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Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya)
By Manorma Sabharwal | Mon, 23 -Dec, 2013

One sight in Zambia that every tourist wants to see, or I would say must see, is the world famous “Victoria Falls.”
Victoria Falls are considered one of the natural wonders of the world. The falls are in Africa on the southern tip of Zambia where the Zambezi River divides Zambia from Zimbabwe. There are a few higher falls elsewhere in the world but none equals the grandeur of the waters of Zambezi river as they tear headlong over the 1600 metres wide ledge down into the chasm over 100 metres below.
At the height of floods from March to May more than five million litres of water surge over in every second. The impact of falling water is such that it raises clouds of vapour that can be seen more than 30 kilometers away with a thundering sound. Because of this vapour and thundering sound, the falls have been known for centuries as ”Mosi-oa-Tunya” in the native language there which means “The smoke that thunders.”
One gets a panaramic view of the falls from the knife edge foot bridge, which spans a narrow ridge of rock between the mainland and an island down stream; one can face the falls head on. The bridge is so close to the falls that one needs a raincoat to get protection from the water spray which is very high and forceful.
The falls are especially magnificent on a moonlit night when the spray catches moonlight into a lunar rainbow. On moonless nights one can enjoy the falls by artificial illumination which is equally impressive.
There are eight gorges and they are as fascinating as the falls. There are two major scenic approaches down river as far as the seventh and ‘Songwe gorges’. One of these routes is the lookout tree. It is a huge, ancient and upside-down tree, in which a platform has been build for an excellent view of the falls.
Zambezi River is the fourth greatest river in Africa and supports a variety of animals and birds. Visitors who join the launch cruise on the luxury river boat called the ‘Mukumbi’ can enjoy the sight of massive hippopotami and crocodiles in the water.
There is a zoological park just outside Livingstone town that contains 1300 animals including lion, giraffe, zebra, white rhino, warthog, bush pig and a variety of antelopes. In the centre of the park is a fenced area where crocodiles, tortoises, turtles, snakes and indigenous birds are displayed in pits and cages. One rare snake that caught my attention was the spitting cobra in a glass cage. It spits venom on the glass sheet when excited by the visitors. Elephants are seen around the area without disturbing them. Monkeys chatter about in the trees.
Further up the river are good areas for game fishing. The most plentiful fish are tiger and bream apart from numerous other species. There are opportunities for bird watching and photography as well.
Tourists have to travel by road or by air from Lusaka to Livingstone to see the falls. The city of Livingstone was named after the famous Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone. Dr Livingstone was the first outsider to discover the falls. He came to Africa in 1841 and died here in 1873. His body was then taken back to London by his trusted guides. There he was buried in Westminster Abbey, a place where only the most famous of the British are buried.
Dr Livingstone was a great explorer, traveler as well as a missionary. He worked very hard in difficult conditions and situations to explore Africa in the south from all directions and during one of these expeditions by share chance he came across the great falls “Mosi-oa-Tunya.” The falls were then named “Victoria Falls” after the name of the then Queen of England, Victoria.

 
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