Victoria Falls is a spectacular 1.05 miles wide ledge cascading nearly 145 million gallons of water a half mile down into gorge below every minute during the Zambezi River’s peak flow.
Victoria Falls is made of five different “falls”. Four of these are in Zimbabwe: The Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls. The Eastern Cataract is the fall that borders Zambia.
The Devil’s Cataract falls are about half a mile deep. They derive their name from an adjacent island in the Zambezi River where it is reported that locals used to conduct sacrificial ceremonies. With the advent of the missionaries, this practice was frowned upon and considered “devilish”, resulting in the name of the area.
The Main Falls is the point where the falls are at their most majestic. With a wide curtain of water thundering down 305 feet into the gorge below and peak water flows of 24,720,266 cubic feet per minute, throwing out a magnificent spray that continually nourishes the evergreen rainforest around the area.
This Horseshoe Falls derives it’s name from its shaped and is 311 feet deep and usually dries up at the height of the dry season between October and November. Rainbow Falls is a beautiful viewpoint getting it’s name from the rainbow that arches over the falls spray. The falls are 354 feet deep at this point, the deepest of the whole series.
The Eastern Cataract falls are situated completely on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls but have a stunning view from the Zimbabwean side as well. They are the second deepest falls of the series at 331 feet deep. A unique view of the falls below can be found by descending 73 steps into the gorge.
On the Zambia side, the David Livingstone statue can be found to the left at the end of the Falls near the spectacular Devil’s Cataract viewpoint. On 16 November 1855, Livingstone (the first Western explorer to view the Falls) wrote in his journal: “…scenes so lovely must have been gazed on by angels in their flight.”
The Boiling Pot is an area appropriately named to describe the turmoil where water from opposite sides of the falls collide in the Zambezi River and erupt furiously as it turns in a southeasterly direction, pounding through several gorges.
The Victoria Falls bridge is not only an incredible place from which to take in the sheer magnitude of the mile long face of the falls, but also a well known bungee jumping launch point for the adventurous traveler. Having been designed in England, the bridge was transported from Europe in pieces and was assembled on site, bridging the Zambezi River and linking Zimbabwe and Zambia in 1906.
Divided by the Great Zambezi River, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park sits on the Zambezi side of the falls and Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwean side. The great river forms a border between Zambia and Zimbabwe for much of its length.
Victoria Falls National Park extends along the Zambezi river from the larger Zambezi National Park to below the falls. A notable feature of the park is the rainforest which grows in the spray of the falls and is thick with unique flora and fauna. A hike through out the forests paths which wander amongst the Fig, Mahoganys not seen elsewhere in the region, liana vines and Date Palm groves provides magnificent viewpoints. Many species of birds and small mammals can be spotted beneath the protective canopy of the forest. Elephant, Cape buffalo, southern white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, eland and a variety of other antelope herds can also be seen throughout the park during drives and walking safaris.
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World and stunning to visit. Rather taking in the plummeting falls from Zambia or Zimbabwe, the bordering national parks, adventure activities and photographic opportunities are not one to be missed on and African safari.
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