David Livingstone first gazed upon the spectacle of Mosi oa Tunya…a Tonga expression meaning “The Smoke that Thunders” …in 1855. He described it thus:” 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” Victoria Falls. One of the earth’s great natural wonders. It is quite simply Africa’s fourth largest river system pouring an impossible, heaving liquid avalanche into an unlikely chasm in the earth. It is the world’s most impressive waterfall by volume…twice as high as Niagara and well over twice as wide as Horseshoe. Iguazu Falls in South America is the only rival that comes anywhere close. Exploring the region is a delight for the senses. The constant, resounding, background effervescence is ever present…even in town…a constant reminder of the visceral, pounding roar that greets you in the mist and spray and chaos at the edge of the abyss near the Falls themselves.
The water begins its journey in north western Zambia. The river drains southward through a portion of Angola gathering momentum as various tributaries converge, eventually meeting the sizeable Kabompo pouring out of Barotseland and the Cuando River near Namibia’s Caprivi Strip before curling eastward and broadening just ahead of the explosive, raging maelstrom at Victoria Falls.
Activity options for the tourist are legion. From helicopter and microlight flights over the Falls to bungee jumping over the boiling Zambezi off the border bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Whitewater rafting in the insane rapids below must also most certainly rate as an adrenalin highlight for many. Incredible hotels and lodges abound as do a myriad safari options.
It is the sheer thunderous excess of the Victoria Falls themselves however that continually draws the gaze…to the gorge…to the ever-present cloud of vapour that hangs over the Zambezi’s powerful impact with the basalt bedrock below.