Victoria Falls, A Famous Waterfall
One of the most beautiful and impressive waterfalls in the whole world, the Victoria Falls is a gigantic waterfall standing 428 feet tall, and stretches out for over a mile wide. The falls are known to the local Makololo people as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates to “the smoke that thunders”, because of the roaring sound of the water and the heavy mists it creates as a result of the turbulent water. The mist rises a mile into the air, and is seen from about 25 miles away. This fountain is one of only two known waterfalls that can create Moonbows, it is also the widest waterfall on the planet.
Moonbows are like rainbows, but are a result of the moonlight creating prisms in the mist, creating a stunning and iridescent wonder! For this to occur specific conditions have to be met this includes moonlight being unimpeded and there being no light pollution.
Victoria Falls was founded on November 17th, 1855 when Scotsman David Livingstone viewed the falls on his journey to find the mouth of the Zambezi River. He named the falls after Queen Victoria, and wrote the eloquent passage above about the falls, because he was struck in awe of them.
The water volume of the falls varies each season. During the wet season that falls may experience as much as 320,000 cubic feet per second, with water falling over the cliff in an unbroken line. The dry season in Africa can reduce the flow of water to only 125,000 cubic feet per second. The height of the wet season occurs in April, and the dry season’s peak is in October.
When viewing the falls from above it resembles a plain of water that falls into narrow rift of earth. After the water falls into the rift, it escapes through a gorge in the cliff wall opposite Victoria Falls. The gorge river creates a zigzagged course as it flows. The water meets with several islands before it reaches the falls, there are approximately four islands on the edge of the falls that basically create five separate waterfalls. One island was named Livingstone Island for the explorer who named and discovered the falls.
Victoria Falls lies on the border of two National Parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, and the Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. The Victoria Falls is visited by tourists in the hundreds of thousands annually!