The Smoke that Thunders

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Peregrine on August 22, 2000

No words or pictures can describe the impact of seeing a torrent of water over a mile wide, simply plunge into a slit in the earth 364 feet deep…and to be able to watch the spectacle from only a few hundred yards away. There is incredible power in Africa. You can feel it in the air and see it in the landscape, but nowhere is it more evident than here. The power of the Falls is such that mist is tossed hundreds of feet into the air creating the only rainforest in Zimbabwe. There are places in the gorge where you can always see rainbows (assuming the sun is out). The sound is deafening. This is Mother Nature at her most dramatic, her most beautiful. The natives called the Falls Mosi-Oa-Tunya, The Smoke That Thunders. When David Livingstone named it after his Queen, it lost something in the translation.

Walk through the rainforest across the narrow gorge from the Falls. The relatively quiet paths open out for outrageous views of the raw power of nature and the breathtaking beauty. Near the beginning of the path, before you reach the statue of Livingstone, there are stone steps leading down toward into the gorge. It's a fantastic sight of the falls above you and the mist below. But be aware. The stone steps are slippery and unlike the U.S. there are no guardrails and tourists do fall into the gorge periodically. At the very end of the path, you have a view of the railroad bridge spanning the Zambezi below the Boiling Pot where the water crashing over the gorge is forced into narrow canyon. You also have a great view of the crazies bungee jumping of the bridge.

The trail is circular; you come back on a different path than you took going in. Along this drier path you'll encounter the baboons, and they are hysterical. The young males swing from branches like teenage boys showing off. The babies hide behind their mothers, and now and again an older males will stand in the pathway showing off his best side to the cameras. Do take a camera with you, but make sure it's protected from the mist that comes down in places like heavy rain. The hotel had provided us with ankle-length slickers and enormous umbrellas, and we were still soaked after our walk along the Falls.
Victoria Falls (Mosi-O-Tunya)
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

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