Flying a microlight was something I had not planned on when signing up for a flight over Victoria Falls. The flight lasts for 15 minutes, taking you high above Victoria Falls. In case you are unsure, a microlight could best be described as a flying washing machine. It’s basically a propellor attached to the back of a hand-glider, and you are completely open to the elements, which makes for a very fun time. Starting up, you roll down the small runway and leave the ground.
Gaining altitude fast, you soon follow the Zambezi river towards Victoria Falls. As you go higher and higher the wind starts rushing at you, the thrill of flying open to the world is so good, its hard to describe. With only shorts and T-shirt on and no shoes, you feel completely free.
The first sign of spray from the falls appears on the horizon, and soon enough you are above it, looking down at the beautiful landscape all around you, with its gorges and water.
The pilot, who happens to be the same pilot who took me over Victoria Falls in a microlight when I did this 3 years ago, was turning around and around to get great views.
It was the end of dry season at the time, so the falls were not as impressive as they would be during rainy season, but it was still amazing up there.
Then the pilot turned to me and told me to grab hold of some metal bars in front. I did this and we flew around, but it didn’t appear as smooth as before. After 32 minutes the pilot informed me that I had been flying the microlight! The bars I was holding onto were for trainees to learn to fly. This was brilliant! I had not expected this, and was allowed to fly us around the falls for several minutes.
This was one of the best things I had done. The feeling of being open to the sky and moving myself around, with the wind in my face…
Time running short, we headed back along the Zambezi river to the runway, with me flying the whole way. There was a little mini aerial safari on the way back, as you flew over elephants and hippos bathing in the river, and buffalo and zebra grazing on the grass.
Of course the pilot took control for the landing phase, thankfully! Moving toward the ground I gave a final thumbs up to the camera for what can only be described as an awesome experience. I had no idea that day I would be allowed to fly the microlight myself.
Thanking the pilot very much, I checked out his flying credentials on a photo on the wall at the main office. I think the photo text speaks for itself how great this guy is as a pilot.
If you are curious, the photos were taken with a camera attached to the end of the wing. If you are interested in a microlight flight over Victoria Falls, this is the company that I used, Batoka Sky.