left bank, and then rush boiling and roaring through the hills, he may have some idea of what takes place at this, the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.”

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For costs and practical information about the helicopter flight, click here.

To book this activity contact Wild Horizons

This post is proudly sponsored by Wild Horizons. Sponsored posts are written with the understanding that the writer can express her opinions honestly and openly.

Wild Horizons is a ‘one-stop’ ground handling & activity provider based in Victoria Falls, Livingstone and Chobe. Wild Horizons offers a range of tours, transfers and activities including Rafting, Canoeing, Elephant Back Safaris, High Wire Activities, Lion Encounters, Helicopter Flips & our lodges: Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge and The Elephant Camp.

See more things to do in Victoria Falls.

Part of the Classic Zimbabwe holiday series. Read the next post: Watch our video of the helicopter ride over Victoria Falls.

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Beth is the founder and chief writer of Great Zimbabwe Guide Travel Blog. Practical Zimbabwe travel advice since 2010.