ahimbe@myattractionsafrica.com
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Facts about the Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls, also known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world, stretch for more than a mile in length and with a height of about one hundred meters, are the world’s largest water falls and one of the main attractions in Africa. The facts about the Victoria falls are fascinating and incredible making them one of the seven natural wonders of the world. They became a World Heritage Site in 1989.

The Victoria Falls are not only an attraction for of tourists around the world, it is also of economic importance; supplying energy to several cities in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Victoria Falls

 

History of the Victoria Falls

It is widely believed that the local African tribes had a sacred fear of Victoria Falls and had fear approaching it.

David Livingstone first heard of the great waterfalls called Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders – in 1851, but it was only in November 1855 that he set out to visit it. He landed on the biggest island at the edge of the falls – now called Livingstone Island – and from there obtained his first view of the falls; naming them Victoria Falls in honor of Queen of Victoria of England.

Since 1983, the falls have been protected by the Zambezi National Park; while Victoria Falls National Park took charge as well in January 2013.

Location of the Falls

The Victoria Falls lie along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe though two-thirds of the falls can best be viewed from Zimbabwe. If it is the view of the moonbow that you seek, the Zambian side is better.

The Zambezi River is the fourth longest river in Africa (after the River Nile, the Congo River and Niger River) divided into three sections; the Upper Zambezi, the Middle Zambezi and the Lower Zambezi. The Victoria Falls make the boundary between the upper and middle Zambezi.

Accessing the Victoria falls can be done using three main options

  • By air to Zimbabwe through Victoria Falls Airport to Vitoria Falls town is approximately 22 kilometers.By air to Zambia through Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport is the recommended route. It takes less than 30 minutes to travel from the airport to the falls through Livingstone town. It is approximately 16 kilometers.
  • By rail, the falls can be access from Cape Town, South Africa using the Luxury Rovos Rail or the Shongololo Express train. This journey takes 6 days.Bulawayo – the second largest town in Zimbabwe – has an overnight train to the falls. The Botswana Rail services also links Botswana to the fall via Bulawayo.
  • By road to the Victoria falls is an alternative that works as well. Depending on the location of the hotel you have booked, you can easily access the falls by shuttle services, hired vehicles, taxis and even bicycles.

The Best Time to Visit

The months of January to March are in the peak rainy season while the months of March and May lie in the peak water season. It is when the falls are at their best especially in the month of April. The foot of the falls cannot be seen due to the spray that rises from falling water, even an umbrella is of no use. The aerial view (The flight of the Angels) is the most spectacular.

The finest viewing of the falls is in the medium to high water season in January, February, June to August. Water-based activities can be enjoyed at this time. Moonbows or rainbows can be seen during this time giving photographers a moment to enjoy.

Though from September to December is a low water season – where the Falls become little streams while in some places along the width of the falls, no water falls at all – the Victoria Falls remain a spectacular place to visit all year round.

What makes the Victoria Falls spectacular?

The Devil’s Cataract

This 60 to 70 meter cataract is on the Zimbabwe side of the falls, separated by the other falls by the Cataract Island also known as the Boaruka Island. It is an inspiring beauty of the Zambezi River.

It was where local tribes used to perform sacrificial ceremonies which were termed “devilish” by the missionaries who arrived in the area. That is how the cataract got its name.

The Devil’s Pool

During the low water season (September to December) the water levels of the Zambezi River drop considerably allowing swimmers who can dare, to swim to the very edge of the Victoria Falls in a naturally formed pool. This pool overlooks the edge of the falls and is made by a rock wall that halts the current just enough for a swim.

The Victoria Falls Gorges

There are seven main gorges with uniquely designed vertical walls some 120 meters high though water levels of the river can only reach 20 meters. These gorges have varying lengths but the longest gorge being the Batoka gorge which is approximately 120 kilometers long.

The Moonbows

This natural phenomenon happens regularly in few places in the world including the Victoria Falls. When the moon is full and bright, and its light refracted by water particles from the spray of the Falls in the air, it creates a moonbow or lunar rainbow.

