The Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, meaning ‘The Smoke that Thunders’, is a spectacular visual experience one could ever behold. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it is also a World Heritage Site as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by the angels in their flight
Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone exclaimed “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by the angels in their flight”.
The Kololo people living in the area in the 1800s called it ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ which literally translates ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ because of the plumes of mist that can be seen in the air from far away, depending on what season you visit the falls. However, no amount of description or photography has been able to truly describe this wonder and natural beauty.
The Victoria Falls is located in Livingstone town, a town renowned not only for its status as the tourist capital of Zambia but also for the beauty of its colonial buildings which remain intact even after years of independence.
The falls is located along the Zambezi River, near the halfway point of this massive river’s journey from its source in Mwinilunga District in Zambia to its eventual end in Mozambique where it forms a delta before pouring into the Indian Ocean.
Between March and June, the river’s prime flood season, the waterfall is amazing to see from all vantage points. The aerial vantage point presents an unparalleled view of the vast river snaking along the green landscape before it topples over the edge of a rugged vertical chasm at a height of 108 metres in a massive curtain of falling water. During its peak, a thundering 550,000 cubic metres of water falls per second.
Meanwhile from below you can see the falls up close. You have to brave the light showers in order to explore the falls at a much closer range. You may want to get a raincoat before taking to the footbridge that pass over the gorge and is exposed to the water mist from the splash nearby. The mist is sometimes so thick that sun’s rays may be blotted and one would feel like they are in a fog.
You can view the falls from the ‘Knife-edge Bridge’ where you can see the Eastern cataract. You can also visit the boiling pot at the bottom of the fall where the river diverts into the Batoka Gorge. Another must visit point is the Devils Pool. You will be standing barely on the edge of the falls. But to be safe the best time to stand in the Devils Pool would be in the dry season when the currents are weak.
There are several activities to choose from around the Victoria Falls including bungee jumping, abseiling, white-water rafting, kayaking, sunset cruises, canoeing, fishing, micro lighting and helicopter rides over the falls amongst others. Game viewing in the form of canoe safaris, which presents you with the option of exploring the Zambezi River and viewing the host of animals that dwell in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park and/or thrilling Safari walks with Big five giants like Elephants and Lions, walking Safaris also include the endangered Cheetah.
More laid back activities include taking a stroll down to Mukuni Market at the entrance to the Falls and sampling the vast array of cultural artifacts and souvenirs on display by the locals. You can also visit the Maramba Cultural Village, or the Livingstone Art Gallery, the Livingstone Museum, or the Mukuni Park in the city centre area.