Victoria Falls — more than a photo-op

Victoria Falls — more than a photo-op
Victoria Falls’ UNESCO World Heritage Site listing states that it is “the world’s largest sheet of falling water.” (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 January 2021

Victoria Falls — more than a photo-op

Victoria Falls — more than a photo-op
  • Why ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ is a worthy destination in its own right

ANANTARA: For many travellers, a visit to Victoria Falls is nothing more than a pit stop on a wider tour of Africa — warranting a day trip and nothing more. That is a mistake.

Locals call this raging expanse of water “Mosi-oa-Tunya,” or “The Smoke That Thunders.” Cascading over the edge of 1.7 kilometers of craggy gorge and plunging 100 meters to the rocks below, the waterfall gives off such a huge volume of mist that the plumes are visible for miles in every direction.

While it is neither the world’s highest waterfall (Angel Falls in Denmark) nor its widest (Khone Phapheng Falls in Laos), Victoria Falls’ UNESCO World Heritage Site listing states that it is “the world’s largest sheet of falling water” — landing it on the list of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World; a gaping crevasse in the earth through which the mighty Zambezi flows, separating Zambia and Zimbabwe.




Devil’s Pool is the world’s finest ‘infinity pool’ — located at the edge of Victoria Falls. (Shutterstock)

Popping in merely for a few photos in front of a small section of waterfall to tick it off your list is doing this site a disservice. From above, from below, from inside, Victoria Falls demands to be explored from all perspectives.

On the Zambian side, you’ll find arguably the best accommodation in the area, the Royal Livingstone Anantara, a five-star property set on the banks of the Zambezi within a few hundred meters of the top of the falls. From the hotel’s riverside deck, you can sip coffee while taking in the swirling mist barely a stone’s throw away. 

Set yourself up there for three days, two if you’re pressed for time, and book yourself in for some activities. Local tour operator Livingstone’s Adventure can help with that. 




You should also explore the Zambezi from below. This means white-water rafting. (Shutterstock)

First on your list should undoubtedly be a microlight flight — a dizzying ride onboard what is basically a child’s pushchair strapped into a hang gliding canopy. It may look flimsy, but soaring above the gushing falls with the air whipping you in the face as you look down upon the craggy gorge snaking through the valley below, the Zambezi visible for dozens of kilometers in both directions, is an exhilarating experience. You’ll spot hippos soaking themselves in the river, elephants congregating in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi National Park and, of course, the falls’ famed rainbow.

With the “above” part done, you should explore the Zambezi from below. This means white-water rafting. Due to the rock formations found throughout the gorge, the rapids here are not only hair-raising, but ever-changing — in dry season the river is lower and the rapids more placid, while as the river fills up in wet season, the rapids grow a few grade levels. It’s part of the reason this is widely considered one of the world’s best rivers for rafting in. And while you may flip your raft on the first rapid — speaking from experience — don’t be discouraged. There’ll be a lot of that over the next three hours fighting against swirling whirlpools and menacing torrents, but with the water being a balmy 30 degrees, you’ll probably end up throwing yourself overboard at various intervals on purpose. 




In the Mukuni Market you’ll find wood carvings and woven baskets made by local artisans. (Shutterstock)

With your hard-earned reputation as a certified thrill seeker established, it’s time to bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge or check out the Devil’s Pool, which you can wade out to. This is the world’s finest ‘infinity pool’ — located at the edge of Victoria Falls. It’s an exclusive experience, offered only by Tongabezi Safaris — which also operates a beautiful lodge and island chalets 20 kilometers up the Zambezi.

However, if your allotment of adrenalin has been used up for the week, there’s still both sides of the falls — Zambia’s and Zimbabwe’s — to take in with your feet firmly planted on the ground. This is where the Zimbabwean side excels, offering views of 75 percent of the falls compared to Zambia’s 25 percent.

To wind down in your final few hours, don’t miss a trip into Livingstone — Zambia’s tourism capital and a charming town full of good food and souvenirs to take home. In the Mukuni Market you’ll find wood carvings and woven baskets made by local artisans. It’s an authentic way to stock up on cheap items to remind yourself of the time you rode an upside-down raft down the pumping Zambezi, or flew in a pram with wings.


Culinary celebrations: Where to eat in Riyadh this Saudi National Day

Culinary celebrations: Where to eat in Riyadh this Saudi National Day
Updated 22 September 2021

Culinary celebrations: Where to eat in Riyadh this Saudi National Day

Culinary celebrations: Where to eat in Riyadh this Saudi National Day

RIYADH: A host of restaurants in Riyadh are celebrating Saudi Arabia’s National Day in style with special menus and entertainment.

