Victoria Falls – Spectacular Natural Wonders of the World - The Traveller


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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Victoria Falls – Spectacular Natural Wonders of the World

Victoria Falls
The Victoria Fall is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world which the locals call `Mosi-ao-Tunya’, referred to the smoke that thunders and the Falls that are remarkable,by the locals. Though the falls is not the highest or the widest in the world, yet it has been classified as the largest, due to its width of 1,708 metres and a height of 108 metres which has made it the world’s largest sheet of falling water and is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls.

Moreover it is also twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls and in height and width Victoria Fall competes only with Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu falls. The rivers’ course is scattered with various tree covered islands which tend to increase in numbers as the river reaches the fall. Some distance upstream from the falls, the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt in a shallow valley which is bounded by low and faraway sandstone hills. There are no mountains, or deep valleys, but only flat plateau which tends to extend miles away in all directions.

Boaruka/Livingstone Islands

These fall are formed as the full width of the river which plunge into a single vertical drop into a transverse chasm of 1708 meters wide which have been carved by its water towards a fracture zone in the basalt plateau where the depth of the chasm which is called the First George ranges from 80 metres towards its western end to 108 meters at the centre.

The outlet which is the only one to the First Gorge is a 110 metres wide gap which is about two thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western side, through which the entire volume of the river falls into the Victoria Falls gorges. Then there are two islands that are large enough, to divide the curtain of water even at full flood on the crest of the falls, namely Boaruka Islands towards the western bank and Livingstone Island at the centre, the point from which Livingstone had first viewed the falls.

When lesser than full flood, additional islet tend to divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams and the main streams are named as Devil’s Cataract also called Leaping Water by some, Main Falls, Rainbow falls, which is the highest and the Eastern Cataract. These are named in order from Zimbabwe – West to Zambia – East.

Preserved in Its Natural State

The Victoria Falls being 1,708 meters wide makes it one of the largest curtain of water in the world which drops between 90 metres and 107 meters into the Zambezi Gorge as well as an average of 550,000 cubic metres of water plunging over the edge every moment.

The Victoria Fall is amazing with a magic, manifested in the towering column of spray when the river is high along with the thunder of the falling water, accompanied by the terrifying abyss and tranquil lagoon upstream, where one will find hippo and deadly crocodiles lurking there.

Victoria Falls is preserved in its natural state inspiring many visitors today as it did in the 1860s where the falls together with its surrounding areas have been declared National Parks as well as a World Heritage Site, thereby preserving this area from being commercialised.

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