A massive sheet of water
Did you know Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River is twice the height of the Niagara Falls? Amazingly you can hear the colossal tumble of water from about 25 miles away! This mighty feat of nature is locally known as “mosi-oa-tunya”, meaning “the smoke that thunders.” See the plumes of mist rising 1,600 feet into the air and hear the deafening sound of 120 million gallons of water per minute, drop 354 feet. It should come as no surprise, the falls are considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Where is all starts
All this water starts peacefully at the upper reaches of the Zambezi River. When it reaches the falls, it is 1 mile wide and scattered with small islands. Then, the world’s widest uninterrupted waterfall tumbles into a deep chasm just 195 feet wide. The rocks here were formed from a great sheet of basaltic lava over 200 million years ago. They cooled and cracked, and the fissures filled with softer sediments. About half a million years ago when the Zambezi River first began to flow, it eroded one of these cracks, and so the first gorge was created.
Teeming with wildlife – where to get the best view
The tranquil lagoons of the Zambezi River upstream from the falls are home to hippos and crocodiles. Walk along the paths through the spray-generated rain-forests where visitors may see elephant, buffalo and giraffe. If you brave the tremendous spray, you will certainly have unparalleled views of the falls. Another special vantage point is across the Knife-Edge Bridge. Visitors here can see the finest views of the Eastern Cataract, the Main Falls, as well as the Boiling Pot. This is also where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge.
The brave Scotsman
It was the Scottish missionary, Dr. David Livingstone who saw and no doubt heard the Victoria Falls in 1855 when he was exploring the Zambezi River. He approached the falls upstream in a canoe. Seeing a great plume of misty spray in the distance, he wisely landed on one of the islands at the edge of the waterfall. This island is now called Livingstone Island. Creeping to the edge of the chasm (can you just imagine) Livingstone was astonished to see the massive Zambezi River disappear into a crack in the Earth. He was so impressed he named the falls in honor of the reigning English Queen, Victoria.
In the words of Dr. David Livingstone
” Creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambezi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet and then became suddenly compressed into a space of fifteen to twenty yards….the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.”
Of the surrounding area he wrote: “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight” (Livingstone 1857).
We can only imagine his excitement to make such a daring discovery.
Discovering Victoria Falls for yourself
See, hear and get a little wet by visiting one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” for yourself. Blue Danube Holidays have five luxury African safari cruises available from February to November in 2019, 2020 & 2021. All five cruises visit the spectacular Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The unique Eco-friendly Zambezi Queen carries a maximum of 28 passengers. The pace is unhurried as your luxury cruise showcases precious wildlife, gracious hospitality and the best of the colorful culture of the African continent.
Contact us for more details.