The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh

The hotel is offering its usual festivities with a twist, inviting a Saudi celebrity chef to cook for guests in Al-Orjouan restaurant. Social media-famous chef Abdulelah AlRabiah is set to host a cooking station while guests will be serenaded by live Saudi music.

Lunch will be held from 12:30pm - 5pm, priced at $120 (450 SAR)

The dinner buffet runs from 6:30pm-12am, priced at (450 SAR) $120 for adults and $60 (224 SAR) for children.

Four food trucks will be stationed outside serving coffee, ice cream and burgers along with face painting and gifts for children.

Yauatcha Riyadh

The dim sum restaurant and tea house is offering a special set menu inspired by the Kingdom’s national colors until Oct. 2.

The $66 (250 SAR) per person menu features chicken spinach soup, a section of dim sum, and main dishes consisting of chicken, seabass, and pak choi, as well as dessert.

La Brasserie

Riyadh’s La Brasserie is offering their traditional international brunch and dinner buffets with additional Saudi dishes to celebrate National Day.

The brunch buffet will run from 12:30pm-3:30pm and is priced at $101 (379 SAR).

The dinner buffet will be held from 7:00pm-11:00pm and is priced at $73 (275 SAR), excluding drinks.

Al-Bustan Restaurant

Al-Bustan restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh is offering a dinner buffet that includes a clutch of international favorites, including grilled lamb with traditional Saudi spices.

Running from 7:00pm-12:00am on Thursday, a local performer will entertain guests to celebrate the occasion and dinner priced at $89 (335 SAR) per person.  

Four Seasons

Elements restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in Riyadh is offering an international buffet with a focus on regional favorites, including lamb kabsa rice, mandi varieties, mixed grills, cold mezze and, of course, Um Ali.

Live music will be played during the Thursday night dinner buffet between 7:00pm-12:00am.  

The dinner buffet is priced at $83 (311 SAR), excluding beverages.  

La, Gais

The Instagram-perfect, newly opened breakfast and specialty coffee spot will offer a selection of Saudi-themed breakfast and brunch items, along with live music.

Perfect for family brunch, the restaurant will be open from 4:30am-7:00pm during the National Day weekend.

Each menu item is priced separately, including tax.


Arab label Mrs. Keepa heads to Paris for fashion week

Arab label Mrs. Keepa heads to Paris for fashion week
Updated 22 September 2021

Arab label Mrs. Keepa heads to Paris for fashion week

Arab label Mrs. Keepa heads to Paris for fashion week

DUBAI: Dubai-based label Mrs. Keepa is set to present its Spring/Summer 2022 womenswear collection on the sidelines of Paris Fashion Week, as part of France’s Féderation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s “Welcome to Paris” initiative with the Arab Fashion Council.

The show is slated for Sept. 28 at Paris’s Palais De Tokyo and the label will also take part in Paris Fashion Week’s trade show partner event, TRANOI, which will take place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 at the same location.

Mrs. Keepa is known for its strong silhouettes and bold colors, as seen in this look from the label's 2019 show in Dubai. (Getty Images)

Helmed by half-Egyptian half-French designer Mariam Yeya, the label is inspired by a patchwork of evolving identities and her own dual heritage, which she explores through fashion.  

Launched in 2016, the label is a regular on the Fashion Forward Dubai circuit — an annual showcase of regional talent — and is known for its celebration of the female form, with a focus on defining silhouettes, voluminous details, striking patterns and kaleidoscopic colors. 

The label is helmed by Egyptian-French designer Mariam Yeya. (Getty Images)

For the Spring/Summer 2022 collection, titled “Harmonious Chaos,” the designer plays with organic shapes and opulent colors. Think cut outs and strappy maxi skirts, wide-leg camouflage cargo pants and larger-than-life sleeves.

 The collection will also feature pieces that traverse the boundary between recognizable separates — kimonos that work as skirts, dresses that can be worn as shirts and scarves that can be styled as waist-synching belts.

The show is slated for Sept. 28 at Paris’s Palais De Tokyo. Pictured is a 2019 show by the label. (Getty Images)

It is not the first time Arab designers have found a platform at Paris Fashion Week. To ensure that regional designers get the recognition they deserve, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode first teamed up with the Arab Fashion Council in September 2020 to host an exclusive showroom and presentation on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar that shines a light on Middle Eastern designers.