The finest view can be got from April to July with a cloudless sky.

The Victoria Falls Bridge

Originally referred to as the Great Zambezi bridge, this 128 meters high and 198 meters long spectacular bridge was completed in April 1905. It is the only link between Zambia and Zimbabwe by rail across the Zambezi River.

At the bridge you are able to try out the 111-meter bungee jump just for the thrill of it.

The view at the bridge is marvelous since you get a view of the falls and the flow of the river. You can also visit railway museum; learn about the history of the bridge and even get aboard a steam train.

The Canoeing trips

The Zambezi River is ideal for canoeing and kayaking trips and it helps if you have canoeing experience. This experience can be tapped in all year round at the upper Zambezi River above the falls.

The beauty of canoe trips is the encounter with big game. The jungles surrounding the falls are visited by cheetahs, leopards and lions; while rhinos have been introduced in the region too. You can easily see grazing buffaloes, bush bucks, impalas and waterbucks. You cannot miss the hippopotamuses as you do live fishing.

You won’t be doing the fishing alone, birds like the peregrine falcon and the white-backed night heron will be seen in the act too.

Conclusion

Victoria Falls offer a memorable experience to remember for the rest of your life; and for a standard entry fee of USD 30 for all tourists. Don’t forget to carry a waterproof pouch to protect your electronic gadgets.

48 thoughts on “Facts about the Victoria Falls

  1. There’s some magic about Africa. It’s a beautiful continent. I visited 30 years ago, and I still am in wonder of some of the beautiful sites. I’ve never been to Victoria Falls, but the images and video are gorgeous. It’s an iconic place in Africa. I know there are plenty of unsafe areas, but there are plenty of safe areas as well. It’s just called smart traveling. It’s like going to any foreign country. Do your research then enjoy the beautiful places. Thanks. 

    1. JB, Africa is truely beautiful and magical. To bad that in your last visit you skipped visiting this natural wonder. But there is always a second chance. The good thing is that it is a safe place and your security as a visitor is guaranteed.

  2. Africa is known to be a hot country. The good thing about Zimbabwe where Victoria Falls can be found, it looks like the average rain fall is a bit higher than any other African country nearby. So, it means, there’s always a good source of water for the streams and rivers that contribute to the Victoria Falls. But even though the rain fall around Victoria Falls is higher than the rest of Africa, there may be times when rain fall is too low. When that happens, does it affect the beauty of Victoria Falls? Like for example, fewer volume of water falling down that falls.

    1. Victoria Falls slowly dries up from June and by the end of August to dry it is severely dry. The Zambian side is almost completely dry with only a trickle of water in some areas, while the Zimbabwe side is almost full. 

      However, this doesn’t affect the beauty of the place. You enjoy the scenery without the spray of the mist.

  3. I love how the importance of this article is centered around not only the tourist aspect, but more importantly the economical advantage of Victoria Falls. What a sight this must be, a mile long waterfall– that is just incredible!

    This seems like such a beautiful place to visit. Have you been before? I am so interested to hear what your favorite part was, or where you would like to visit the most if you were to go.

    Thank you so much for sharing this piece of history and world with us!

    Ciara

    1. Ciara, I am glad that you have noted that it is more than tourism at the Victoria Falls. I have been there and my favourite place was the Victoria Falls bridge. Though I didn’t do the bungee jump, it is what I will go for the next time I go there. I will also try out the devil’s pool. I just need to get my timing right.

  4. Hi…

    Most times, I usually wonder about the beauty of nature and how the earth was created with unique features and awesome sights to behold. I read about Victoria falls when I was less 13years old and believe me, I was so amazed and even had to asked my parent to take me down there. 

    Eventhough I’ve not visited the place before, but I’ll surely go there. 

    Thanks for rejuvenating my childhood memories 

    1. Sammy, what the mind has conceived, it will achieve. Your childhood dream will one day come true. You have to see this natural wonder with your own eyes.

