by Matthew Sterne on July 24, 2017
3 min read

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…

1. It’s the Largest Waterfall in the World

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.

2. The Amazing Devil’s Pool

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.

3. The Lunar Rainbow

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.

4. Official Natural Wonder

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.

Victoria Falls with a rainbow

5. The Only Rainforest in the World with Constant Rain

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.

6. Adventure Capital of Africa

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.

The view of Victoria Falls from the Matetsi River Lodge

Image credit: Matetsi River Lodge

7. Sheer Volume and Power

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.

8. Gazed Upon by Angels in Their Flight

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.”

Victoria Falls as viewed from above

9. The Smoke That Thunders

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.

10. Wildlife on its Doorstep

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.

Sun sets behind Victoria Falls