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Victoria Falls – “the smoke that thunders”

The first European to view Victoria Falls, David Livingstone, was a Christian missionary who named the waterfall after his Queen, Victoria. Livingstone Island on the Zambian side of Zambezi River commemorates his discovery.

The local name of the fall, however, can be literally translated as “the smoke that thunders”. And it’s no wonder.  


Although Victoria Falls is neither the highest, nor the widest waterfall on Earth, its water curtain’s stunning grandeur have made it world’s largest fall. It’s easy to see why, having in mind that the noise it makes could be heard from a distance of 20 km (about 12 miles) while its mist rises so high and wide that it could be seen from up to 50 km (about 25 miles).

Where and when to go: Victoria Falls is located in southern Africa, on Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It’s best to visit from April to October, when waters are not that high and the falls can be closer reached.

What to see: David Livingstone famously noted that Victoria Falls are so heavenly-looking that angels must gaze upon them when flying around. The waterfall indeed provides an angelic view to the area and it’s simply mind-blowing.
Being the largest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls’ water curtain is divided into a few streams, whose currents could change throughout the year, according to the water flood. Anyway, they’re basically separated into
·         Devil’s Cataract (also Leaping Water),
·         Main Falls,
·         Rainbow Falls and
·         Eastern Cataract.


In addition, the two islands – Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) and Livingstone Island, roughly divide the water stream into three parallel parts.
There are also five main gorges, serving for different purposes. For example,
·         the first gorge consists of the Zambezi River,
·          the second one is famous for its deep pool – the Boiling Pot,
·         The third gorge contains the power station and so on.

What to do:

Devil’s pool (the Armchair) is a famous spot for tourists seeking adventure. It is kind of a natural pool, right on the edge of the waterfall on Livingstone Island (Zambia). Needless to say, this spot is extremely dangerous and you never know when the flow could become a bit more powerful and sweep you down the falls.

Anyway, if you’re into this kind of entertainment, it’s best to visit between August and January (the dry season) when the current is at its minimum and a rock barrier is formed where the water cascades over the edge, making it safer to swim around (and take selfies).

Helicopter flights – take a bird’s eye view at the impressive misty falls and their grandeur.

Bungee jumping, gorge swing, cliff climbing/abseiling, white water rafting and canoeing – for all adventure seekers who are truly outdoorsy at heart and for whom simply pondering at the waterfall’s beauty just isn’t enough. Jump off the Victoria bridge right into the raging waters, swing above the thunders, climb upwards while beneath you stunning swirls thunder ravingly or fly upon the river waters in a mad chase of speed and time.

Walking with lions – merge into the everyday lives of African lions and be part of their pride in this unique adventure.

Go on a safari – walk among African bushes, see indigenous animals in their natural habitats, feed the elephants while at the same time admiring the Victoria Falls’ unmatched grandeur. Do it on foot, riding on elephant or horse back or even biking.

Romantic – go on a sunset cruise, bridge tour or watch the “moon rainbow” hovering above the mist.


National parks

There are two national parks on both sides of the falls –
·         Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia) and
·         Victoria Falls National Park (Zimbabwe).

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – located on Livingstone Island in Zambia, this park is relatively small. Apart from the great waterfall, here you get the chance to taste the genuine African wildlife – walk around rainforests and grasslands, see for real fig trees, ebony and ivory palm, meet giraffes, zebras, buffalos, antelopes, even elephants, plus all kinds of exotic birds. Hippopotamus, crocodiles and monkeys are also quite common, seen in their natural habitats.

An interesting feature in this park is the Old Drift cemetery, eternal home of the first European settlers in this side of Africa, most of who died of a mysterious illness (probably malaria).

There’s also the statue of David Livingstone and a plaque, commemorating his great discovery.
The Knife-Edge Bridge is a magnificent structure, allowing you to get on foot to Rainbow Falls’ cliffs and to the Boiling Pot itself. From here you get full panorama to the stunning African nature and the waterfall’s heart-throbbing impressiveness.

The park is relatively small and could be explored on foot, so don’t miss the chance to walk around the steep gorges’ tops and see Africa at its best.

Discover Africa

Victoria Falls National Park – located in Zimbabwe, on the banks of the great Zambezi river, this park is also not that big but full of intriguing attractions and exciting activity opportunities.
The huge rainforest here, lush from the waterfalls’ misty sprays, full of lianas, ferns, mahogany trees and palms is definitely worth visiting.

How to travel:
The world-famous landmark can be reached through the two bordering towns – Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone (Zambia).

They are easily accessible by car, bus, train and airplane and provide everything necessary for a nice vacation. Day trips to and from the two countries are available, making it quite simple to get around without having to acquire visa cards beforehand. Visas can be obtained on the very borders but it’s good to check the visa rules’ updates first.

The Victoria Falls Bridge is the boundary linking the two countries above the magnificent river and just below the great waterfall. It’s built over the second gorge and has border posts on both sides, for each country.


Comparison: Victoria Falls is said to be world’s largest waterfall – by height and length combined. Anyway, it’s not higher than Angel Falls, but it’s almost twice as high as the Niagara Falls (1,708 m/5,604 feet) and it’s comparable only to Iguazu Fall’s width.

Useful tips: There’s a variety of accommodations both in the National Parks (including campsites) and in the adjacent towns, which are quite tourist-oriented.

Post by Angella Grey, the marketing manager at The Vacation Rentals Experts – an online and offline digital marketing agency that creates marketing solutions for vacation rentals, holiday homes and brands.

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