The Victoria Falls is unquestionably one of the great experiences of Africa - the sight of the mighty Zambezi River hurtling more than one hundred meters down into the void cannot fail to stir emotion in the first time visitor.
WHAT THE GREAT EXPLORER SAW
As long ago as 1855, whilst trying to open and establish a trade route between the West and East coasts of the African continent along the Zambezi river, the famous Scottish explorer David Livingstone became the first European to discover the mighty Victoria Falls.
The beauty of the falls and its surroundings made a deep impression on him and he wrote the following in his diary at the time:
"I did not comprehend it until, creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambezi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet, and then became suddenly compressed into a pace of fifteen or twenty yards- the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa."
He had seen the largest curtain of falling water in the world: One that at 5 577 feet is one and a half times wider than Niagara Falls, and at 304 feet high, twice as high.
A WONDER OF RISING RAIN
Known to the local tribesman as the "Mosi-oa-tunya", translated as "The Smoke that Thunders", the Victoria Falls is today one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, together with wonders such as The Grand Canyon and the Polar Aurora. It produces so much spray that the rain forest at Victoria Falls is considered to be the only place on Earth where it rains all day, every day of the year, as the sometimes torrential rainfalls bring the spray of the falls back to earth.
THE CURIOSITY OF KINGS
So impressive were the stories of the Victoria Falls that in later years many members of the British Royal family were inspired to visit on their tours of Southern Africa, the Falls playing host to the likes of Princess Christian of Scheswig Holstein, Princess Victoria, The Duke and Dutchess of Connaught, HRH the Prince of Wales - who later became King Edward VIII, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother), Queen Elizabeth II, and the late Princess Margaret, some of whom took lengthy train rides on the specially built Royal Trains of the time to reach the Falls.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY TO SEE THIS?
Today, the falls can be accessed and viewed from either the Zimbabwean or Zambian sides, both offering spectacular viewing of one of the pearls of the natural world.
On the Zambian side, we like The Royal Livingstone, for its outstanding riverside location just a few feet up from the falls. On the Zimbabwean side, it is hard to go past the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel.