At AllThingsNature, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Victoria Falls is a massive waterfall in southern Africa which is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. It straddles the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and it has become a notable tourist attraction, thanks to its beauty and the appeal of the surrounding African environment. Because Victoria Falls has become such a popular spot to visit, it is generally easy to find accommodations there, thanks to a wide assortment of hotels in the area.
Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been living in the vicinity of Victoria Falls for centuries. The first European to see the falls was David Livingstone, who was apparently dissatisfied with the African name for the falls, Mosi-oa-tunya, which means “the smoke that thunders.” He named the falls for Queen Victoria, following a long-established convention among British explorers to name new places and landmarks after the King or Queen of Britain.
For Livingstone, the falls must have been a startling and amazing sight. The sound of the falls can be heard from a great distance, and in the rainy season, spray from Victoria Falls can be seen for miles. It is also fairly impressive during the dry season, although the rate of flow is greatly decreased. Technically, Victoria Falls is not the tallest or broadest waterfall in the world, but the total area of the falling water is larger than any known waterfall, and certainly much larger than Niagra Falls, another well known waterfall.
The Falls appear at one of the widest points of the Zambezi River. They are caused by the flow of the river into a very narrow, extremely deep gorge which causes the Zambezi to bend sharply to the East. Because the gorge appears at such a wide point in the river, the volume of water which suddenly rushes over the side is quite impressive, and it falls around 355 feet (108 meters) to the bottom of the gorge. Thanks to the gorge, people can view the falls head-on from the other side of the gorge. A series of deep gorges follows from the first, zigzagging back and forth several times before the river gently curves to the East, where it meets the Indian Ocean.
In 1989, Victoria Falls was designated as World Heritage Site. In addition to the falls themselves, the site also features an abundance of African plants and animals, making it an exciting and interesting place to visit. Visitors can go on nature walks around the area to explore it, and in certain times of the year, they can even swim on the brink of the falls, in a natural pool known as the Devil's Swimming Pool.