The ‘cloud that thunders’ is the local name for Vic Falls and although such a colloquial name does not exist for Iguazu, the spectacle is no less awe-inspiring. Vic falls is considered the largest volume of falling water in the world. Iguazu tops Vic in length, but not height. What I found incredible is my perception of the Vic falls in comparison to Iguazu. My memory said that Vic was wider and more gigantic, but the stats say Iguazu is wider, though shallower……maybe it’s cos of the bias we carry towards Africa?
Its inevitable that we are going to compare the falls…each so exceptionally different in its character. Iguazu’s beauty comes from two main aspects; seeing completely different sides to this body of water between the 2 countries and the ability to view sections of the falls in remarkable proximity.
The Argentinians take the cake here for having created a network of elegantly disguised boardwalks along the sides of the falls giving the visitor access to numerous smaller waterfalls and glamorous views of the main falls. The Brazilians have made a single 1km long walk along the face of the gorge, no less impressive, just shorter (vs 6km in Arg).
Again, the Argentinians score on the Sheraton, most of the rooms face directly onto the front of the falls and from the bed, you can see the Devil’s Throat and the sheer front of the falls!
If asked the single biggest difference between Iguazu and Vic: I would say that what makes Iguazu so amazing is the cascading phenomenon as the falls pour over several islands before plunging into the roaring river below. As I remember Vic falls, the sheet of water just crashed to the bottom 100m below!
The falls are in a jungle, a fact you forget cruising in on the beatiful tar road. So it’s only opportune to visit the wildlife sanctuaries. Brazil vs Argentina again. The latter was an inspiring visit and so paradoxically different from the former.
The Rescue & Rehabilitation centre, for this is what it’s called in Argentina is a 20 hectare piece of land donated by the government to this private guy (forgot his name) who has established the sole wildlife rehab centre in Argentina! Animals (mostly birds) are brought in by the Eco-police or picked up on the road or via trafficking and brought here where his team patches them up for release! He runs a fabulous, privately funded enterprise generating most of his revenue from tourists.
Only guided tours are allowed, it’s peaceful, the centre is clean and quite……the Brazilians…….well, it’s a zoo! The buzzing of the helis taking people on flips and the boom of jets from the local airport is deafening. The birds are all squawking, the people are clicking photos away like mad. They enter the large aviaries with coke cans and chip packets, feed the birds (not allowed), try and touch some and generally behave like fools! Maybe it was my imagination, but I could feel the stress the birds were under!
I love my wife dearly, but her bird spotting and naming ability has yet a long way to come…..those toucans? Well, we saw lots in the Amazon, she thought they were buzzards then! :):):) I will leave the glamour of a night in the Sheraton overlooking the falls to our readers’ imagination…….