Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (Tokaleya Tonga: The Smoke That Thunders), is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has been described by as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on November 16,1855, from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls on the Zambian side. Livingstone named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria of Britain, but the indigenous Tonga name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”The Smoke That Thunders”—continues in common usage as well. The World Heritage List officially recognizes both names.
The nearby national park in Zambia is named Mosi-oa-Tunya, whereas the national park and town on the Zimbabwean shore are both named Victoria Falls.
The largest waterfall in the world.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls.
For a considerable distance upstream from the falls, the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt, in a shallow valley, bounded by low and distant sandstone hills. The river’s course is dotted with numerous tree-covered islands, which increase in number as the river approaches the falls. There are no mountains, escarpments, or deep valleys; only a flat plateau extending hundreds of kilometres in all direction.
The Devil’s Pool.
The naturally formed “Devil’s Pool”, where some crazy tourists sometimes swim despite a risk of plunging over the edge. The famous feature is the naturally formed “Armchair” (now called “Devil’s Pool”), near the edge of the falls on Livingstone Island on the Zambian side. When the river flow is at a certain level, usually between September and December, a rock barrier forms a bay with minimal current, allowing adventurous swimmers to splash around in relative safety a few feet from the point where the water cascades over the falls. Occasional deaths have been reported when people have slipped over the rock barrier.