standard Victoria Falls , the largest waterfall in the world

The Victoria Falls , the largest waterfall in the world , is  located on the Zambezi River in Africa between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls has a width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft) and height of 108 meters (354 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world.

Victoria Falls

Rainbow over Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls is also one of the  most famous waterfall , considered by some to be among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World . Victoria Falls of Zambia and Zimbabwe is one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonder, and it appeals to travelers all across the globe. The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialization.

History

victoria falls

Victoria Falls at Sunset

The history of Victoria Falls does not go back too far from now, as it was only discovered in November of 1855 by David Livingstone. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, was the first European recorded to view the Victoria Falls from the place now called ‘Livingstone Island’ in Zambia.  David Livingstone gave the falls the name ‘Victoria Falls’ in honor of his Queen, but the indigenous name of ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya‘ , meaning the ‘Smoke that Thunders’  is also well known.

Wildlife

The national parks contain abundant wildlife including sizable populations of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and a variety of antelope. Lion and leopard are only occasionally seen. Vervet monkeys and baboons are common. The river above the falls contains large populations of hippopotamus and crocodile.

Klipspringers and clawless otters can be glimpsed in the gorges, but they are mainly known for 35 species of raptors. The Taita Falcon, Black Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Augur Buzzard breed there. Above the falls, herons, Fish Eagles and numerous kinds of waterfowl are common.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls - Rainbow

The river is home to 39 species of fish below the falls and 89 species above it, mostly black cod and slippery trout. This illustrates the effectiveness of the falls as a dividing barrier between the upper and lower Zambezi.

Activities

Victoria Falls is the biggest waterfall in the whole world, and it serves as a safari gateway for Southern Africa. The falls has become a very popular place for visitors to go white water rafting, river boarding, and even bungee jumping. The downstream rapids of the river after the falls provide some of the scariest river boarding and white water rafting for beginners, as well as those who have experience, than anywhere else.

Devil's Pool - Victoria Falls

Devil's Pool - Victoria Falls

Bungee jumpers also enjoy the thrill of Victoria Falls, where they can jump down 111 meters off of the bridge by the falls, which was just recently named the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. Aside from rafting and bungee jumping, however, visitors can also enjoy bird watching, aerial trips on a helicopter, walking trails, shopping, etc. as well.

A famous feature is a naturally formed pool known as the Devil’s Pool, near the edge of the falls, accessed via Livingstone Island in Zambia. When the river flow is at a safe level, usually during the months of September and December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls within the pool without continuing over the edge and falling.  This is possible due to a natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the falls that stops their progress despite the current. Even so,  visitors must be careful as an average of one person per year dies while swimming in Devil’s Pool.

Tourist information

By the end of the 1990s, almost 300,000 people were visiting the falls annually, and this was expected to rise to over a million in the next decade. The two countries permit tourists to make day trips from one side to the other without the necessity of obtaining a visa in advance.

The numbers of visitors to the Zimbabwean side of the falls has historically been much higher than the number visiting the Zambia side, due to the greater development of the visitor facilities there.

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