|The tourists were gathered close to the edge of the falls to take photos of this rainbow. We managed to squeeze in for this photo.|
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|Of course, we’d see elephants crossing the road on our way to see the Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe. (Photo was taken from the rear window of Webster’s van).|
We had a busy Sunday morning. After a pleasant buffet breakfast in the Protea Marriot’s main dining room, we decided we needed to tackle the “getting cash” issue.
|Crossing the border from Zambia to Zimbabwe was a little cumbersome but to be expected.|
We decided to give another ATM a try, not the machine that “ate” our debit card but another at the same bank. Yes, we’d lost one debit card but we have another and hoped to be able to get more cash today after yesterday’s paltry kwacha 800 (US $80.82) which is almost gone after paying for taxi fares, entrance fees to the falls, and tips.
|Attendants managed the people and vehicles crossing the single lane Victoria Falls Bridge,|
The hotel’s concierge arranged a taxi and off we went to a local strip mall. Another stop we needed to make was to find sunglasses for me after my only pair had developed such scratches in the plastic lenses, I couldn’t see a thing.
|We entered the Victoria Falls Zimbabwe National Park at this entrance.|
I should have thought of this before we left South Africa but when I realized how bad they were but we didn’t feel like making the long round trip drive to Komatipoort for a pair of sunglasses.
At the same ATM, for some odd reason, we were able to take out kwacha 8000 (US $808.16) in two separate transactions. What a relief! Now, we can pay Chris for the balance of our tours and have cash left for more taxis and tips over the remaining five days in Zambia until we return to South Africa.
Thanks to this morning’s good taxi driver, he took us to a nearby pharmacy he knew was open by 9:00 am on Sunday and alas, I found a pair of sunglasses for kwacha 199, US $20.10, that weren’t the best quality or the look I’d prefer but I wasn’t picky at this point.
|Henry Morton Stanley meets Dr. David Livingstone and supposedly says,” Dr. Livingstone, I presume.” That story remains here in Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Photo from this site.|
|The sights and sounds were unlike anything we’ve seen in the past.|
There’s so much history regarding Victoria Falls, we could spend days writing the equivalent of historical essays. But, we’ve found not all of our readers prefer a history lesson when reading our posts. We continue to provide plenty of links for that purpose. There’s no point in redundancy.
|I told Tom he looked like a Teletubbie. Cute, eh?|
Instead, we’ll continue to post links and a few morsels of the history, geography, and geology of Victoria Falls while we’re here in this region. Please let us know if you’d prefer more details on these topics within the body of our posts as opposed to clicking on links.
|We’ve never seen so many rainbows in one day!|
We attempt to provide a reasonable mix of our lives of world travel coupled with details of places we visit along the way. If you’d like to see something different, we’d be thrilled to hear from you.
|This sign may be read by zooming in.|
Here are a few facts about Dr. David Livingstone and his discovery of Victoria Falls from this site:
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855, from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two landmasses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls near the Zambian shore. Livingstone named his discovery in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain, but the indigenous Tonga name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”The Smoke That Thunders”—continues in common usage as well. The World Heritage List officially recognizes both names. Livingstone also cites an older name, Seongo or Chongwe, which means “The Place of the Rainbow” as a result of the constant spray. The nearby national park in Zambia is named Mosi-oa-Tunya, whereas the national park and town on the Zimbabwean shore are both named Victoria Falls.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft), at a height of 108 meters (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is rough twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width, Victoria Falls is rivaled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls.
|I was happy to see Tom safely return from climbing to the top on the wet slippery bridge. Tom tackled this wet bridge without me. I’m not quite as surefooted as he is. It was slippery, the visibility was poor and I wouldn’t have been able to take photos in the heavy mist so I stayed behind with Alec while we awaited his return. I was getting worried when he’d been gone a long time. Seeing him in his yellow poncho made me sigh with relief.|
For a considerable distance upstream from the falls, the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt, in a shallow valley, bounded by low and distant sandstone hills. The river’s course is dotted with numerous tree-covered islands, which increase in number as the river approaches the falls. There are no mountains, escarpments, or deep valleys; only a flat plateau extending hundreds of kilometers in all directions.
The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a transverse chasm 1708 meters (5604 ft) wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau. The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 meters (260 ft) at its western end to 108 meters (354 ft) in the center. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110-meter (360 ft) wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end. The whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges from this narrow cleft.
|Tom returning from crossing the Knife Edge Bridge to the highest peak in the falls. He was soaked and a few of his photos came out when taken through the plastic bag.|
There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle—the point from which Livingstone first viewed the falls. At less than a full flood, additional islets divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Devil’s Cataract (called Leaping Water by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (the highest), and the Eastern Cataract.
The Zambezi river, upstream from the falls, experiences a rainy season from late November to early April, and a dry season the rest of the year. The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April, The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 meters (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 48 km (30 mi) away. At full moon, a “moonbow” can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain, especially at Zambia’s Knife-Edge Bridge.
|The spray was so intense we had to leave the camera in a plastic bag, resulting in this blurry photo of me dressed in a pink plastic poncho.|
As the dry season takes effect, the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous, and in September to January up to half of the rocky face of the falls may become dry and the bottom of the First Gorge can be seen along most of its length. At this time it becomes possible (though not necessarily safe) to walk across some stretches of the river at the crest. It is also possible to walk to the bottom of the First Gorge at the Zimbabwean side. The minimum flow, which occurs in November, is around a tenth of the April figure; this variation inflow is greater than that of other major falls, and causes Victoria Falls’ annual average flow rate to be lower than might be expected based on the maximum flow.“
Should you desire additional information please click this link as mentioned above.
|Another exquisite rainbow.|
Today will be a low-key day now that we’ve settled our cash issue. It’s already 1:00 pm and we’re content to be a little lazy today. Since it’s Sunday, the center of town is quiet so we’ll reserve our exploration on foot for another day.
|Tom with his back to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side.|
We arranged all of our tours for every other day to ensure we’d have times in between to sort through our zillions of photos and prepare posts consistently for each of the seven days of this trip.
Tomorrow, we’ll share the story and photos of last night’s dinner in a local pub…very interesting. Being entrenched with the locals always adds so much to our experiences and we plan to dine at popular local spots as opposed to some of the typical tourist’s establishments.
|There were countless rainbows over the falls.|
We’ll be back tomorrow with a new post which we’re preparing today. Tomorrow, beginning at 7:00 am we’ll be off for an exciting full-day tour which we’ll be excited to post on Tuesday. We’ll keep the photos and stories coming!
|Another stunning view of Victoria Falls in its full beauty. May proved to be an excellent month to see the falls at the end of the rainy season.|
To all the moms out there, may you have a spectacular Mother’s Day. We hope your loved ones make this a very special day you’ll always remember!
Photo from one year ago today, May 13, 2017:
|A reminder of cannibalism in the South Pacific. For more island photos, please click here.|