Victoria Falls Hotel Pool

Bryan Elliott and Marjan Drijber, 07 May 1973

The Victoria Falls Hotel had an open-pool policy back in 1973, meaning they did not limit the use of their pool to hotel guests. We low-budget travelers from the nearby campground were welcome to use the pool and other VFH facilities without being pressured to buy refreshments.

The hotel is located just above the sharp bend in the Zambezi that defines the transition from the second to the third gorge. Within a short stroll of the hotel are the heads of two ravines that lead down to the river.

Marjan Drijber ( pronounced Mary Ann DRY-ber ) always enjoyed meeting other travelers. She seemed to have a sunny smile for everyone and a knack for brightening the days of people she met, even those whose paths intersected hers only once in life. In this photo, taken 8 days before her death, she is busy enchanting a kiwi bloke (New Zealander) named Bryan Elliott.

Marjan loved the sunshine. She often wore her swimsuit in the campground and on hikes during the 3 weeks that her safari group was stranded at the falls for lack of a carnet de passage. She was probably wearing it when she died: a British eyewitness to the shooting told me in Lusaka ( on 18-05-73 ) that "one of the girls was even wearing a bathing costume."

Below: This earlier photo of Marjan was published in the May 28, 1973 Newsweek account of the Victoria Falls Incident. It is reproduced here from a Drijber family website.

Paul Terpstra May 31, 2007
Updated 17 June 2007