Victoria Falls – The Smoke that Thunders


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We arrived yesterday to Zambia – especially to make a trip to Victoria Falls. “Discovered” by Dr. Livingstone and named for the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria the falls were considered one of the original 7 Natural Wonders and the falls and the surrounding area are presently a UNESSCO World Heritage site. The falls are approximately 1.7 kilometers across and drop over 100 meters (300+ feet) at their highest point. The falls are found on the Zambezi River that separates Zambia from Zimbabwe. The local name for Victoria Falls is Mosi-Oa-Tunya which translates into “the smoke that thunders”.

I will admit that I had some reservations about spending time in Africa visiting a waterfall. I had been to Niagara Falls and while interesting to see, I wondered if there wasn’t a better way to spend our time while on the continent of Africa. This is a place that is filled with exotic locations and beautiful animals. I can now say, without hesitation, Victoria Falls was worth the effort. We approached the falls (it is a short walk from our hotel) and could see the famous mists rising high in the air above the treetops. As we got closer we caught glimpses first of the river and then the falls themselves. The view from the top was impressive. Mist rose like smoke and large rainbows formed as the sunlight met the vapor. As we proceeded closer to the falls and down a path we donned poncho-like raincoats and were told we would get wet in the spray. A rainforest path lead closer and closer to the falls and into the airborne water that surrounded the massive falls. Within minutes we found ourselves walking in a downpour of water that was shocking and exhilarating. The raincoats did very little to keep the water at bay. I don’t have any pictures of this part of the falls tour because it was the equivalent of standing in a car wash for an hour. We traversed a bridge that was hundreds of feet up and immediately adjacent to the falls. When you could catch a glimpse, through the onslaught of water, the views were extraordinary. The bridge was slippery and under a constant onslaught of heavy “rainfall”. It took us across and further along a path where we continued to be soaked and walk along viewing the falls. By the time we reached the end of the path, we were as wet as if we had jumped into a swimming pool. Along the way there was so much water in the air, mixed with sunlight that rainbows were forming in every direction. It was like you were wearing prism sunglasses. We couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces, as the overall experience that was truly exhilarating. It is my opinion now, that a trip to southern Africa should absolutely include a visit to this remarkable place.

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One Response to Victoria Falls – The Smoke that Thunders

  1. Tasha says:

    Sounds beautiful! We are studying light in second grade. I can’t wait to show them the pictures.

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