6 Fascinating Facts About Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Africa. When Scottish explorer David Livingstone became the first recorded European to see the waterfall in 1855 he proclaimed: "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". He named it after Queen Victoria; however, the Kalolo-Lozi people had been calling it Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders) for long before. The following facts will surely make you want to plan a visit.
The Waterfall is One of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World
While the Seven Wonders of the World showcases the incredible talents of humankind, the Seven Natural Wonders of the Natural World is a celebration of Mother Nature. Compiled in 1997, the list spans most of the world’s seven continents. Victoria Falls lines up alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Northern Lights, Mount Everest, and Paricutin cinder cone volcano.
It’s Shared Between Zambia and Zimbabwe
The falls are formed by a natural gorge situated almost halfway along the 1,599-mile long Zambezi river, which acts as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls Bridge crosses high above the river and is both a popular viewpoint and a heavily transited road, with hundreds of cars, cyclists, pedestrians, and trains crossing between the two countries every day. Both sides of the falls offer different perspectives. On the Zimbabwean side, the Victoria Falls National Park has well-marked trails that lead to wonderful views of Devil’s Cataract, Horseshoe Falls, and Rainbow Falls. Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park brings you within touching distance of the rushing water.
It's the Largest Curtain Waterfall in the World
Many claim that Victoria Falls is the world’s largest waterfall. While this isn’t technically true—it is neither the tallest nor the widest—it does possess the biggest sheet of cascading water on the planet. In its entirety, this measures an incredible 354 feet in height and 5,600 feet in width. During the course of just one single minute, some 5 million cubic meters of water spill down the falls.
You Can Swim in a Natural Infinity Pool...
Thrill-seekers will be drawn to Devil's Pool, a pool that forms naturally at the edge of the falls on the Zambian side. After jumping into the pool, the flow of the river takes you to a rock wall and a bird’s-eye view of the Zambezi. Devil’s Pool is generally accessible from mid-August to mid-January and tours depart from Victoria Falls village and the Royal Livingstone Hotel. If the pool is inaccessible, then you can try Angel’s Pool. Both are close to Livingstone Island, where David Livingstone first glimpsed this magical sight.
...And Bungee Jump Over the Zambezi River
If the pools weren’t daring enough, at the center of Victoria Falls Bridge is one of the world’s highest, and arguably most scenic, bungee jumps. A 364-feet drop and 4-second free fall brings brave jumpers face-to-face with the roaring Zambezi, where hippos swim and crocodiles loiter. Adrenaline junkies can also opt for a bridge slide and bridge swing. Go here to find out more about activities you can book at the falls.
It’s Possible to Witness a Lunar Rainbow
Rainbows are omnipresent around the waterfalls, but on full moon nights another natural phenomenon occurs. Once a month, the light of the moon is bright enough for it to disperse, reflect, and retract with the spray of the falls in the same way that sunlight creates a rainbow. Knife’s Edge Bridge, on the Zambian side, is one of the best spots to watch the "moonbow."