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Victoria falls: The whole volume of the Zambezi River pours through the First Gorge’s 110-meter-wide (360 ft) exit for a distance of about 150 meters (500 ft), then enters a zigzagging series of gorges designated by the order in which the river reaches them. Water entering the Second Gorge makes a sharp right turn and has carved out a deep pool there called the Boiling Pot.
VICTORIA FALLS – ZIMBABWE
Victoria Falls, the town, is Africa’s undisputed adventure capital where one can experience the thrill of whitewater rafting, bungi jumping, canoe trips, sky diving and plenty more. Add to this some excellent reserves for game viewing, sundowner river cruises, elephant-back safaris and helicopter flips, and it is easy to see why Victoria Falls is a top destination. The area is highly recommended as an all-year-round tourist destination and offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit one of Africa’s truly unique locations. Victoria Falls is accessible by daily direct flights, 1 hour 40 minutes, from Johannesburg. Self-drive options are popular with stops en-route including the Makgadikgadi Pans, Chobe and Namibia.
VICTORIA FALLS – ZAMBIA
Zambia is home to the Victoria Falls, spectacular wildlife, superb safaris, great adventures, rich culture and friendly people. Livingstone is named after the missionary and explorer David Livingstone, and is located only 10 km from the thundering Victoria Falls. The main street of this quaint colonial town is the Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, sections of which are lined with classic colonial buildings. These Victorian tin roofed houses with wooden verandas are a typical example of the English settler architecture. The Livingstone Museum is worth a visit. It contains many interesting displays including a collection of David Livingstone memorabilia. Livingstone is accessible by direct flights, 1 hour 45 minutes, from Johannesburg. Self-drive options are popular with stops enroute including the Makgadikgadi Pans, Chobe and Namibia.
CHOBE – KASANE, BOTSWANA
The Chobe National Park and river, bordering the town of Kasane, is only 80 km upstream from the Victoria Falls. The water of the Chobe River begins its journey in the Central Angolan highlands, weaving its way south along the Angolan Zambian Border, across the Caprivi Strip to become the Linyati Swamp, then the Chobe River flows east to Kasane. At its confluence with the Zambezi River lie the borders of four countries – Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The Chobe National Park is home to the worlds largest elephant population which congregate in their hundreds along the banks of the Chobe River. A river boat safari will take you close to these herds as they graze on the floodplains. Big herds of buffalo also frequent the floodplains and in their wake come the lions. Other animals to be found along the river bank are giraffe, bushbuck, kudu, waterbuck and impala. Chobe is one of those places, that if visited again and again, there is always some new experience with the animals, always that spectacular sunrise or sunset, always the river and always the cry of the fish eagle. Chobe is easily accessible with flights to Kasane, Livingstone or the Victoria Falls. Chobe is only an hours drive from Victoria Falls and Livingstone, making it the perfect holiday combination package.
The recent geological history of Victoria Falls can be seen in the form of the gorges below the falls. The basalt plateau over which the Upper Zambezi flows has many large cracks filled with weaker sandstone. In the area of the current falls the largest cracks run roughly east to west (some run nearly north-east to south-west), with smaller north-south cracks connecting them.
Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges. The river’s course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.
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While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The falls’ maximum flow rate compares well with that of other major waterfalls (see table below).
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 which might be expected to create a waterfall, only flat plateau extending hundreds of kilometres 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 metres (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 metres (260 ft) at its western end to 108 metres (354 ft) in the centre. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110 metres (360 ft) wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end, through which the whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges.overcast skies and chilly evenings,
The Victoria Falls is the widest curtain of falling water on earth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of only seven natural wonders on the planet. Mist from the waterfalls can be seen more than 20 km away and the thundering roar can be heard long before the Falls can be seen, which explains the Falls’ local name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning the “Smoke that Thunders”. The Falls are on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe and there is something magical about this towering column of falling water and the abyss and tranquil lagoons upstream in which hippo and crocodiles lurk.
US Dollars and major credit cards are generally accepted in Victoria Falls, Zambia and Botswana. Do not buy foreign currency from street vendors.
English is widely spoken throughout these regions.
GMT +2 (same as South Africa).
SA passport holders require visas in Zimbabwe that are issued free of charge upon arrival. No visas are required for either Zambia, Botswana or Namibia for South African passport holders. All other passport holders should check with their relevant local embassy before travel. Visitor’s passports must be valid at least six months after their date of return.
Anti-malaria precautions are recommended. Yellow fever innoculation is required for Zambia.
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