  5. Hello Edgar, reading through your write up and by mere looking at the clear cut picture of the water fall, a  sense of urgency for a tourism adventure has been awoken in me. Wow, the Victoria falls really look smoky that the name, smoke that thunders is quite befitting for such a glorious sight.

    I love the features you listed that make the Victoria falls a spectacle to behold. I particularly love the devil’s pool, but sincerely speaking, fear will not allow me swim to the edge of the Victoria falls even though it is between September to December period. It will be a memorable experience to visit this great tourism centre.

    1. Gracen, I am glad that your tourism interests have been activated. I too felt the urgency to go there the moment I saw it on TV. I am scared of heights but I will definately visit the Devil’s pool and have that adrenaline rush. And if I succeed, I will share my experience with the world.

  6. This is very interesting. The Victoria Falls does serve many purposes, i am a massive fan of waterfalls but have never actually seen one in real life, i think this one might be one i would like to visit in the future. Its interesting to know that there were many uses of the Victoria falls in the past, i would never have thought it was used as a Devils cataract. I really like the idea of canoeing in the Zambezi River, This sounds like an experience you wouldnt forget! 

    1. Hbee, if you are start big with waterfalls, then look no further than the Victoria Falls. They will just blow your mind if you get the timing right. Canoeing is definately a must do to have a view of nature and wildlife.

  7. I so much enjoy the history of Victoria Falls that you share in the article, I so much love to see beauty of nature especially water fall like Victoria water falls In Zambia.one of the activities that I will love to be part of is the Canoeing trips and some other activities. But I will like to ask if there is hotel reservation and restaurant not far from the waterfall for someone like me that is coming from afar 

    1. Ajibola, I am glad that the history of the Falls. I too liked it a lot especially the fact that the locals feared the Falls and couldn’t reach it. 
      Your worry should not be accommodation because there are over 230 guesthouses and hotels that can accommodate any class of visitor. The choice lies in your hands.

  8. Since this is a world wonder and a center of tourist attraction ( and of course source of foreign income), how do the two countries involved manage the income and management responsibilities? Its going to be a worthwhile trip in July to see the moonbow. Natural phenomenons like this are a rare sight. Thanks for this well crafted article, as you have definitely helped the people of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

    1. Olalekan, much as the Falls are shared by the two countries, revenue collection is not shared. Each country has it own entry point to view the Falls. It is at these entry points that collections are made and each country is able to manage the income independently. 
      It is good to read that you will be visiting the site in July and changing travel plans should the last thing on your mind.

  9. Hi there, this is just a wonderful article about Victoria falls in Zimbabwe, Africa. Many people might have been reading or hearing about this Victoria falls but they may not really know full facts about it like u have listed here, most especially best time to visit it, amount of just 30$ for all foreign tourists and also the ways they can reach there. It’s wonderful thing to read more fact about it and it’s adding to my interest to visit that place anytime soon. 

    1. Yormith, I appreciate your feedback and remarks made about this post. I am glad your interest to visit these Falls has been hiked.

  10. Hi,

    Thank you for explaining Victoria Falls in detail. It is my dream, to see it in my life. I live in northern Europe which means it would be a very big journey for me. But I promised myself that I will make it:)

    Out of curiosity, would you recommend using a car to get there or other methods are safer?

    1. Ainars, I am glad this post has been of value to you and you have made it a point to travel. However, travel by road from Europe means you would start your journey from Cairo in Egypt; and that would take like 6 days covering over 7,640 kms. This would be quite and adventure since your would visit 6  countries in the process.
      However, I would recommend air travel as a safer means of travel.

  11. Incredible post about facts of Victoria falls!

    I love travelling, but with 2 small kids, it is sometimes challenging, so I need to wait until they grew up a bit. 

    However, my dream is to see all of 7 natural wonders of the world, including this beautiful Victoria Waterfall. There are so many places to see and Africa is definitely a great choice!

    BTW I like your site it’s very informative!

    Thanks for sharing this great post!

    1. Snap, I know how tiresome it can be if you are to travel with children. More of your time is focused on the well being of the young ones than on enjoying the vacation. The good news is that they will grow and allow you to achieve your travel goals. I am sure your visit in Africa will be longer since there are many natural wonders beside the Victoria Falls that will capture your attention.
      Thank you for the kind comment about the site.

