Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Victoria Falls : 33 Facts That You Did Not Know

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The world-famous Victoria falls in the Zambezi River in Southern Africa is probably one of the world’s largest waterfalls and is the life source of many human beings, animals, and plants. It seems so that Victoria falls facilitates and runs its ecosystem.

Victoria Falls is the largest falls in the world.
Victoria Falls is the largest falls in the world.

The Victoria Falls on the river Zambezi in the south of the African subcontinent. The river is found on the border of the countries Zambia and Zimbabwe. The waterfall stretches itself to a width of about 1708 meters, and the height is about 108 meters tall. The average water flow rate of this mighty creation is about 1088 m3/s.

Some Facts about Victoria Falls

1. Archaeological evidence.

Several archaeological artifacts from the early stone age were found along with Oldowan tools, Sangoan tools, and Lupemban artifacts that belonged to the Middle Stone Age. A few potteries remain from the Early Iron Age were found in the 1960s.

2. Initial naming of Victoria Falls.

Shungu na mutitima was the name given to Victoria Falls by the Southern Tonga people known as the Batoka people. The people belonging to the Matabele named the falls aManz’ a Thunqayo.

David Livingstone.
David Livingstone.

3. Discoverer of Victoria Falls.

The first person recorded to discover the Victoria falls was a Scots man who was an explorer and a missionary of the name David Livingstone on the 16th of November, 1855. A town which is in Zambia was named after the discoverer. The falls’ discoverer decided to call it Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria to pay respect to her.

Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom.
Queen Victoria.

4. Glory of the discoverer.

A giant bronze statue of the explorer and founder of the Victoria Falls, David Livingstone, is found on the part that falls on Zimbabwe. The statue was erected in such a manner so that it looks like it is looking over the waterfall.

5. Native acceptance.

The common native language name is Mosi-oa-Tunya, the local Bantu language, which translates to The Smoke That Thunders. The World Heritage List recorded and recognized both the terms. It is proven that human beings have lived in the surrounding area of Victoria Falls and facilitated it for at least a period of 2 million years.

6. Early presence in maps.

According to a map drawn by the famous Nicholas de Fer back in the year 1715, the falls were marked at the correct spot where it is located. It also had the possible trade routes drawn on it, and it seems David Livingstone merely followed those lines 140 years later.

Jacques Nicholas Bellin had also drawn a map where he marked the falls as cataracts and further wrote about a group of people who used to inhabit the Zambezi river’s northern side, extraordinarily amiable with the Portuguese people during that time.

7. Early founders of the Victoria Falls.

David Livingstone may be known as the Victoria Falls founder, but he is just the first European citizen to notice the falls. The tribes living around knew about the falls very well, and so did the Voortrekker hunters, and the Arab travelers too might have some knowledge about the Falls. Some people believe that a Portuguese priest named Goncalo da Silveira was the first European to discover the Victoria Falls way back during the sixteenth century.

8. European discoverers.

Europeans were not sure of the existence of the Victoria Falls due to the land’s unlikely conditions. Livingstone had acquired some relevant information about the Victoria Falls and thus sailed on to find it. At first, he witnessed the Ngonye Falls and was happy to see the beauty, but later on, discovering the Victoria Falls, he was spellbound with the beauty of this mighty natural creation.

9. Rediscovery by David Livingstone.

In 1860, Livingstone returned to the Victoria Falls once again, but this time he had a companion. John Kirk accompanied him, and they made a detailed study of the falls.

10. Discoverers from over the world.

After a few years, in 1875, the Portuguese explorer Serpa Pinto and the Czech explorer Emil Holub were the first ones to go to the falls and make a detailed plan of the entire Victoria Falls as its surroundings. Thomas Baines was the first artist from Europe whose work was one of the firsts to feature the Victoria Falls.

11. Tourists in Victoria Falls.

It was only after the year 1905 that other European explorers and even tourists started visiting the Victoria Falls.

12. Commercial use of the falls.

Only after the 1900s, the area in and around Victoria Falls was exposed to hunt for valuable minerals, timber forests, ivory, and even animal skins.

13. Roads and constructions around the Victoria Falls.

Initially, the river had to be crossed by the dugout canoe or a barge piece hanged with a steel cable at the Old Drift. According to Cecil Rhodes, the plans of a bridge for the Cape Cairo Railway were made. It was to be built in such a way so that the spray of the water coming from the falls would shower over the trains passing by.

14. Railway in the Victoria Falls.

The railway was built, and it provided travel opportunity till Cape, which was in the south from 1905, whereas from 1909, traveling was possible up to the Belgian Congo located in the north.

15. Hospitality industry in Victoria Falls.

The Victoria Falls Hotel was opened in the year 1904 to provide food and lodging for passengers who arrived at the railway station. The Victoria Falls became exceedingly popular when the British colonized Zambia and Zimbabwe, known as Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia. More and more tourists started visiting these falls.

16. Popularity in association with Zimbabwe.

After Zimbabwe received Independence and was internationally recognized in 1980; Victoria Falls received a new recognition wave. In that place, tourism became increasingly popular, and various kinds of adventure sports were started in the falls.

Whitewater rafting in the gorges became famous, and bungee jumping was started from the newly constructed bridge, horse riding in the adjacent areas surrounding the falls, kayaking, and even game fishing and fishing as a hobby.

17. Increase of tourists in Victoria Falls.

In the 1990s, a survey proved that around 400,000 tourists visited Victoria Falls every year, and it was escalating. Traveling in the falls and its surrounding places is more or less inexpensive, and the people of Zambia and Zimbabwe visited there too.

