The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya are situated on the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, (17°55’1″S, 25°51’0″E) and are roughly 1.7 km (1 mile) wide and 128 m (420 ft) high. They are considered a remarkable spectacle because of the peculiar narrow slot-like chasm into which the water falls, so one can view the falls face-on.
David Livingstone, a Scottish explorer, visited the falls in 1855 and renamed them after Queen Victoria, though they were known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, the “smoke that thunders”. The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, and are one of Southern Africa’s major tourist attractions. They are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vastly larger than North America’s Niagara Falls, Victoria is only rivalled by South America’s Iguazu Falls (excluding large rapid like falls such as Livingston de Chutes). Whilst Iguazu is divided into over 270 (relatively) ‘small’ falls and cataracts, Victoria is the largest single sheet of water in the world , over 100 metres tall, and over one mile wide. During the wet season the falls have over 500 million litres (19 million cubic feet) of water falling over its crest line each minute, and spray from this rises hundreds of metres into the air because of the incredible force of the falling water.
In the wet season, the river discharges as much as 9,100 m³/s of water. At this time, the water rolls over the main falls in an unbroken expanse. The dry season may see the falls diminish to just a few narrow cascades, with the spray and mist almost absent and the flow reduced to as little as 350 m³/s. At this time it is possible to look into the normally obscured depths of the gorge. The level of the river in the gorge varies by up to 20 metres between maximum flow in April and the end of the dry season in October.
The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. Both national parks are small, covering areas of 66 and 23 km² respectively. The national parks contain abundant wildlife including sizable populations of elephants, buffalo and giraffes. The river at this point also contains a large population of hippos. Mosi-oa-Tunya national park provides a habitat for white rhinos. The rhinos are the only white rhinos in Zambia, but are not indigenous, having been imported from South Africa. Within the park boundaries is a small cemetery, located on the site of the original British settlement in the area, Old Drift.
Please note that all trips that start or finish in Victoria Falls include a day in the town before departing/ finishing. Entrance to see the Victoria Falls is US$30.