Victoria Falls: “The Smoke That Thunders”

Victoria Falls (Lozi: Mosi-oa-Tunya, “The Smoke That Thunders”; Tonga: Shungu Namutitima, “Boiling Water”) is a waterfall on the Zambezi River in southern Africa, which provides habitat for several unique species of plants and animals. It is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is considered to be one of the world’s largest waterfalls

Words frequently fail to capture the grandeur of Victoria Falls, but if you were to look for an apt description, you probably wouldn’t find better than its Kololo name ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, which roughly translates to ‘the smoke that thunders’. Spanning nearly two kilometres and dropping about 108 metres, this UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site is the largest waterfall in the world

Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site which describes it as the” largest curtain of falling water in the world.” It is a major tourist attraction for both Zambia and Zimbabwe and local businesses in each country compete to have visitors come to their side of the falls.

The storied falls stretch for a kilometer across the border with a drop of some 110 meters. It was renamed for Britain’s Queen Victoria by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone in 1855 who described it in his writing as one of the most beautiful sights he had witnessed.

In 2017, Victoria Falls was the third most visited falls in the world with 500 000 visitors, after Niagara Falls in the US (12 million) and Iguazu Falls in Brazil (1,7 million). The fall runs on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe and both countries benefit from the tourist attraction. Tourists to the falls are often able to walk across the border to either country.

While Victoria Falls is a fantastic destination all year round, different season soffer vastly different experiences. During the rainy season (from December to March), the Zambezi’s water is at its highest and the Falls are at their most dramatic. The high water volume, however, also drapes the Falls in a cloud of spray—which makes sightseeing a little bit trickier, though no one seems to mind meandering around this misty realm. During the dry seasons (from April to October) when the water is lower, one can get a better view of its dramatic precipices.

Devil’s Pool

While it looks as if these visitors to Victoria Falls are flirting with disaster, swimming in the Devil’s Pool is not quite as dangerous as it looks, thanks to an underwater lip. Located on the Zambia side of the falls, the pool is only accessible during the dry season from August to January.

After thousands of years of erosion, many rock pools have formed near the great Victoria Falls – and one of them… right on the very edge! Devil’s Pool – with a sheer drop and a up-close-and-personal view of the sheer drop off the side of the falls – is indeed the ultimate infinity pool!

It takes a rocky walk and swim in the Zambezi to reach the pool before slipping into the adrenalin-pumping swimming hole. Those fearless enough leap into the pool and get pushed to the edge by the force of the river, with the rock lip bringing them to a halt as the raging waters of the Zambezi crash over the cliffs a few feet away.

The view from the edge is totally exhilarating as you feel the force of the Zambezi flowing past you and crashing down over the precipice; a hundred-meter drop.

The over 500-million-litres of water that cascade over the falls every minute are not to be messed with, so as a safety precaution – guides are available at the entrance of the falls to accompany you to the pool.

Devil’s Pool is usually open between August and January – but this all depends on current water levels

Read also: History of Victoria Falls (Pre-colonial)

Here’s a video of the Majestic Vic falls. Watch the smoke that thunders.

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