Africa’s Victoria Falls is awe inspiring

A staircase at Victoria Falls gives visitors a birds-eye view of the cascading water. Photos by Gale Horton Gay

A staircase at Victoria Falls gives visitors a birds-eye view of the cascading water. Photos by Gale Horton Gay

Majestic.

Magnificent.

Awesome.

These words come close to aptly describing Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world.

Located on southern Africa’s Zambezi River, the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the single-drop falls is a staggering 355 feet high. 

The falls was named for England’s Queen Victoria after explorer and missionary David Livingstone came upon it during one of his expeditions. While Livingstone is believed to be the first European to experience the falls, locals revered it as a sacred place of worship. They called the powerful moving water “Mosi-o-tunya,” the smoke that thunders.

According to the Victoria Falls’ website, during the dry season the water level is so low that visitors can walk through parts of the it.

That certainly wasn’t the case when I toured the area last June.

Miles before reaching the site, I could see a massive cloud of mist over the area. (The noise from the roaring waters is reported to be heard from a distance of nearly 25 miles away.)

I experienced Victoria Falls, cited as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, from the Zimbabwe side. An abundance of observation points along the falls—some where one can remain dry while looking at the falls and taking photos and others that guarantee a drenching even with the heavy black plastic raincoat provided by our guide.

Most of the viewing sites were an easy walk along paths by the mighty waters but one involved walking down a series of stairways to get to a viewing platform with mist enveloping the lower level observation point.

I had the opportunity to overnight at The Stanley and Livingstone Safari Lodge, located a 20-minute drive from the falls. While the 16 suites—all with private patios—and ornately decorated in Victorian-style with modern conveniences and amenities most any traveler would desire, the grounds have meandering walkways and numerous places to view wildlife that graze through the adjacent nature preserve. The property also includes a restaurant and bar, pool and sun lounge.

 

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