You cannot visit this magnificent natural wonder and not tour the famous bridge. Apart from the waterfall itself, the Victoria Falls Bridge is the second most visited landmark.
The History of the Victoria Falls Bridge
The historic railway construction was the inspiration of Cecil John Rhodes as part of his unfulfilled Cape to Cairo railway. He was reported to have said to “build the Bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls.” An incredible idea, especially as Cecil Rhodes never visited the landmark and had no visual perception on which to base this statement. It was up to a close personal friend of his, Sir Charles Metcalfe, to find a location to achieve this dream and be involved in designing the now famous Bridge.
Construction of the Bridge
Hence, the famous landmark was positioned across the gorge below the falls, close enough to experience the spray, just as Cecil Rhodes had envisioned. When it was built it was renowned for being the highest structure of its kind and had the widest span of any arch in the world. An incredible feat of engineering as the building of the span over the gorge and the subsequent construction of the railway was a dangerous and complicated undertaking in a fairly unpopulated area of Africa.
Sadly, Cecil Rhodes died before completion of this incredible structure over the gorge in 1905 and was never able to see the construction of this marvel of engineering or his dream come to fruition.
One of the more picturesque views of the Bridge is from the grounds of the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, with an unparalleled view up the gorge towards the falls. The waterfall as a backdrop sets the scene with the ever-present mist rising up the cliff faces and falling as a spray or light rain onto the passing trains.
Bridge Adventure Activities
Today the Bridge is still a fascinating landmark with various activities for the adventure junkies taking place on and from the structure.
The main attraction for the adventurous is the bungee jump which drops a heart wrenching 111 metres into the gorge below. This is not one of the highest bungee jumps in the world – but the view afforded you of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, must be one of the finest. This bungee jump is regularly voted as one of the top five adrenalin experiences on the planet and is well worth a try!
For the mildly less adventurous there are the bungee swing and the zip-line that start from the steel construction across the gorge. For the historical minded there is the Bridge Tour which takes you beneath the structure on the catwalks that were used in the construction in 1904.
The Bridge Cafe is open for light lunches and refreshments where you can enjoy the views and watch the activities going on around you.
Unfortunately, there is no longer a regular rail passenger service operating, with the old steam trains stopping at the station in town. The transport of goods by a few freight trains is the only activity on a regular basis between Zimbabwe and Zambia, of which the Victoria Falls Bridge spans the border.