Travel Zimbabwe - 10 truly amazing things about Victoria Falls

This is exactly what I call perfect timing. The very moment I buy my ticket at the entrance of the Vic Falls National Park in Zimbabwe it starts raining. "Oh dear, I drove here all the way from Cape Town to see the falls and now it rains." I make a pitiful face, but the lady at the counter looks at me and smiles brightly. At first, I think how rude of her, but only until she says: "Young lady, these are no raindrops. The water you feel on your skin is the spray from the falls."
We call them Victoria Falls, named after Queen Victoria, and we believe they have been discovered by Livingstone, or to be more precise Livingstone was the first person to see them. Hang on, there have sure people been living in this area long before this guy arrived. A guy at a local café tells me “Of course we knew the falls before Mr Livingstone visited.” 

Mosi-o-Tunya - the smoke that thunders

The findings of artifacts made from stone used by Homo habilis (translates from Latin as able/skillful human) approximately 2 Million years ago testify this. They were not that closely related to humans as we know them today but close enough to the species. 250,000 years ago the people living in the area left tools like stone spears behind, and also stone scrapes to prepare hides. 

Tools found dating roughly 40,000 years back were more and more diverse, craftsmen were using stones, and in addition bones or similar to build tools. Bantu (people) speaking communities moved in as early as 2500 years ago. More and more local tribes, like the Batswana and Makololo moved into the area over the many years to follow, and named the falls Mosi-o-Tunya “the smoke that thunders.”

Large waterfall under a low grey sky.

Everyone knows how wonderful it is to meet local people while travelling. How often do you hear someone saying the following sentence? “The best thing about travelling is the people I meet along the way.” Right, you and all the others are not alone. Knowing someone from the local Makololo tribe, who guided Livingstone to the falls, became his advantage in 1855. And as they say, the rest is history. 

Why the falls can’t be called by their indigenous name Mosi-o-Tunya?

Although there are rumours that a French cartographer already had found the falls before Livingstone, even if he had, he didn’t get any credit for it. Truly exciting times for all of the likes of Livingstone, but I also wonder why the falls can’t be called by their indigenous name Mosi-o-Tunya? Just imagine your ancestors would have lived around Victoria Falls for millions of years and out of a sudden, someone comes along and names them after a Queen of a country you never heard of in your whole life. This was all long before Google and Facebook told us everything, remember?

10 truly amazing things about Victoria Falls

When best to visit Victoria Falls depends on what you like

 March and April: Peak flood season, the falls are in their full power. Water spray is everywhere and can be as high as 400 metres, the falls are best to be viewed from a helicopter.

November and December: The falls are at their lowest, one has got a pretty good view of them and there are even spots where no water flows over the edge of the rim.

The sheer size of the Victoria Falls

The water of the Zambezi River falls over a basalt cliff through several gorges, which have a height of 108 metres and a width of 1688 metres.

Victoria Falls - One waterfall, two countries

The waterfall on the Zambezi River borders Zimbabwe and Zambia and can be visited from both sides.

Victoria Falls Town

On the southern bank of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, there is a town called Victoria Falls, it is only a short walk from the Victoria Falls.

Yellow fever certificate

Travellers from Zambia to South Africa must provide a yellow fever certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa, this also includes transit through an airport in South Africa. Travellers without a valid certificate will be denied entry.

6 sections of the Victoria Falls

There are islands in the crest of the fall which divide the fall into six sections (depending on the water level): Boaruka Island (Cataract Island), Livingstone Island, devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls, Eastern Cataract.

Victoria Falls Bridge

The Victoria Falls Bridge spans over the Bakota Gorge and is 111 meters high. The bungee jumpers are right between the two countries and have to carry their passport.

Victoria Falls are UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ever since 1989, the Victoria Falls has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with that belong to everyone in this world. What a lovely gift this is.

Victoria Falls Rainforest

There is a rainforest directly at the falls and that purely because of the constant spray in the air. The density and growth of the forest depend solely on the waterfall.

Natural wonder of the world

The Victoria Falls together with Mount Everest, Great Barrier Reef, Aurora Borealis, Grand Canyon, Paricutin, Harbour of Rio de Janeiro form the 7 natural wonders of the world.

Dense greenery.

A rainbow over a waterfall.

Dense spray of a waterfall.

Stone statue of Livingstone.
Mr Livingstone - good to know a local

Waterfall flowing over boulders, rocks and dense greenery.

Bridge spanning over river.

Info Victoria Falls National Park  

Conservation fees: USD 30 for international visitors, USD 20 for regional visitors, USD 10 for residents of Zimbabwe, USD 7 for citizens of Zimbabwe. Gate hours: 6am to 6pm. Free parking a few steps from the gate is available

Have you ever visited a waterfall? Where was it? Is there anything you would like to add to this list? How do you feel about the name Victoria Falls?

From Berlin with love