Unsurprisingly, the Christmas period is one of our favorite holidays here at African Impact. And not just because it’s a great excuse to listen to those old festive tunes from back in the day. While many of our volunteer projects close for the December period and our staff get a very well-deserved break, the most hardcore of our teams’ power straight through to January. Aside from the joy of spending their Christmas under the hot African sun (seriously guys, why would you stay in the rain?), volunteers and staff alike know they are doing something a lot of people can’t boast about during the festive season; giving back.
Two such teams who remain live and kicking over the Christmas period is those behind our Livingstone Community (Zambia) and Victoria Falls Conservation (Zimbabwe) Projects, both of which straddle the world-famous natural wonder of the world, Victoria Falls. And why wouldn’t they want to stay put when there is so much to experience in this destination throughout December. The question is, why aren’t you joining them?
5 ways to make the most of Victoria Falls during Christmas and New Year:
- Witness a Lunar Rainbow
- Attend the Victoria Falls New Year’s Eve Carnival
- Kick off 2019 by facing your fears
- Wake up to the sound of lions on Christmas morning
- Bring festive spirit to an old age home in Livingstone
A lunar rainbow, also known as a “moonbow”, is a rare natural phenomenon that happens in only a handful of destinations on the planet. Guess what? We’re expecting one over Victoria Falls during the full moon on December 22nd. Just like a rainbow, it’s caused by the refraction of light – except this time, it is light from the moon. As a volunteer with us in either Livingstone or the actual town of Victoria Falls, you could take part in a magical evening tour through the rainforest, ending at a spectacular viewing point to enjoy the moonbow. If you want to go all out, treat yourself with an exclusive full moon dining experience at The Lookout Café, perched 120m above the turbulent rapids of the Zambezi River, overhanging a giant chasm of the Batoka Gorge.
New Year’s Eve isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard not to enjoy it when you’re finishing the year in style at the famous Victoria Falls New Year’s Eve Carnival. Beginning on December 29th, get ready for three days of non-stop entertainment with Africa’s biggest acts performing:
- Day one brings a journey like no other; a train ride through the African bush with legendary DJ’s on board and an overnight experience in Victoria Falls National Park
- Day two; the action doesn’t stop as you hit the venues in Victoria Falls town for a night of African, indie and electro-pop music
- Day three you’ll ring in the countdown with thousands of other adventure-loving travelers from around the world, spoiled with fire-breathers, traditional dancers and stars like you’ve never seen them before
If you’re volunteering in Zambia but wouldn’t miss this for the world, simply hop across the border to get your groove on (be sure to have bought that multi-entry visa upon arrival in the country), or if you’re joining our conservation team on the Zimbabwean-side, make good use of the FREE three-day pass we’re giving all volunteers!
We all make those New Year’s Resolutions and realistically, they fizzle out. So, why not make yours to face your fears and do something you’d never dream you’d have the courage to do? And do it within the first couple of days of 2019. We’d suggest summoning the courage to leap – head-first – from the Victoria Falls Bridge (attached by bungee-cord, of course), or taking on the Grade 5 white-water rapids of the Zambezi River. If that doesn’t seem scary enough, why not take to the skies on a micro-light over the falls; nothing breeds those nervous butterflies like a propeller-operated hand-glider with two seats and an open cockpit.
For the adrenaline junkies who’d parachute out of a plane without a second thought, we’d suggest this New Year’s Resolution: getting out of your comfort zone and trying some unique, local food. Café Zambezi in Livingstone, Zambia, serves up an incredible range of cuisines to make this happen; crocodile skewers, goat stew and mopane worms (to name but a few).
Wildlife lovers should definitely consider our Victoria Falls Conservation Projects if you’re looking to volunteer your time over the festive season. Picture waking up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day to the sound of lions and enjoying a special Christmas meal in the heart of the African bush. While you’re not celebrating and taking advantage of everything else we’ve awakened you to within this post, you’ll be joining the team on research game drives, walking alongside lions who form part of The African Lion and Environmental Research Trust’s Lion Rehabilitate and Release Into the Wild Program, and conducting key research on their behavior. For those with a passion for the beloved African elephant, we also run an elephant research project (check it out!).
To top it off, we have just moved location and now live and work in the magical African bush. Not only will lions be your neighbors, you’ll get to stay in the brand-new African safari tents and enjoy spectacular views of wildlife walking around the area. Be the pioneer of discovery of this exclusive location by volunteering here at Christmas.
For a lot of us, the festive season is synonymous with family and friends; sharing meals, playing games, and catching up with long-lost relatives. For the residents of the Maramba Old People’s Home in Livingstone, Zambia, it couldn’t be more opposite. This rural care home supports older people (aged 60 and above) who are in destitute circumstances and have no relatives to look after them. For this reason, this is where our team of volunteers spend Christmas Day – playing games, singing carols, swapping Christmas cards and sharing stories. Throughout the rest of the holidays, volunteers in Livingstone will hold holiday clubs for local children, as well as get involved in art and reading clubs. If you’re motivated to work with people who are far less fortunate than yourself, then Livingstone is the place.
Whatever you choose to do this festive season, we hope it is incredible!