Guide to Victoria Falls and Zambezi River in Africa

by Jules on January 18, 2013

Victoria Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each and every year, all hoping to feel the invigorating spray up against their skin. The majestic Victoria Falls lies along the Zambezi River in southern Africa between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The powerful waterfall is caused by the flood waters of the gentle Zambezi River colliding with a giant basalt cliff. The result is a powerfully huge spray that can be witnessed for miles and miles around.

History
Though Victoria Falls had been known by locals for thousands of years, the falls received its current name from Scottish explorer David Livingstone in 1855. He chose to honour the current Queen Victoria by naming the falls after her. In fact Livingstone himself will be commemorated throughout the year as his 200th birthday is celebrated on 19 March 2013.

It is the popular name of the falls to this day, though the locals gave it the name “Mosi oa Tunya” or “Cloud that Thunders”. Local indigenous populations inhabited the area of the Victoria Falls for thousands of years, and due to its easy accessibility, frequent this landmark more than any other park in Africa. It holds a special place in local culture and folklore.

What to See and Do

  • Victoria Falls Bridge: Provides a wonderful vantage point of the falls and an otherworldly experience. It is perhaps the most famous bridge in the world and a favourite for bungee jumpers.
  • View it from above: Taking a gander at Victoria Falls from above is quite an experience. Pilots offer breathtaking aerial tours of the falls from small fixed-wing aircraft daily. One of these tours is truly an experience to remember.
  • Take a walk: There are walking paths all throughout the Victoria Falls area and surrounding jungle. One trek will take you to the unique Knife’s Edge Bridge, where visitors can get an up close experience of one of the many astonishing gorges.
  • Mikuni Victoria Falls Craft Village: Here visitors can get a wonderful cultural experience by viewing hundreds of local craft items. All kinds of craft items are on display and available to purchase from local craftsman.

Wildlife
Victoria Falls is home to Victoria Falls National Park and several other surrounding parks. These unspoiled lands provide the perfect opportunity to view the wonderful African wildlife. Elephants, antelope, giraffes, zebra, and buffalo can be seen almost everywhere. An occasional lion sighting might be possible, but it is rare. Upriver from Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River is home to numerous hippos and crocodiles.

When to Visit
Visiting Victoria Falls is possible year round, but visitors wishing to see the full power of the falls should visit in late spring and early summer. This is the time of year when the flood waters from the Zambezi River are high. Victoria Falls is much tamer in the winter months. In fact, sometimes the waterfall dissipates to a small trickle.

Victoria Falls is one of the most majestic places in the world. Over 300,000 people visit the falls each year to experience its grandeur and marvel at its beauty.

By Julie Bowman

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