18. National parks in the falls.

There are two National Parks in that area: Mosi oa Tunya National Park is 66 kilometers square, and Victoria Falls National Park is 23 kilometers square. There is also the Zambezi National Park, which is extended about 40 kilometers. Animals can freely move across the borders, but they have to get a visa made whenever anyone wants to cross the boundaries.

Mosi oa Tunya National Park
Mosi oa Tunya National Park

19. Animal habitats around the falls.

.Animals found in these National Parks are cape buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, elephants, lions, antelopes of various kinds, leopards, and South African cheetahs, baboons, velvet monkeys, hippopotamuses, and crocodiles too.

Many otters, badgers, and lizards can be found along with eagles, falcons, herons, and waterfowls. There are different species of fishes that can be found above and below Victoria Falls.

20. Vegetation around the falls.

The vegetation of that area mostly has mopane woodland savannah, some miombo, Rhodesian teak, and even scrubland savannah. There are palm trees in the islands above the falls. The trees receive water throughout the area from the spray of the falls, and it nurtures them.

Some trees popularly found in that area are ivory palm trees, wild date palms, pod mahoganies, ebonies, batoko plums, and many lianas and creepers. The natural balance has suffered in that area recently due to failing climatic conditions, and animals like antelopes have become scarce.

21. Victoria Falls is the largest in the world.

The Victoria falls technically is not the tallest or widest waterfall ever that existed. Due to its blended width and height, it is considered the largest waterfall in the world. The only other waterfall that comes near its size is the Iguazu Falls in Brazil.

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

22. Formation of the falls.

The Victoria Falls was originally formed due to the Zambezi river joining the Limpopo river through Botswana. A piece of elevated land had blocked this route, and the Lake Makgadikgadi was formed in the middle of the Kalahari Desert and the Batoka Basaltic Plateau belonging to the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It started draining in the west and cut the Batoka Gorge in this way.

23. Gorges in the falls.

The Batoka Gorge has six impressive gorges and eight previous positions of the falls. The gorges that are located on the east and west provide structure.

24. Rerouting of the falls.

It has been observed that the falls probably have started making a new way for themselves; a slight dip on the Devil’s Cataract is the way to prove that. The falls are the lowest point here and a source of concern in case a flood occurs.

Devil's Cataract
Devil’s Cataract

25. Sediments in the layers of the falls.

The layers of sediments, known as the Victoria Falls Formation, comprise gravel, sandstone, Kalahari Sands, aeolian sand, and alluvium.

26. Area around Victoria Falls.

The Zambezi river flows through a more or less flat piece of land, and the islands mainly surround it. There are no uneven, hilly areas nearby or very low and deep valleys. It’s mostly a level of flat land that goes extremely easy to the eyes. Primarily the central part of the falls is in Zimbabwe.

27. Flood occurrence due to the falls.

Because flat islands surround it, the river is very mighty and healthy and doesn’t cause dangerous floods. The Boaruka Island, which is also known as the Cataract Island, which is on the western side of the river and the Livingstone Island, has been named after its founder is in the middle, which is said to be the spot from where he first noticed the falls.

28. Damage control after floods.

Even if there is the possibility of a dangerous flood, the water gets divided and flows through a few other islets too. These islets are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Devil’s Cataract, Eastern Cataract, Main Falls, and the Rainbow Falls. Devil’s Pool is on end, just a few inches difference from the edge.

29. Beauty of the Victoria Falls.

The Victoria Falls falls (little joke there, hehe) under The Seven Natural Wonders in the world. It’s a magical natural phenomenon to witness this mighty beauty and marvel over its exquisiteness on seeing it in person. The Victoria Falls is so massive that one can see it from about a distance of 30 kilometers.

30. Seasons experienced in the area in and around the falls.

The area in and around the Victoria Falls experiences the monsoon season from the last of November till early April in the following year. The waterfall spray can be viewed from far, far away, and a very unusual phenomenon occurs on the full moon’s nights. Instead of the bright and cheerful rainbow, an exquisite unique beauty known as the moonbow or the lunar rainbow can be witnessed.

31. Spray from the falls.

Due to the massive area that sprays falls on, the rain forest survives and thrives. Many rare varieties of plants can be found in this rain forest. During the months when there is complete rainfall, the Victoria Falls spray makes it possible for 24 hours of continuous rainfall.

The spray from Victoria Falls
The spray from Victoria Falls

32. Dry seasons.

When the region goes through a dry season, the water level goes down, and it’s possible to merely take a stroll in the river. As years pass by, the river’s flow in the dry seasons and the annual flow rate decrease due to severe climate change issues. Victoria Falls is on the verge of experiencing one of the worst droughts in the century.

33. Two parts of the Victoria Falls.

The Victoria Falls is the one that dissects the Zambezi river into almost two halves. There’s a pool at the end of the gorge named the Boiling Pot, which is because the water moves in a swirling motion and the rough consistency of the water. The Boiling Pot is the part that collects all the precipice because it cannot escape the tough currents over there.

Crisis in the Victoria Falls

In 2020, it was made to public notice that the existence of the falls is threatened. The temperature rise has dried and made the area very hot.

The study of Dube and Nhamo has proved that water flow has decreased considerably, not just annually but monthly. Droughts are increasing every year. The Victoria Falls has lost the charm that it previously had, and it is believed that in a matter of few years, Victoria Falls might become one of the gravely endangered sites listed by the World Heritage Sites.





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