Victoria Falls is a majestic waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River and lies at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Scottish missionary and explorer, David Livingstone, is believed to have been the first European to view the falls in 1855. He named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria.
During the Jurassic period, volcanic activity resulted in lava deposits in large parts of southern Africa. As the lava cooled down, clay and lime deposits settled over it. In the next millions of years, the course of the river Zambezi cut through the softer rocks and created the first series of waterfalls which were to become the predecessors of the Victoria Falls.
Evidence of human habitat dating back to 50,000 years ago have been found near the falls. Artifacts from the Middle and Late Stone age including weapons, ornaments and tools have been found in the area. The area has been inhabited by Khoisan, Bantum, Matabele , Batswana and Makololo tribes through the course of human history.
The first European to see the Victoria Falls was David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer, sometime in 1855 from what is now known as the Livingstone Island. He named it Victoria Falls in honor of Queen Victoria of England. The indigenous name of the falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya (meaning “the smoke that thunders”) and is still in use.
Though the Victoria Falls is not the tallest, it is considered the largest by the virtue of its width of 1708 m. The river Zambezi flows on a level plain for a considerable distance in a shallow valley, without high mountains or deep ravines. Just before it makes the jump, it passes through a flat plateau, making the widest sheet of falling water in the world. The spray from the falls rises upward like an inverted rain to a height of 400 m or more and is visible from a distance of up to 50 km.
The Victoria Falls National Park, extending from the Zambezi National Park covers an area of 23.4 square km and protects the banks of the Zambezi river around the stretch of the falls.
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia is a twin of the Victoria Falls National Park and hosts most of the flora and fauna of the region. It is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|When to visit||Dec to Mar||High volume of Water|
|Apr to Oct||Low Volume of Water|
|Visa Charges to cross border||Zambia – Zimbabwe – Zambia||$30 + $20|
|Zimbabwe – Zambia – Zimbabwe||$20 – $15|
|Get In||By Air||Nearest Airport is Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) with daily flights form Johannesburg and within Zimbabwe.|
|By Train||Nearest Railways Stations is Victoria Falls. Take the overnight train from Bulawayo. This trip has best scenery.Tickets: First Class ($12), Second Class ($8)|
|By Road||One can take a bus or car on the road from Bulawayo. Roads are not very good though. The route from South Africa via Beit Bridge is better.|
|Victoria Falls is cash only. Nearest ATMs in Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls Town|
Photo Courtesy – devil’s cataract, flickr
Have you visited the Victoria Falls? Share your review with us.