Called Mosi-oa-Tunya “the smoke that thunders” by locals due to the spray of the falls which can clearly be seen from a 30km distance, Victoria Falls is dubbed one of the Seven Wonders Of The World. It was discovered and made known to the outside world in November 1855 by David Livingstone, a Scottish explorer and the first European to visit the falls.
The falls is located on the Zambezi river, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and spans 1700 meters in width with a volume of averageĺy 500,000 cubic metres per minute falling down its vertical drop of about 100 metres, a measurement which is still being scrutinized as it has been said that the water is constantly eroding the soil beneath it as it takes its plunge. The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April. The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 ft).
Victoria falls is made of four main gorges namely: The First Gorge which the river falls into at Victoria Falls; Second Gorge : 250 m south of falls, 2.15 km long (270 yd south, 2350 yd long), spanned by the Victoria Falls Bridge; Third Gorge : 600 m south, 1.95 km long (650 yd south, 2100 yd long), containing the Victoria Falls Power Station; Fourth Gorge : 1.15 km south, 2.25 km long (1256 yd south, 2460 yd long); Fifth Gorge : 2.55 km south, 3.2 km long (1.5 mi south, 2 mi (3.2 km) long); Songwe Gorge : 5.3 km south, 3.3 km long, (3.3 mi south, 2 mi (3.2 km) long) named after the small Songwe River coming from the north-east, and the deepest at 140 m (460 ft), the level of the river in them varies by up to 20 meters (65 ft) between wet and dry seasons.
The Victoria falls are relatively safe, as death rates are low, about 25 over a 30year period, a sharp contrast from Niagara falls which witness approximately 25 deaths per year. Deaths may be caused by suicide (there have been a number of suicide cases at Victoria Falls), murder and accident. Accidents may be caused by tourist boats toppling over the falls. One case is always referred to of Mrs Moss and Mr Orchard whose canoe was capsized by a hippopotamus in 1910.
The falls can be approached from either Zimbabwe or Zambia. Although, Zimbabwe offers a better view of the falls as 75 percent of the falls are in Zimbabwe, most tourists prefer to go view the falls through Zambia as they have better tourist provisions like tour guides etc. However, choosing which country to view the falls from can make a huge difference in the experience the tourist gets. The Zambia side which sees lesser volume of water also has a naturally formed “Armchair” now occasionally called “Devil’s Pool” which is formed by a rock barrier just a few feet from the edge of the falls. Tourists with the supervision of tour guides swim in this “devil’s pool” as it is relatively safe.
Wildlife at the falls consist of Hippopotamus, Crocodiles and also fishes of different species. There are approximately 75 different species of fish at the fall, 35 being below and 55 above.