VICTORIA FALLS
The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya are situated on the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, (17° 55′24.05″S, 25° 51′22.32″E) and are roughly 1.7 km (1 mile) wide and 128 m (420 ft) high. They are considered a remarkable spectacle because of the peculiar narrow slot-like chasm into which the water falls, so one can view the falls face-on.

The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, and are one of Southern Africa's major tourist attractions. They are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Vastly larger than North America's Niagara Falls, Victoria is only rivalled by South America's Iguazu Falls (excluding large rapid-like falls such as Livingston de Chutes). Whilst Iguazu is divided into over 270 (relatively) 'small' falls and cataracts, Victoria is the largest single sheet of water in the world at over 100 metres tall and over one mile wide.

The earliest known inhabitants of the area around Victoria Falls were Khoisan hunter-gatherers (bushmen). They were followed by Tokaleya people, who called the falls Shongwe. Later, the Ndebele named them aManza Thunqayo, and the Makololo Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning "The smoke that thunders".

The first European to see the falls was David Livingstone on 17 November 1855, during his 1852-1856 journey from the upper Zambezi to the mouth of the river. Livingstone reached the Falls from upriver and rowed across to a small island that now bears the name Livingstone Island. Livingstone had previously been impressed by the Ngonye Falls further upstream, but found the new falls much more impressive, and named them after Queen Victoria. He wrote of 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".

In 1860, Livingstone returned to the area and made a detailed study of the falls with John Kirk. Other early European visitors included Portuguese explorer Serpa Pinto, Czech explorer Emil Holub, who made the first detailed plan of the falls and its surroundings in 1875 (published in 1880), and British artist Thomas Baines, who executed some of the earliest paintings of the falls. Until the area was opened up by the building of the railway in 1905, though, the falls were seldom visited by other Europeans.

The falls lie about midway down the course of the Zambezi, at approximately 17.925° S 25.855° E. For a considerable distance above the falls, the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt, in a valley bounded by low and distant sandstone hills. The river's course is dotted with numerous tree-clad islands, which increase in number as the river approaches the falls.

The falls are formed as the Zambezi plummets into a narrow chasm about 120 m (400 ft) wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the earth's crust. Numerous islets at the crest of the falls divide the water to form a series of falls. Over the centuries, the falls have been receding upstream, falling at different eras into numerous chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.

The falls are extremely broad at about 1.7 km across, and the height of the cascade varies from 80 m at the right bank to 108 m in the centre. This makes Victoria roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls, and well over twice the width of the horseshoe falls (Niagara's main portion). The falling water generates spray and mist that rises typically to a height of over 400 metres (and sometimes even twice as high), and is visible from up to 50 km (over 30 miles) away. At full moon, a "moonbow" can be seen in the spray instead of the daylight rainbow.

During the wet season the falls have over 500 million litres (19 million cubic feet) of water falling over its crestline each minute, and spray from this rises hundreds of metres into the air because of the incredible force of the falling water. The 1958 flood of the Zambezi saw the falls reach record volumes of over 770 million litres (27 000 000 cubic feet) per minute. This compares to the Niagara Falls (North America) which has slightly about 6 million cubic feet (about 170,000 m³) of water passing its crestline per minute in peak flow. This compares also to the Iguazu Falls of South America in terms of of size with peak volume. In debatable terms, Victoria compares well to the most regarded waterfalls on earth.

The fall is broken into four parts by islands on the lip of the precipice. Close to the right bank is a sloping cataract 35 m wide called the Leaping Water, then beyond 300 m wide Boaruka Island is the main fall, about 460 m across. Livingstone Island divides the main fall from another broad channel about 530 m wide, while on the left bank of the river is the Eastern Cataract.

The only outlet to the chasm the river falls into is a narrow channel cut in the barrier wall at a point about two thirds of the distance along from the western end. This channel is about 30 m (100 ft) wide, and the whole volume of the river pours through it for 120 m before emerging into a zigzagging series of gorges about 80 km (50 miles) long which conduct the river past the basalt plateau.

At the end of its first gorge, the river has hollowed out a deep pool called the Boiling Pot. About 150 m across, its surface is smooth at low water, but at high water is marked by slow, enormous swirls and heavy boilings. As the river exits the Boiling Pot, the channel turns sharply westward and enters the next of the zigzagging gorges. The walls of the gorges are over 120 m high.


The Smoke that Thunders – plenty of water in 1972In the wet season (typically October through April), the river discharges as much as 9,100 m³/s (320,000 ft³/s) of water. At this time, the water rolls over the main falls in an unbroken expanse. The dry season may see the falls diminish to just a few narrow cascades, with the spray and mist almost absent and the flow reduced to as little as 350 m³/s (12,500 ft³/s). At this time it is possible to look into the normally obscured depths of the gorge. The level of the river in the gorge varies by up to 20 metres between maximum flow in April and the end of the dry season in October.