“The project is in line with the Arab Fashion Council’s vision to build an Arab economy based on creativity and to promote the Arab talents on a global scale,” said Mohammed Aqra, chief strategy officer of The Arab Fashion Council, in a statement at the time. “This is the first strategic alliance project with our French counterparts,” he added.


Ithra celebrates Saudi National Day with new cultural programs 

Ithra celebrates Saudi National Day with new cultural programs 
Updated 22 September 2021

Ithra celebrates Saudi National Day with new cultural programs 

Ithra celebrates Saudi National Day with new cultural programs 

DUBAI: In celebration of Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) launched a collection of Saudi cultural and heritage programs and activities to highlight the Kingdom’s diversity.

Under the slogan of “Melodies of the Homeland,” the celebratory activities will start on Sept. 22 and will run until Sept. 25. 

The National Day activities aim to present a collection of interactive cultural activities, music and art performances, traditional local crafts, various workshops, knowledge-based games for all age groups and more.   

The activities will include the Coffee Tales exhibition, which will shed light on the practice of farming coffee and the traditions associated with it, particularly in the Jazan region, as well as Saudi Aramco’s efforts to preserve it.

Another exhibition, called Tafaseel, will take its visitors on a cultural journey to embody the unity of the people and their interdependence from north to south and east to west. 

This colorful space will express the diversity of fashion as part of the cultural heritage across the local regions and tell stories about the civilizations that inhabited them.

Arab music sensation Ahmed Alshaiba will perform on Ithra’s stage and is expected to play his unique music that combines Eastern and Western genres.


Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 

Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 
Updated 21 September 2021

Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 

Emirati artist Aisha Juma takes part in ‘Beyond Belief’ exhibition in Germany 

DUBAI: Emirati visual artist Aisha Juma is showcasing her work at an exhibition titled “Beyond Belief” in Berlin, Germany. 

Supported by Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF), Juma is taking part in the exhibition that brings together a variety of artworks from more than 35 artists. 

Aisha Juma is an Emirati visual artist. (aishajuma.com)

Open until Nov. 21, “Beyond Belief” explores the rise of modern-day spirituality, its origins, diverse manifestations and unique contemporary attributes. 

Juma, on her Instagram account, shared images of her drawings that are “inspired by the concept of art and spirituality.

“So happy to be part of this fundamental creative conversation,” she wrote. 

The inauguration of the event was attended by Hafsa Al-Ulama, the UAE ambassador to Germany. 

In her speech at the event, Al-Ulama praised the strong cultural ties between the UAE and Germany, and commended ADF’s commitment to participating in art exhibitions and festivals in Germany. 

She added that the festival’s sponsorship of “Beyond Belief” reflects Abu Dhabi’s role in promoting art worldwide. 


Bahraini label Noon by Noor lights up London Fashion Week

Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled ‘Light.’ (Supplied)
Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled ‘Light.’ (Supplied)
Updated 21 September 2021

Bahraini label Noon by Noor lights up London Fashion Week

Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled ‘Light.’ (Supplied)

DUBAI: Bahraini label Noon by Noor showed off its Spring 2022 collection at London Fashion Week this weekend, debuting a line of lighter-than-air separates and dainty dresses.

Designers Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa presented a collection titled “Light” at East London’s Rochelle School, which specializes in art and architecture.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Noon By Noor (@noonbynoor)

The label, which is a regular on the New York Fashion Week circuit, drew crowds to its London showcase, with a host of industry insiders and influencers taking to social media to show off the new collection.

The brand, which was established in 2008, showed off a floral-tinged offering. (Supplied)

The brand, which was established in 2008, showed off a floral-tinged offering, with sprigs of color, as well as white-on-white looks complete with traditional mirror work embroidery.

“We selected our fabrics, mixing different scales of checks from ginghams to madras, alongside bold stripes in lime-ivory, pink-ivory and grey-ivory,” designer Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa said in a released statement.

“A photograph of Bahraini pearl divers in their sarongs gently gathered and tied at the waist, mixed with dreams of summer sunshine, holiday memories and flowers was the start of our spring collection development,” she added.

Her cousin and co-designer Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa shed further light on the materials chosen for the collection.

“Beautiful poplins, jersey, washed cottons, coated linens, silk voiles, organza, tulle and canvas all reflect the idea of light. Sometimes two or three of these fabrics are combined into one garment,” she said.