Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is clearly visible from the Zimbabwean side, which also has the town Victoria Falls named after the falls.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America's Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil's Iguazu Falls.
For a considerable distance upstream from the falls, the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt, in a shallow valley, bounded by low and distant sandstone hills. The river's course is dotted with numerous tree-covered islands, which increase in number as the river approaches the falls. There are no mountains, escarpments, or deep valleys; only a flat plateau extending hundreds of kilometres in all directions.
The Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. The Local people call it "Mosi-oa-Tunya", the smoke that thunders and is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
There is a magic about them manifested in the towering column of spray when the river is high, the thunder of the falling water, the terrifying abyss and tranquil lagoons upstream in which hippo and deadly crocodiles lurk.
The Victoria Falls is 1 708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic metres of water plummet over the edge every minute.
Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860's. The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialization.
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Statistically speaking, it is the largest waterfall in the world. This recognition comes from combining the height and width together to create the largest single sheet of flowing water. Livingstone named the falls after the reigning queen at the time.
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), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 50 km (30 miles) away.
During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain, especially at Zambia's Knife-Edge Bridge.
As the dry season takes effect, the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous, and in September to January up to half of the rocky face of the falls may become dry and the bottom of the First Gorge can be seen along most of its length. The minimum flow, which occurs in November, is around a tenth of the April figure.
The Victoria Falls were formed more than 70 000 years ago after the gushing water of the Zambezi River, which flowed over hard basalt with large cracks filled with weaker sandstone, eroded the softer rock to create a deep chasm which became a waterfall.
Victoria Falls has a rich history, with evidence of dinosaurs in the region as far back as 200 million years ago, followed by now extinct mammals such as buffalo with 3m horns, a short-necked giraffe with antlers and the African mammoth elephant.
A large collection of late Stone Age tools has also been found around Victoria Falls, showing evidence of early man. The early Homo Sapiens in the area were San Bushmen and after the Bantu Migration down from west and east Africa, they were joined by the Tonga, Lozi and latterly the Nambya people, before the Ndebele came up from the south.
In 1855 Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone became the first European to see Victoria Falls and named them after his Queen, bringing them to the attention of the world, after which the falls became a major tourist attraction.
There are several wildlife viewing opportunities in Victoria Falls. A favourite for locals and visitors alike is the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge waterhole, where a sundowner may be enjoyed on the viewing deck or at the Buffalo Bar as elephant, buffalo, kudu and other wildlife also quench their thirst.
Victoria Falls town is uniquely located within Victoria Falls National Park, and it is not uncommon to share the footpath with a vervet monkey with a baby on its back, or a family of warthogs!
Game drives in the nearby Zambezi National Park offer the opportunity to see lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and several species of antelope.
Game viewing is best during the dry season between July and October, when there is less water around and animals congregate at waterholes. Wildlife is also easier to spot during this time as the bush is not so thick and lush.
Victoria Falls is part of the richest wildlife estate on the planet, with other excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in the region including Hwange National Park, Chobe National Park, while slightly further afield is the Okavango Delta and Kafue National Park.
If you are looking for a spectacular experience visit Victoria Falls today.