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Natural Wonders of the World

Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning "the smoke that thunders" and known otherwise as The Victoria Falls, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of The Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

 We were there in Oktober, during the low water season from September to December. The eastern side of the falls then dry up almost completely. Approximatly 10 million litres per minute go over the edge compared to 500 million litres during high water between April and June. During high water the spray is so thick that it obstructs the view. The best time to visit the falls is said to be either from January to March or from July to September, in truth however the best time is whenever you can. 

 

The falls are 1200 kilometers from the main source of the Zambesi in northern Zambia. They are 1708 meters wide and between 62 and 108 meters high. The Zambesi is the fourth longest river in Africa, after the Nile, the Congo and the Niger. It flows through 6 countries, Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and into the Indian Ocean 1500 kilometers after the falls. The Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone discovered the falls in 1855 whilst travelling along the Zambesi and named them after the Queen. 

The Livingstone Statue dominates the far west of the falls and overlooks the Devil's Cataract. From here a paved footpath with 16 view points leads through the rain forest,  along and opposite the main falls, to the bridge in the east and back. The Devil's Cataract was allegedly so named so by missionaries after observing the locals sacrificing a goat to their rainbow god. The rainbow can be seen looking back from Danger Point at best. At full moon the moonbow must be especially impressive. Unfortunatly we didn't get to see it. 

The path passes directly opposite the main falls. The spray wasn't too bad and the view magnificent. Getting wet is unavoidable but probably nothing like crossing Knifes Edge Bridge on the Zambian side where at high water you get drenched. The falls are only a short walk from the Victoria Falls Rest Camp, our campsite. We made sure that we were shortly after six at the entrance and thus managed to avoid the crowds untill later in the day. Inspite of the low water we had not seen as many bus loads of tourists since Karnak. Across the void we were baffled by a couple enjoying their Champagne in the Devil's Pool, right on the very edge of the water. 

Livingsone Island is reputed to be the place where Livingstone landed in his canoe and first saw the falls. From here the east falls ( Rainbow Falls, Horseshoe Falls and the East Cataract) were now dry. They are best seen from Danger Point, so called because the rocks here are very slippery at high water. 

The bridge over the Zambesi marks the furthest eastern part of the falls on the Zimbabwian side. It was built in 1905 by the Cleveland Bridge Co, Darlington, County Durham. The river marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and there are border posts at each end. In the middle of the bridge is a bungee jumping platform for the more ambitious tourist. It is possible to buy a day visa and cross the ´bridge in order to see the falls from both sides.

Just north of Victoria Falls and well worth the five minute drive from town is a wonderful Baobab, apptly named The Big Tree. It is half heartedly fenced in but that hasn't detered numerous idiots from making their mark. Unfortunatly most well known and easy to get to Baobabs suffer the same fate.