Mosi-oa-Tunya means: the smoke that thunders.

It’s an appropriate name for what the British named Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world, a mile-wide cataract in the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

My father spoke of it when I was a little girl. He told me one day, I should feast upon this incredible site, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

We traveled from the town of Livingstone, named after the famous British physician and missionary David Livingstone, by bus to Zimbabwe. We could hear the roar of the water, feel the spray long before I actually laid eyes on nature’s magnificence. There it was, in all its glory. Enormous amounts of water tumbling into a deep gorge, water and sun meeting everywhere to form rainbows.

In 1855, when Livingstone first encountered the fall of the Zambezi River, this is how he described it:

“After twenty minutes’ sail from Kalai we came in sight, for the first time, of the columns of vapor appropriately called ‘smoke,’ rising at a distance of five or six miles, exactly as when large tracts of grass are burned in Africa. Five columns now arose, and, bending in the direction of the wind, they seemed placed against a low ridge covered with trees; the tops of the columns at this distance appeared to mingle with the clouds. They were white below, and higher up became dark, so as to simulate smoke very closely.

The whole scene was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of color and form…no one can imagine the beauty of the view from any thing 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.”

My photographs do not do Victoria Falls justice.

If you every have a chance to see for yourself, go! Victoria makes Niagara look like a backyard waterfalls.

3 Replies to “Mosi-oa-Tunya”

  1. Hi Moni! I was at Victoria Falls in May! I came from Lusaka by car with two drivers — six hours each way. It cost me 2 MILLION kwacha, but was worth it! Did you cross the Knife-edge Bridge? I felt like I was walking through a car wash! We didn't bother with umbrellas or ponchos and I was thankful my contacts didn't wash out of my eyes! I also got a kick out of the sign at the spillway… in the U.S., it would have said, "Swimmers will be prosecuted." Here, it said to beware of sudden water surges!I think Eleanor Roosevelt said when she saw the Falls, "Poor Niagara."


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