The Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and the major waterfall on the Zambezi River in Africa. It is famous for being the largest waterfall in the world, in the wet season. The African people who live around the falls call it Mosi-oa-Tunya which means “smoke that thunders”

The Victoria Falls is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world. They are not the widest waterfall or the highest waterfall but with all dimensions taken into account, including almost the largest flow rate, they are considered to be thebiggest curtain of falling water in the world.

Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Statistically speaking, it is the largest waterfall in the world. This recognition comes from combining the height and width together to create the largest single sheet of flowing water. … He named the falls after the reining queen at the time.

Victoria Falls is the biggest curtain of falling water in the world, forming the most remarkable feature of the Zambezi River. The Victoria Falls height varies from 70 metres to 108 metres, and is 1708 metres wide. The five most important areas of the waterfall include:

  • The Devil’s Cataract is 70 metres high and is named after the adjacent island in the river. Local tribes used to perform sacrificial ceremonies and when the missionaries arrived in the area they referred to these ceremonies as “devilish” and hence the name given to this cataract.
  • The Main Falls are 93 metres high and the most majestic with their wide curtain of water, and a peak flow rate of 700 000 cubic metres per minute. The sheer volume over the height of the falls is so great that before getting anywhere near the ground, the water is buffeted by the strong rising winds and turned into mist.
  • Horseshoe Falls (95 metres high) is shaped like a horseshoe and with the lowest volume of water it will be the first to dry up, usually between October and November.
  • The highest point of 108 metres is called the Rainbow Falls. On a clear day a beautiful rainbow can normally be viewed at this point
  • The Eastern Cataract is the second highest point at 101 metres and is situated completely on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls with stunning views from the Zimbabwean side at Danger Point.


There are seven principle gorges after the actual Victoria Falls with vertical walls some 120 metres high with the level of the river varying up to 20 metres between the wet and dry seasons.

The seven principle gorges are:

  • The first is the one that the Zambezi River falls into at Victoria Falls
  • The second gorge is 250 metres south of the falls and is roughly 2.15 kilometres long
  • The third gorge is 1.95 kilometres long and 600 metres south of the Victoria Falls
  • The fourth gorge is 2.25 kilometres long and 1.15 metres further south
  • The fifth gorge is called Songwe and is 5.3 kilometres south of the Victoria Falls, stretching for 3.3 kilometres.

The last gorge, Batoka is below the Songwe gorge and about 120 kilometres long as the river runs and 80 kilometres as the crow flies, ending east of the Victoria Falls.

In 1989, the Victoria Falls became a World Heritage Site, meaning it belongs to all the people of the word, irrespective of the territory on which the different World Heritage sites are located.

As water falls down the Victoria Falls gorge, a spray is produced that is lifted upwards by currents of air that rise up from the bottom. As the spray rises the small droplets condense and fall, creating the localised areas where it appears to be constantly raining. The clouds of spray are often seen from many kilometres away, although the height and visibility vary greatly due to local conditions, and of course the volume of the Zambezi’s flow.


Comment: Wildlife & Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia

P.O. Box 30255, Lusaka, Zambia.

Telefax: 260-211-251630, Cell: 0977-780770


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