Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and Zambia

vcfllsThey are certainly the biggest falls in Africa and one of the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in the world.

Although named as Victoria Falls by the British explorer Dr David Livingstone after the reigning British monarch of the time, their indigenous name, Mosi-oa Tunya, is much more romantic. Meaning “the smoke that thunders” there is no smoke, just an incredible mist that is thrown up by the power of the falls which can sometimes be seen from 20 kilometres away.

There is also a Zimbabwean town here called Victoria Falls, which lies adjacent to the falls. Across the border in Zambia, which lies midstream on the Zambezi River, is Livingstone Island, from which the explorer is said to have first viewed the falls. The nearest town to the falls on the Zambian side is called Maramba, and the falls lie two thirds in Zambian territory.

To give you some idea of why Victoria Falls are so impressive, the drop is twice the height of Niagara Falls and the length of Victoria is much longer than the falls at Niagara. The sheet of water which tumbles over the falls at its peak is the single largest sheet of falling water in the world.

During its peak flow, usually in February and March each year, an impressive 540 cubic metres of water drops over the chasm each minute with a deafening roar.

The falls have such power that they are actually eating away at the basalt rock over which they flow, and it has been estimated that in just the last 2,000 years they have eaten their way almost eight kilometres up stream. Even today you can see the places where the falls used to begin their majestic drop.

Although it is worth seeing the falls from both sides of the border, the best views are to be had from Zimbabwe.

Of course, seeing the falls from both sides can be costly as you have to purchase visas in both Zimbabwe and Zambia when you cross the border. You can purchase multi-entry visas, but you need to plan your visit first to decide how often you do actually want to cross the border.

Because Victoria Falls is the premier attraction in both countries accommodation and facilities there tend to be more expensive than in other parts of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

There are many different ways to enjoy the falls from canoeing to cruising, but also by bungee jumping, abseiling, gorge-swinging, by helicopter and tram, and you can even enjoy the view whilst partaking of high tea.

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