THE VICTORIA FALLS
The Victoria Falls is Livingstone’s big attraction. The massive waterfall is the largest curtain of falling water in the world and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1989. Zambia shares the responsibility of caring for the environment around the Victoria Falls with Zimbabwe.
The Victoria Falls have other names. In the Lozi language they are known as Mosi-oa-Tunya. In the Tonga/Toka language they are known as Shungu-namutitima. Both these names mean the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. There are many view points to see the ‘smoke’ or spray in Livingstone. A good spot is near the airport.
To visit the Falls, take the main road through town towards the border with Zimbabwe. The entrance is just before the border. There is good safe parking. Taxis are always available between the Falls and town.
Footpaths around The Falls
The most popular footpath is the one along the precipice opposite the Falls and across the Knife Edge Bridge. The footpath has fairly steep steps down to the the Knife Edge Bridge and then up again to the end viewing point.
The footpath down into Palm Grove is a decline of around 100 metres. The steps wander down through the rain forest to the Boiling Pot. It is from here that whitewater rafting trips start at low water levels.
Another route to explore which has no steps and is therefore wheelchair friendly, is the Photographic Trail which runs along the side of the Border Post. There are seats along the way and some good views of the Falls from a distance.
Finally, there is a footpath along the side of the Zambezi River to see the water as it rushes to the lip of the Falls.
Names of Sections of the Falls
Eastern Cataract. This is the main stretch of the Falls you will see during a walk along the precipice opposite.
Rainbow Falls. This is so called because of the rainbows which form above and around it and can be seen easily from the Zambian side.
To view Horseshoe Falls, Armchair Falls and Main Falls a trip to Livingstone Island is recommended. On Livingstone Island, you can stand on the lip of the Falls and view the stunning scene below and see sections of the Falls on the Zimbabwe side.
Devil’s Cataract – the lowest point (70m) of the Falls is only seen from the Zimbabwe side. At this point the river is gradually gouging out a new fault line.
The Boiling Pot is where all the water from the Falls is squeezed into the narrow gorge – the water churns and ‘boils’ – and can be reached via a walk down the Palm Grove.
Visiting the Bridge
To see the Victoria Falls from the Victoria Falls Bridge, it is necessary to pass through Immigration at the Zambian border. There is no charge to walk onto the bridge and, as you are not actually leaving Zambia, there are no immigration formalities.
Inform the Immigration officers that you wish to visit the bridge only, show them your passport, and they will give you a Gate Pass and allow you to walk through. On returning, visit Immigration again.
While on the bridge, you can bungee jump or go on a tour of the bridge. The reception for the both activities is up some steps before you reach the bridge.
And, finally, a photograph by Tony Barnett of the Lunar Rainbow.
The Falls Park is open on nights of full moon to see this spectacle – only when there is sufficient water to create it (usually between January and June, depending on rainfall).