The Victoria Falls – The Thunder Of Mists

Posted On December 2, 2009 

The Victoria Falls, is the largest water fall in terms of its width, which about 1.7 kilometers wide and its height, about 108 meters.

The first European to spot the falls, which are also known officially as Mosi-oa-Tunya in Zambia was the Scottish explorer David Livingstone. Mosi Oa Tunya means Mist of Thunders or Smoke of Thunders. Livingstone was the one who also gave it the name Victoria Falls in honour of Queen Victoria. The falls go by the name of Victoria Falls and are used as such officially in Zimbabwe.

The Victoria Falls is on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe in South Africa. The Zambezi River is the source of this water fall.

victoria falls zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls became a major tourist attraction during the British Colonial rule of Zambia (Northern Rhodesia then) and Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia). Tourism developed further after the end of the colonial rule since the 1980s.

When to go

The sight of Victoria Falls can be rejoiced at any time of the year. During the rains, that last in the months of November to the early April, the fall looks good but it is difficult to see the base of the falls. The rest of the months, which account for the dry season here, make the islets and the rocky face more visible and hence lets your eyes feast on a natural scenic marvel.

How to reach the Victoria Falls

Johannesburg, the capital of South Africa’s Capital, is well connected with almost all the international destinations. From here, there are daily flights to the towns of Livingstone, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Flights to these towns can also be taken from Lusak or Harare and from there on, you can ride on one of those buses that take you to Livingstone or the Victoria Falls. From Livingstone, there also is a steam train that gives you a ride to Victoria Falls Bridge, which is fact an attraction here.

Attraction and Activities at the Victoria Falls

After the two countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe gained independence, the Victoria Falls and the region around it bungee jumpingdeveloped as a centre for adventure sports such as white water rafting in the gorges, bungee jumping, game fishing, horse riding, kayaking, canoeing and flight views of the fall. The gorges also indicate the path that River Zambezi has followed since decades.

The Songwe Gorge, name after the Songwe River coming from the North East is the first gorge formed right where the river falls into the Victoria Falls. Below it is the 120 kilometers long Batoka Gorge which takes the river through the basalt plateau to the valley where the Lake Kariba is. The vertical walls of these gorges are about 120 meters high.  These are some of the gorges at the Victoria Falls.

The Victoria Falls are protected by two parks; the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park in Zambia spread over 66 square kilometers of Livingstone and the 23 square kilometers Victoria Falls National Parks. Next to the latter is also the Zambezi National Park. The Mosi Oa Tunya National Park has riverine forests. These parks contain a large variety of Mosi Oa Tunya National Parkwild life like Impala, Buffalo, Sable, Warthog, Eland, Giraffe, Zebra, rhinos (white rhinos in Mosi Oa Tunya National Park), baboons and monkeys. Elephants too can be seen in the dry seasons.

The upstream lagoons have crocodiles and hippopotamus. In the gorges, you can spot the Klipspringers and clawless otters along with the 35 species of raptors that these gorges are known for. Herons, fish eagles and waterfowls are common in river above the fall.

In the premises of the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park,  you can also visit the old drift cemetery.

Another well known feature that can be accessed via the Livingstone Island is the naturally formed Devil’s pool. . During the months of September and December, the water level is safe enough for you to swim within the pool to the edge of the fall, as a natural rock wall just below the water at the edges of the fall prevents water from falling in these months.

For a close tour of the falls and the national parks in its surrounding, you can take a microlite tour. Microlite is a small motorized aircraft that accommodates two people and offers a more personal and intimate way of exploring the falls.

You can also go bungee jumping from the bridge over the falls connecting the two countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Victoria Fall BridgeAmong the other attraction is the ride on the steam train that takes you from Livingstone to the Victoria Fall Bridge and grasps you with nostalgia.

There are Safari excursions too, in both Zambia and Zimbabwe region of the fall and since this sight is a major tourist destination where tourists flock to through out the year, there are a number of festivals and cultural events. You should make sure that you check out for these events and enjoy them as well, before you make your itinerary for your trip here.

Keeping all these activities aside, the mere sight of the Victoria Falls is heavenly and makes your trip to the falls very much worth it. It makes for a great sight seeing trip that leaves you gaping at the marvelous creation of God.

With a great sight to see, plenty of activities that you can engage yourself in from white water rafting to bungee jumping, the abundant of wildlife in the parks that surround the fall, the variety of marine life in the gorges and the river of the fall, the rich and wide species of fauna in the natural parks, amongst plethora of tourist attraction, sets the site of Victoria Falls apart as a destination you can not miss out on traveling to.

It is enlisted in The World Heritage List, where it is recognized by both the names.  Dr. David Livingstone saw the falls on November 17, 1885, while on his journey from the upper Zambezi River to the mouth of the river, during the period from 1952 to 1956.

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