Thursday, November 15, 2007

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls - Mosi oa Tunya

victoria falls

Victoria Falls

“No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England, it had never been seen before by European eyes; but the scene so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight!” David Livingstone who explored the Zambezi River during 1852 -56. Livingstone was not just an explorer but might be a poet in heart. The River Zambezi flowing quiet through the vast plains of Africa all on a sudden trips as such in to a 360 feet deep gorge making a water curtain that is 5577 feet (1700 meters) wide, the largest water curtain in the world. The local people call it ‘Mosi oa Tunya’; the thundering smoke!


victoria falls zambiaVictoria Falls Map courtsey:

Two nations own the credit of having the Victoria Falls; Zambia, and Zimbabwe. One bank is Livingstone (named after the famous explorer) and the other bank is the Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe. It is easy to select the Livingstone route as Zambia is a better place to Zimbabwe. From the town of Livingstone travel through the Mosia O Tunya road; the falls are just 11 km away. People of both countries are permitted to visit the other side without visa. The location being accessible by bus and train this is for the local people a cheap destination and most of the tourists is local people.

World Heritage Site.

victoria falls zimbabweVictoria Falls - The Eastern Cataract, on the Zambian side.

The Victoria Falls are one of the world’s major tourist attractions and a UNESCO approved World Heritage Site. Each country has a National Park for the protection of the flora and fauna as well as for enhancing tourism. These National Parks are habitats of numerous animals wandering and grazing in the grass land plains are very easily visible to the tourists. In no other parts in the world wild animals are so easily visible; this is an added attraction to the visitors. Both countries depend heavily on the income from tourists to survive. Entry to Zimbabwe is expensive due to hefty fees and corrupt officials at the entry points. Political issues prevalent in Zimbabwe are not conductive to promote tourism hence the present the occupancy rates in hotels the at Zimbabwe side are dismal.

The mighty Zambezi.

The Zambezi River (The fourth longest river in Africa - length 1600 miles) has its origin in the 4922 feet high Mwinilunga Town (a hilly town -the wettest place in Africa) in Zambia and flows through the border dividing between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The mighty river has a basin of 1,390,000 sq kms (second only to Nile) and it has three major falls in its course (Victoria, Ngonye and the Chavuma

Falls) of which Victoria is undoubtedly the biggest and the greatest. Zambezi flows 1600 miles through the parched plains of Middle Africa supplying the much needed water to people of 8 countries Zambia, Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to join Indian Ocean. The greatness of the river is that most of the whole animal world living in this area depends on the water of Zambezi.

Dr. David Livingstone (19 March 1813 – 4 May 1873).

It was Livingstone who revealed the existence of this marvel to the outside world and who named the falls after Victoria in honor of Queen Victoria. He was one of the most popular heroes of the 19th century was a many splendored genius, a Scottish Presbyterian (a senior member of a church under the Bishop), pioneer medical missionary, a member of the London Missionary Society, Scientific investigator and explorer etc Livingstone’s descriptions are numerous. He was also a crusader against slavery as well as the hero of the working class. Discovery of Victoria Falls was just one feather on his cap, there others like, the source of River Nile, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweuru, Lake Banweulu etc. It was in a village (Illala on the south west banks of Lake Bangweulu; Livingstone breathed his last affected by chronic dysentery and malaria. He was granted the title ‘National Hero’ posthumously in 1874.

Vantage Points.

victoria falls zambia Victoria Falls Bridge

There is no dearth for vantage points to catch finer vision of this falls, for a closer vision to the visitor there is a natural basalt platform with the same height of the falls where visitors can comfortably stand and watch the massive curtain of water collapsing in to curtain to 360 feet deep gorge with a thunderous sound raising spray that can be seen from several miles away.

The Knife Edge Bridge, the Look out Tree are and the Falls Bridge all offer a 360 degree vision of the whole settings like Eastern Cataract, the Main Fall as well the ‘boiling pot’ where the river turns head down the Batoka Gorge.

The Victoria Falls Bridge commissioned by Cecil John Rhodes in 1900, this bridge has significance as Mr. Rhodes who wished the railway carriages getting a shower bath from the spray of the falls; never had the luck to witness the falls as he died before the completion of the bridge.

Boiling Pot.

‘Boiling Pot’ is a real sight when the broad and wide Zambezi suddenly collapses in to the falls and zigzag through the narrow gorges. This ‘pot’ really boils with the sheer power of the angry waters. This river is not the old placid Zambezi before the falls but a ‘possessed’ schizophrenic enraged with anger and brutal power; clearly visible from the steep cliff above. This place can be accessed from the parking lot; though the climb is a bit strenuous the reward compensates the effort. From their the thundering flow below, a panoramic view of the falls and a view of the Victoria Falls Bridge as well as the emerald forests around cane be clearly seen.

A walk way for some views.

The opposite cliff facing the falls is a well paved walk way through which visitors can take a walk through the rim of the rain forests and at times there are points to view the falls from different angles. The intense spray from the falls may wet the visitors but it can be taken as a welcome sign in the scorched tropical heat, take care of camera and other electronic items from getting soaked.

A wild view!

victoria falls zimbabwe Main falls of Mosi-oa-Tunya or Victoria Falls

Africa is a continent very wide and scenic; it is less populated and secured from the recent frenzy of developmental activities. These two factors have helped in keeping its nature unspoiled to great extent. In Africa’s grass lands scenes one would have seen in movies can be seen in first person. Giraffe, zebra, bison, all sorts of deer, roam free and often falling prey to predators like lion, cheetah or tiger all offer a cinematic view of the whole land.


There are micro aircrafts for hire which tourists can avail though costly it is worth the money, as no where else in the world you can see a lion running after a herd of dears or a group of bisons numbering more than thousands grazing free! There are numerous agencies who arrange safaris both on elephants and walking; these facilities demand certain amount of physique, courage and endurance, because a confrontation with a rhino cannot be totally ruled out! Thinking of a ‘wild’ vacation? Come to the Victoria Falls and the surrounding National Park and see animals and Mother Nature as fresh as the time when god almighty created them.

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