  12. Good afternoon Edgar,

    I loved reading your post on the Victoria Falls and the included photo.

    The only countries I have visited in Africa are Marrocco and Senegal. There is so much more to see that I am afraid one lifetime will not be enough.

    As I call my self a hobby photographer I would look forward to being able to make moonbow and rainbow pictures. Thank you also for the awesome video you have included.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Taetske, as a hobby photographer, I am glad I have pointed you to two more African countries. The beauty of these falls is that they get you to visit both Zambia and Zimbabwe. I am sure you would take wonderful pictures that would make you proud.
      Thank you for the kind comments about the site.

  13. Thank you for sharing ¨Facts about the Victoria Falls¨. Just to add a couple of facts that you briefly mention in your article. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest based on its width and height, but I didn´t know 550 million liters of water drops every minute over the cliff and continues flowing downstream as the lower Zambezi river.

    The water depth at the base of the fall is 70 meters (229 feet) and you can fish. Fish lives in the river above and below the falls. The river is home to 39 species of fish below the falls and 89 species above it.

    Water birds such as the White –backed night heron feed on them and shellfish in the river mud above the falls.

    The spray from the falls make the Zambezi Rain Forest the only place that receives rainfall 24 hours a day, 7 days a week .

    As the sun shine through the mist from Victoria Falls it creates an almost ever present rainbow.

    1. Enrique, you really have added crucial facts and I like your language of figures. These are the important facts that  make the Victoria Falls one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.

  14. Hey Edgar, awesome article; I felt like I learned more about Africa reading that than any story I’ve ever heard about it. Thanks so much for the information, I’m happy to have learned so much about such a historical place. Truth is, I’ve never been to Africa but thanks to your research and your article, it’s one of my place to visit one day especially Victoria falls. Good job.

    1. R.J, I am glad that you have liked the article and learnt much about Africa and the Victoria Falls in particular. I just pray that you visit one of the wonderful places in Africa in your life time.

  15. Simply amazing facts, I had no idea that the falls went on for a mile. There is something very special about Africa and all of the southern hemisphere. Africa is a dream destination with all of their so famous animals. The falls are not just a one of place to look at and as you mentioned it is a wonderland of spots. I would love to go there one day. This article is an inspiration 

    Thank you

    paul

    1. Paul, I am glad that this post has sparked the desire to come to Africa in your lifetime. It is good you also came and check out some unique spots on your own and tell a story in your own words. I am sure the wildlife would be the main attraction for you. 
      Thank you for the kind remarks about this post.

  16. I just couldn’t stop reading this article. It has brought joy to my soul. I love traveling and seeing different parts of the world and all this while I have been traveling, visiting the Victoria falls has never crossed my mind. I was so engulfed when I saw this article and I read to the end. I can say that before the end of this year, I will definitely visit the falls

    1. Linus, you seem to be a traveler who had missed out on the big site – the Victoria Falls. I am glad you are interested in traveling and I like the fact that the information provided has helped in shaping your travel plans.
      With the perfect timing, you will have the time of your life and I look forward to your reviews after the visit.

  17. As a tourist, this is a place I would one day definitely love to visit. The country I live in also has waterfalls but I don’t think they are as beautiful and amazing as this. This is one thing I like about Africa as there are always a lot of amazing sites to visit which is one thing that draws tourist to the continent.

    The victorial falls is a place that definitely has to be visited by anyone wishing to see a natural amazing site.

    1. Jay, I am glad you have considered touring Africa and the Victoria Falls in particular. I have noticed that each place on this Earth is unique and beautiful, you just have to reach there to notice. I hope I will get the opportunity to read about your review after the African tour.