Before the railway link to Bulawayo was completed in 1905, the falls were not often visited. They were an increasingly popular attraction during British colonial rule of the area and the tourist town of Victoria Falls grew up on the Zimbabwe side. From the late 1960s onwards visitor numbers dropped due to Zimbabwe's 2nd Chimurenga or the Rhodesian Bush War in Zimbabwe which sometimes resulted in military incursions into Zambia, causing the latter to impose travel restrictions such as border closures, and other security measures including the stationing of soldiers to restrict access to the gorges and some parts of the falls, which deterred visitors.

Zimbabwean independence in 1980 brought comparative peace, and the 1980s saw a renewed surge in tourism, and the development of the region as a centre for extreme sports played a large role in this. By the end of the 1990s, almost 300,000 people were visiting the falls annually, and this was expected to rise to over a million in the next decade.

The numbers of people visiting the Zimbabwe side of the falls has historically been much higher than the number visiting the Zambia side, due to the greater development of the visitor facilities there. However, the number of tourists visiting Zimbabwe began to decline in the early 2000s as civil unrest brewed surrounding the continuing rule of Robert Mugabe. In 2006, hotel occupancy on the Zimbabwean side hovered at around 30%, while the Zambian side was at near-capacity, with rates reaching US$630 per night.[1] The rapid development has prompted the United Nations to consider revoking the Falls' status as a World Heritage Site.[2] The two countries permit tourists to make day trips from one side to the other without the necessity of obtaining a visa in advance, but visas issued at the border are expensive, particularly upon entering Zimbabwe.

The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. Both national parks are small, covering areas of 66 and 23 km² respectively.

The national parks contain abundant wildlife including sizable populations of elephants, buffalo and giraffes. The river at this point also contains a large population of hippos.

Mosi-oa-Tunya national park provides a habitat for two white rhinos. The rhinos are the only white rhinos in Zambia, but are not indigenous, having been imported from South Africa. Within the park is a small cemetery at the site of the original British settlement in the area, Old Drift.


 
 
Hwange Day Trip (Tour Code HW-01)
Hwange National Park is one of the biggest game reserves in Southern Africa. It boasts large numbers of animals and different species of bird life. This Game Park is located south of Victoria Falls Town and is approximately a two-hour drive from the Victoria Falls. Guests are picked up at 06:30hrs from the hotel in a closed vehicle and transferred to Hwange Main camp where breakfast is served upon arrival. A game drive in a safari 4X4 truck starts immediately after breakfast and drives would be concentrated around water holes where animals frequently visit to quench their thirst.

Lunch
A superb selection of cold meats and salads is served at a picnic site in the park, while watching game passing. Dessert, teas and coffees included.

Afternoon Game Drives
As the sun goes down animals are usually found near water holes, so our drives will be around different water holes, provided by the National Parks. This includes stops at the hide out or viewing platform where one can view the animals from above and a lot of action usually takes place at these hide outs. Many different species of birds is seen here. By dusk you would be leaving the park driving back to the hotel in a closed vehicle. On a good day you could see the Big Five on this trip.

Duration: 06:30 - 19:00
Hwange 2 Days and 1 Night (Tour Code -HW02)
Day 1
Guests are picked up at 06:30hrs from the hotel in a closed vehicle and transferred to Hwange Main camp where breakfast is served upon arrival. A game drive in a safari 4X4 truck starts immediately after breakfast and drives would be concentrated around water holes where animals frequently visit to quench their thirst.

Lunch
A superb selection of cold meats and salads is served at a picnic site in the park, while watching game passing. Desert, teas and coffees included.

Afternoon Game Drives
As the sun goes down animals are usually found near water holes, so our drives will be around different water holes, provided by the National Parks. This includes stops at the hide out or viewing platform where one can view the animals from above and a lot of action usually takes place at these hide outs. Many different species of birds is seen here. By dusk you would be leaving the park driving back to the hotel in a closed vehicle. On a good day you could see the Big Five on this trip. Clients are driven to a game viewing platform or Parks chalets were they would have dinner and spend a night watching game and listening to the sound of the night.

Day 2
Dawn game drive will be the first activity of the day and there are high chances of seeing a lions and a kill is very high. Breakfast is served at the Main camp after that the clients have time to freshen up before they continue on their afternoon trip. Lunch is served at one of the picnic sites, and the drive would continues there after till 17:00hrs where. Clients will be transferred back at the comfort of their hotel in an air-conditioned bus arriving in time for dinner at their Hotel.

Multiple day trips can also be arranged.
 
 

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