Victoria Falls : The beauty of the world in Africa

Africa 18 Apr 2021 Zainab Sulaimon
Roaming
Victoria Falls
Photo : Dreamstime

In the heart of one of the vast and serenous continents of the world

On an island in the middle of the river

A cataract- tall, bold and daring

A desire and a beauty to behold

Home to wildlife and unique species of plants and animals

Housed by mountains which shake out of fear of Allah

The Magnificent, The Majestic, The Mighty

My Creator, the One who controls my flow

Created for the pleasure of humans who seek a quiet solitude

I may have been named after a Queen, regardless I am only just another creation of The Everliving

Within me is “the smoke that thunders”

Just above me is an array of beautiful colors

A spec, compared to my superiors in the abode-Jannah

I am “Mosi-oa-Tunya”

Located on the Zambezi River, between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is a breathtaking sight to visit. It is considered to be one of the world’s greatest and largest waterfalls with a width of 1,708m which is equivalent to 5,604ft.

History of Victoria Falls

The plateau over which the Zambezi river flows is believed to have been formed over 200 million years ago, in what is known as the Jurassic Era. A settlement was noted to the north of the Zambezi river with which the Portuguese had friendly relations. 140 years later, using the map that Nicholas de Fer drew in 1715, David Livingstone navigated the trade routes and became the first European to have a glimpse of the falls in 1855. He travelled between 1852 and 1856 from the upper Zambezi to the mouth of the river. The Arabs, local tribes, as well as the Voortrekker hunters called it a name equivalent to “the end of the world”. Due to the impressive nature of the falls, David named them in honour of Queen Victoria. He said, about the falls: “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”.

Structure of Victoria Falls

During extreme rainy seasons, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plunge over the edge, over a width of nearly two kilometres, into a gorge over one hundred meters below. This results in columns of spray that can be seen from miles away. Just in front of the Falls is another vertical wall of basalt, rising to the same height, and capped by a mist-soaked rain forest. When visiting, one must be courageous enough to face the tremendous spray, with an umbrella, of course, situated at a path along the edge of the forest. This also provides an unparalleled series of views of the Falls. The wide, basalt cliff over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a placid river into a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. Just across the Knife-edge Bridge, visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot, where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge.

Tourism

In recent times, the falls are home to over 400,000 tourists annually. There are three parks around the falls namely- the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, the Victoria Falls National Park, both of which are relatively smaller than the Zambezi National Park. These parks and others surrounding it consists of abundant wildlife such as Elephants, species of Antelopes, Lions, South African Cheetahs, Vervet monkeys, Baboons, Hippopotamus, Crocodiles, African Leopards, Zebras, Buffaloes, Giraffes, the Peregrine falcons, Taita falcons, black eagles and all the species of Raptors. Common above the falls is fish eagles, herons, and numerous waterfowls. There are 84 species of fish above and 39 species of fish below the falls. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the falls as a dividing barrier between the upper and the lower Zambezi.

The Riverrine forest, with palm trees, lines the banks and island above the falls. The rainforest is nurtured by the spray from the falls and it contains rare plants such as ebony, ivory palm, pod mahogany, batoko plum, and wild date palm. The Rhodesian teak woodland, scrubland savannah, miombo, and the Mopane woodland savannah are also vegetations that are prevalent around the falls.

Now, is this not a lovely site to call on?