Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
When an awestruck David Livingstone first saw Victoria Falls in 1855, he wrote in his journal ‘on sights as beautiful as this, angels in their flight must have gazed’. He named the falls after the queen of England at the time, but they were (and still are) known as Mosi-oa-Tunya in the Kololo language – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ and from a distance the massive spray does look like smoke. You can see the spray rising from 30km away on land and over 60km away from the air. We flew from a camp in the Chobe National Park, Botswana to Livingstone and the spray had created a "rain forest" situation with the most beautiful full rainbows. This rainbow effect happens when the river is very full usually around March – June. We were very fortunate that the pilot was from New Zealand and he circled the falls so we had a fabulous view from the air. Helicopter flights over the falls are also available.
The Falls is on the Zambezi River which starts in Congo and flows right down to the Indian Ocean. It is a very impressive river and very wide. Further down from the Falls it becomes Lake Kariba. The Victoria Falls is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world. They are not the widest waterfall or the highest waterfall but with all dimensions taken into account, including almost the largest flow rate, they are considered to be the biggest curtain of falling water in the world surpassing the magnificent Niagara Falls and Iguacu Falls. The Victoria Falls lower annual flow rate compared to these two giants is only because of the reduced flow it has during the long dry season of Southern Africa. The 1700m wide falls are made up of five different falls, four in Zimbabwe and one in Zambia. They are known as The Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls in Zimbabwe and the Eastern Cataract in Zambia.
Most people stay only 1 or 2 nights. You can get to see the Falls and the Zambezi River in this short time but I think you miss so much. The area is so beautiful and peaceful and unspoilt, that it is worth having a number of days just to relax and explore it. Accommodation is available in the town of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side and Livingstone on the Zambian side.
And for the adventurous, the famous 111m bungee jump in what is possibly the most spectacular setting in the world is also available. Thrill-seekers leap from the bridge across the falls that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bridge was the dream of Cecil John Rhodes who wanted to build the bridge so that there was "spray of the falls over the train carriages". This was realised after his death when the Victoria Falls Bridge was completed in 1905. The Victoria Falls Bridge is one of only three bridges linking Zimbabwe with Zambia, and is the only railway bridge linking the countries.
If you are travelling to Africa, make sure you include a visit to Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world.