THE VICTORIA FALLS OF THE ZAMBEZI RIVER – A MAGNET FOR VISITORS
(Posted 18th November 2016)
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has used the opportunity of the opening in the morning of the completely modernized Victoria Falls International Airport to once again highlight one of the country’s most visible attractions, the Victoria Falls of the Zambezi River.
The Falls are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, an acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest waterfall in the world, iconic and magnificent. The Zambezi River is the fourth largest river in Africa and it borders Zambia and Zimbabwe as do the water falls.
Victoria Falls is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya in the local language meaning ‘The Smoke That Thunders’. The thundering noise of the Victoria Falls can be heard from quite a distance, while the spray and mist from the falling water rises to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from afar as one is approaching the rainforest.
When to explore
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft) and its height of 108 meters (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than hundred meters. The water level varies throughout the year. It is at its peak in April, at the end of the rainy season when on average 500,000,000 liters of water cascade down and it is at its lowest level in October and early November. Each season offers a different feel to the experience. One would imagine the rainy season with more water would make the falls magnifique but the mist in the air at that time of year makes it almost impossible to see the base of the falls and taking pictures and videos can be a challenge for visitors.
June, July and August are thought to be the best times to view the falls as water levels are still high enough to show the awesome wonder in full splendor as there is less spray and more visibility of the river below and the top of the falls.
The dry season presents more of rock face on the Zambian side of the falls however; it brings on unique, adventure thumping activities of walking across the falls and swimming on the edge popularly known as the Devils Pool. So in a nutshell Victoria Falls, anytime of the year, will be a huge spectacle for visitors.
As one walks down a path towards the Falls, a veritable tropical jungle hems visitors in: tall swaying trees and thick branches and leaves cutting off the sunlight trying to sneak its way in. Mist and water drops sit on or droop thick green leaves, glinting like diamonds. The air is thick with moisture and the ground damp from the waterfall spray, while all around a thunderous roar hits the ears making one quick to understand the local name of the falls, ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. The noise increases with each step one takes towards the falls. There are various viewing points on the Zimbabwean side which provide visitors with the complete panoramic view of the falls.
Interestingly, during the dry season the water level in the Zambezi River drops sharply, and it becomes possible to walk through some parts of the waterfall adding onto the to-do list of the world’s adventure capital.
The Victoria Falls were first marketed to the world by the Scottish missionary and famous explorer David Livingstone in 1855 and named it after his Queen Victoria. ‘…..…scenes so lovely must have been gazed by angels on their flight‘ is how well he described the awe inspiring falls. The falls are a fine example of breathtaking power and splendid beauty wrapped up in one package – a place which everyone should try see at least once in their life time, in other words a bucket list item for everyone. Notably is the view from the air most impressive and can be accomplished by a flight with a helicopter. There is a fair chance to view game as one takes this amazing experience.
What to do
The Falls themselves are not the only attraction in the area, with over 50 activities to choose from, Victoria Falls truly earned the name as the worlds adventure capital. From adrenaline rush activities which include the 111 meter bungee jump from The Victoria Falls Bridge, white water rafting in the Zambezi river gorge, crocodile cage diving to high wire activities over the gorges. The power of an adrenaline boost is ready to be unleashed on anyone who dares try. More sedate activities which include sunset cruises experiencing the breathtaking African sunset, golfing, game viewing, canoeing or simply relaxing having a cocktail or high tea overlooking the Falls are but a few activities one can choose from.
A visit to the village adds to the list of the activities cultural enthusiasts would enjoy. Stop and gaze at century old majestic Baobab trees or be mesmerized by a pride of lions tussling over a morning kill or maybe just give way to herd of elephant crossing the road, such is the way of life in our world of wonders – in harmony with nature. Nearby national parks too beckon for visitors to enjoy a safari game drive from their base at Victoria Falls.
Where to stay
Accommodation facilities range from backpackers camps to luxurious 5 star hotels and resorts, making Victoria Falls the address for discerning travelers but equally for those travelling on a budget.
Excellent conferencing facilities too are offered within the resort town which has emerged as a popular incentive and conference travel destination.
Welcome, Tigashire, Sethule to Zimbabwe – A World of Wonders
There are certain places on earth you just have to experience for yourself, places so unique in landscape and so rich in culture and heritage that only a firsthand encounter will do them justice.
So why not visit and share experience Zimbabwe’s unique and diverse cultures, warmth, hospitality and friendliness.