  18. Nice history on Victoria Falls and so many things to expect when going on a tourism visit to the place. I have been to many water fall in Africa before and I can say I had a wonderful tourism experience there and am sure this one is going to best the best of the one I visited in the past with a little entry fee of USD 30 for all  the fun and memorable experience to have there, I must say it really a good place to visit for tourism because that entry price is one of the cheapest I have ever come about 

    1. Ajibola, you are one of the lucky visitors to have visited seen this natural spectacle of falls. This is a unique place and for you to have traveled there is amazing. 

  19. The beauty of the motherland cannot be overemphasized. Africa is blessed with a lot of fascinating attractions and it makes Africa a tourist hot spot. I gave heard a lot about Victoria falls, but I’ve never experienced it. From the pictures and videos, it must be a very thrilling adventure to visit the Victoria falls, it’s even more interesting to note that it’s shared between two countries. I do wonder how the two countries manage income generation from this beauty.

    1. Louis, you are right! It is a thrill and adventure to visit these falls especially the Devil’s pool if you are a swimmer. It is a place you ought to put on your must visit list.
      The falls can be seen from either side (Zambia or Zimbabwe) and each country has its own information center and entry point to the falls where revenue collection is done. 
      The income collected is used for macro-economic stability, building the foreign exchange reserves and for carrying out government programs. 

    2. Wow! That was very great and awesome to learn about the Victoria fall. Africa is really blessed with allot of beautiful and amazing natural resources. Although am very allergic to water, but this article has trigger my will to visit and witness the wonders of the Victoria fall. I want to know, I learned from the article the Victoria fall served as source of revenue to the two countries, do you have idea how income they generate per annum?

      Thanks so much for your article, it’s indeed educating

      1. Ayockson, since you are allergic to water, I recommend you visit the Victoria Falls bridge and even view the falls from a distance or visit during the dry season when the water levels are low.
        The estimated collections from the Victoria Falls are in excess of $24 million and with the rising numbers of tourists, it is expected to increase. However, the potential is great to generate up to $4 billion.

  20. Africa is the continent of my heart, Ahimbe. Every post of yours reminds this to me. The Victoria Falls is definitely a future destination. But there is something else I simply HAVE TO experience and you are to blame for it (kidding!) MOONBOWS. I can only imagine its beauty and certainly, I want to be able to admire it live!

    1. Effie, I know how you like to travel to Africa and I am putting the best places for you to choose from. It is obvious here that the Victoria Falls are on the list based since that only place the Moonbows can be found. It is a matter of time when all this will be a reality.
      I thank you once again for leaving me a comment.

  21. Dear Edgar!
    Thank you for this descriptive article! I learned a lot about Victoria Falls and picked up some new facts. Did not know what Moonbow is up until today! Africa is an amazing continent and it always left a very powerful impression on me. I still watch Discovery channel documentaries about wildlife (I’m in my mid-forties now…), and I love them! Would love to travel to Africa at least once in my life and if I happen to visit Victoria Falls, I would attempt to swim in Devils Pool (only at the right time of season).
    Video link really did it for me – fantastic addition to get me “transferred” to Victoria Falls and make an impression!

    This a massive natural wonder and I am glad to have learned more about it!

    1. Hello George, I notice we share interests like traveling and watching wildlife documentaries on Discovery Channel. As you rightly stated you ought to visit Africa in your life time; it will be worth it!
      I am delighted by the fact that this post has brought new facts to you like the Moonbow. I hope that your travel dreams will be fulfilled in the near future.
      I thank you for your positive remarks; they are encouraging.

  22. There is something just so magical about visiting Victoria falls, to be surrounded by the magnificence of mother nature at her glorious best.

  23. Oh my…. this water falls look amazing. I recently discovered a few waterfalls in Colorado, USA where I currently live. I thought they were beautiful. The sound of the water is very peaceful.

    Yet the waterfalls that I have visited so far where tiny in comparison to Victoria Falls.

    I need to add Africa to the list of places that I want to visit within the next 5 years.

    1. Sondra, if this article has been the reason for adding Africa to travel destinations list, then I am more than delighted.
      The Victoria Falls should be on every traveller’s list because it not only the largest waterfalls in the world, but also offers many other activities one can engage in to give an all-round experience.

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