Victoria Falls and the Zambesi River

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Victoria Falls

Some years ago, I was in Harare, Zimbabwe, for a WHO meeting and took the opportunity to make a flying visit to Victoria Falls, about a one hour flight away. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest, based on its width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft),[ resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls.

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I went on a boat trip on the Zambesi River above the falls. As we approached the falls, we could see the cloud of water vapour rising above the  falls. We went a bit closer, but not too close!  Apparently, there is a pool with a rocky rim right on the edge of the falls, and when the water level is low enough not to be flowing over the rocky rim, people swim in it. Only occasionally does someone make a mistake and get swept over.

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There were lots of hippopotamuses (or should that be hippopotami?).

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I took the photo below from the Victoria Falls Bridge, which crosses the Zambesi River just below the Falls and is built over the Second Gorge of the falls. The entire volume of the Zambezi River pours through the First Gorge’s 110-meter-wide (360 ft) exit for a distance of about 150 meters (500 ft), then enters a zigzagging series of gorges designated by the order in which the river reaches them.

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From the Victoria Falls Bridge, it is 128 metres (420 feet) to the crocodile-infested rapids of the Zambesi River. I did my first-ever bungee jump here, but I’ll leave that story for another post.

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10 thoughts on “Victoria Falls and the Zambesi River

  1. I’ve always wanted to see Victoria Falls – not sure I’d be happy on the Zambesi with all those hippos lurking – those are dangerous animals. We were warned to stay about from the rivers’ edges when we were in Kenya because the hippos were so aggressive.

    • Yes, hippos kill more people in Africa than lions. I travelled in Kenya years ago and camped out in the Masai Mara. Also camped beside Lake Barengo. During the night, some hippos came out of the lake and grazed near the tent. I stayed extremely still!

  2. Pingback: Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls | Mountains and rivers

  3. I’m visiting your blog via Irene Waters.

    I’ve always been fascinated by Victoria Falls and loved your photos. I saw a TV special once that talked about that ‘swimming pool’ at the top of the falls. I thought it was absolutely insane and I doubt I could ever be that bold.
    You mentioned that sometimes people get swept over. Is that a rare thing or fairly common?

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