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With a width of almost two kilometres, spray that can be seen over 40 kilometres away and a night rainbow that appears only under the light of the full moon, Victoria Falls is a truly exceptional spectacle.
This is why its Africa’s greatest wonder…
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. It’s roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls. In height and width, Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls.
When the river flow is at lower levels during the months of September to December, you can swim in a naturally formed pool known as the Devil’s Pool right on the edge of the falls. It’s the world’s most thrilling infinity pool. The natural rock wall just below the water stops you from being washed over the edge.
During a full moon, something very special happens at Victoria Falls. As the sun sets on a full moon, the light from the moon bounces off the spray and illuminates a moonbow; a rainbow during the night. The spectacle lasts from sunset to sunrise and is one of Africa’s most distinctive and striking sights.
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The others are The Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Harbour of Rio de Janeiro, Mount Everest, Polar Aurora, and Paricutin volcano.
On the Zimbabwean side of the falls lies The Victoria Falls Rainforest. This special place is home to unique plant and animal life, some of which are indigenous to the area. The environment is equally unique, as the rainforest is the only place on earth where it rains all day, every day of the year; a result of the water vapour rising from the falls.
Fun fact: 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 48 km (30 mi) away.
Victoria Falls is known as the Adventure Capital of Africa and has the dizzying array of adrenaline-soaked activities to warrant the label. Visitors can bungee jump between two countries, white water raft down grade 5 rapids, walk with rhinos and go on thrilling micro-light flights above the falls.
Image credit: Matetsi River Lodge
It’s estimated that roughly 600 million cubic litres of water hit the ground every minute at Victoria Falls. An example of its power is that during the high water level in April of 2013, four elephants trying to swim across the Zambezi River were tragically swept by the currents down the river and over the falls.
The first European to see the falls was David Livingstone, who stood on a small outcrop that was later named Livingstone Island to get better views. He later said, “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
Before exploring the area and witnessing the falls for himself, David Livingstone had already heard tales of the mighty waterfall, although at the time it wasn’t called Victoria Falls. Locals named it Mosi-oa-Tunya which means ‘The Smoke That Thunders.’ Livingstone renamed the falls in honour of Queen Victoria, but I prefer the original.
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Zambezi National Park border the falls and offer decent game viewing. But for an even better wildlife experience you can take a day trip to the nearby Chobe National Park.
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Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.
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Born in Zimbabwe passionate about Africa, this looks amazing
Born in Zimbabwe passionate about Africa this looks amazing
It looks so amazing and how are you not scared of jumping off a rock near the edge… WOW!!!
I enjoyed reading your 10 Reasons Why Victoria Falls is a Natural Wonder! It is a destination that should be on every one’s wish list.
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