Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Mighty Fall

In 1855, the African explorer, David Livingstone, was the first European to encounter one of the world's most majestic sights - The Victoria Waterfall. The "Vic" Falls are situated in southern Africa between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River.

This is a view (photo left) of the falls and gorge as seen from the west (on the Zimbabwean side) and close to a statue of David Livingstone.

Trivia: the locals call this spectacular natural wonder 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' = the smoke that thunders - certainly a deafening sound during the flood season (February-May, peaking in April).

Geologically, the falls formed as a result of erosion and climatic changes over a period of 150 million years! The Zambezi River flows through alternating soft and hard rocks and Devil's Cataract (right) is the latest in a series of "weak" north-south faults that are "cutting back" into another fault that will form the Vic Falls of the future.

Apart from Devil's Cataract, the Main Falls (left) is the only part of the Vic Falls with a "curtain"of water throughout the year.
Trivia: at 1708m wide, the (entire) Vic Falls are the longest "curtain" of water in the world, dropping between 90 + 107m into the Zambezi Gorge.

During the dry season (approx. 7-8 months of the year) what remains of the basaltic lava deposits are visible in the bare cliffs (right). In the background - the Zambezi Sun hotel, situated in Zambia.

Did you know that the "present" Vic Falls is the latest and in fact the 8th in a series of faults? About 100km south of today's Vic Falls, the Zambezi River once tumbled 250m as a waterfall over the crest of the basalt into the Matetsi valley (= the first waterfall). Since then the process was repeated 7 times over eons of years, and is clearly visible in the zig-zag-pattern of gorges south of the present Vic Falls.

In contrast to the first photo, this is a view (right) of the gorge below the Vic Falls as viewed from the east (= Zambia side).

Trivia: the falls and surrounding area was declared a World Heritage Site site in 1989 and is now classified as 1 of 7 wonders of the natural world.

This photo (below) was taken in February this year = during the flood season.

Trivia: generally, the spray from the falls rises to a height of about 400m BUT during the flood season it's sometimes twice as high AND visible 50-100km away!

Another "view" (can't see much other than mist) during the flood season and the famous falls-rainbow, as seen from the Zambian side. Close to the edge, the spray "shoots up" like inverted rain during the flood season - don't forget to take a raincoat along.

From the relaxed atmosphere on the "deck" of the Royal Livingstone Sun hotel on the Zambian side, visitors can enjoy just watching the Zambezi River flowing by - with the mist "that thunders" visible in the background.

Or take a boat cruise higher up on the Zambezi River and enjoy sundowners in a magnificent setting with majestic sunsets (right and below)......

......... which can be enjoyed all year round, and not only during a specific season.

To end, a "fun" photo (right) of what I once bought as a postcard - how the mighty fall?!


Phivos Nicolaides said...

Gorgeous pictures, incredible places.

Quinton Andrews said...

Still a dream of mine - to experience this amazing place! In your opinion, when is the best time of year to visit Victoria Falls?

Angelika's World in Photos said...

To Philip - hi! you're my most regular visitor, thanks for your comments and support.

To Quinton - nice to have you as a "visitor" - make that dream come true!! Best Time? Difficult to say - during flood season you AND your camera get wet!! but falls most impressive from Feb-May.