Victoria Falls, The Smoke That Thunders

The Victoria Falls are the magnificent sight of breath-taking grandeur and beauty on the Zambezi River, along the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. They are believed to be the part of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and considered to be the largest waterfall amongst all. In the modern times they are very popular as ‘The Greatest Known Curtain of the Falling Water’ that grabs the attention of so many people and force them to take cheap flights to Harare and then take a domestic flight to Victoria Falls to have the panoramic view of the most be-witching and picturesque scenery of the world.

The Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone, was the first one to observe the Victoria Falls from the Island of Zambia which is named after him as ‘Livingstone Island’, the only place which is approachable in the centre of the falls. To honour and respect the queen, the explorer gave it the name ‘Victoria’ but now it is commonly called as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ which means ‘Smoke that Thunders’. With the height of about 354 feet and width of approximately 5,604 feet, the falls form the greatest aqua sheet of the world.

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

The strings of spray are visible from miles, around 546 million cubic meters water, falling over the fringe, with a width of approximately 2 kilometres into a steep rocky passage almost 100 metres below. The river channel is speckled with woody islands and you will surprised to see that there are no deep valleys, escarpments or mountains that are supposed to form a waterfall but only a smooth plateau , stretching many kilometres in every direction. The broad basalt hill, over which the great falls roar, modifies the Zambezi from a placid and a calm river to an extremely savage and wild turbulent-stream that cuts through an array of jaw-dropping ravines.

The gorges are categorized as the first gorge (360 feet wide and the river falls directly into it), second gorge (a sharp turn that has engraved a deep still-water body called as Boiling Pot and it comprises the Victoria Falls Bridge and the length of about 2.15 kilometres), third gorge (it contains the Victoria Falls Power Station and has the length of about 1.9 kilometres), fourth gorge( 2.25 kilometres in length), fifth gorge (3.2 kilometres in length), Songwe gorge( it has taken its name from the river of Songwe that originates from the north-eastern side and has the depth of about 460 feet) and Batoka gorge (it has the length of about 120 kilometres and enters the valley where Lake Kariba is located).

The author of the book ‘Zambezi, River of Africa’, Jumbo Williams has mentioned in the book ‘The first impression was unmistakable; immense power, the raw energy unleashed when the entire Zambezi leaps wildly into a black two kilometre wide abyss. The scale is massive, the spectacle spellbinding and perpetually changing. The falls hiss and roar as if possessed, they rumble and crash like thunder. Vast clouds spew and billow out from the seething cauldron of its dark impenetrable depths. The moving water creates a magnetism that sucks you closer, so that you recoil in horror to quench a subliminal sacrificial urge’.

The tourism actually started here with the construction of the Victoria Falls Bridge and now you can observe the falls while standing on foot, or can have an aerial view with helicopters and some enthusiastic and daring travellers can throw them off the bridge with bungi jumping-an ultimate and unforgettable experience. Besides, you can also go for a paved and well-marked walk on the Knife Edge Bridge along the rain forests. The visit to this magical area is truly valuable and the mesmerizing falls will undoubtedly leave you in awe.

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