Natural Wonders – Victoria Falls
Today’s post is brought to you courtesy of Wikipedia, and moi! It’s gorgeous country, and someday I’d love to visit there!
I have learned that missionary David Livingstone is the first know European to discover the falls in 1855. He named them Victoria Falls in honor of the British monarch at the time, Queen Victoria. The falls occur on the Zambezi River, running along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls. See table for comparisons.
There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle—the point from which Livingstone first viewed the falls.
When the river flow is at a certain level, a rock barrier forms an eddy with minimal current, allowing adventurous swimmers to splash around in relative safety a few feet from the point where the water cascades over the falls. Crazy daredevils!
Before 1905, the river was crossed above the falls at the Old Drift, by dugout canoe or a barge towed across with a steel cable. In 1905, with the influx of European influence and settlement, the first bridge across the Zambezi and [Cecil Rhodes] insisted it be built where the spray from the falls would fall on passing trains, so the site at the Second Gorge (of five gorges) was chosen.
The national parks contain abundant wildlife including sizable populations of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and a variety of antelope. Vervet monkeys and baboons are common. The river above the falls contains large populations of hippopotamus and crocodile. African bush elephants cross the river in the dry season at particular crossing points. Above the falls, herons, fish eagles and numerous kinds of waterfowl are common.
Mopane woodland savannah predominates in the area, with smaller areas of miombo and Rhodesian teak woodland and scrubland savannah. Riverine forest with palm trees lines the banks and islands above the falls. The most notable aspect of the area’s vegetation though is the rainforest nurtured by the spray from the falls, containing plants rare for the area such as pod mahogany, ebony, ivory palm, wild date palm and a number of creepers and lianas. Vegetation has suffered in recent droughts, and so have the animals that depend on it, particularly antelope.
Writing Prompt: What is your favourite attraction about Victoria Falls? Did you learn something new from my (humble) little post? Would you like to visit the falls?
Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina. She has three novels published, the unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess and Cissy are available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. She also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2017.
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Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas, Natural Wonders, Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Zambia, Zimbabwe, David Livingstone