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Visiting Victoria Falls

There is no sight quite like Victoria Falls. This massive waterfall in Southern Africa already has quite the reputation, but I will add just a bit here for you.
First off, the falls are called Mosi-oa-Tunya in the local dialect, which means, “The Smoke that Thunders,” which is a very appropriate name. Second, not only are the falls big, but the width is something that is hard to grasp: 5,604 feet long (or 1,704 meters). There are falls in the world that are taller and wider, but none combine such great heights and widths; Victoria Falls has the world’s largest sheet of falling water due to these factors.

The volume of water differs throughout the year, as the Zambezi River experiences a rainy season and a dry season that affect the flow. The spray from the falls reaches great heights (over 1,300 feet but can be double that) and can be visible from up to 50 kilometers away. When the falls are in full force, you will: a) not be able to see the bottom of the gorge, b) get pretty wet on your tour, and c) understand why the small area around the falls is considered a rainforest.
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls (Jason Maynard)
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls (Jason Maynard)

When it is time to take your tour of the falls, please opt for the private tour. You’ve probably traveled a great distance to get yourself to Zimbabwe; the extra thirty bucks for the private tour is well worth it so you can set your own pace inside the national park and have the full attention of your guide. Yes, the Falls (on the Zimbabwe side) must be visited by entering Victoria Falls National Park. Inside, not only is there multiple viewing options for the falls, but the rainforest allows for great bird watching (a birder in our group was hoping to spot Livingstone’s Tauraco while I enjoyed seeing the trumpeter hornbill). Of course, you can run across other animals while in the park (from monkeys to elephants) so always listen to your guide.

Depending on when you visit, you might need to prepare to get wet. The spray during certain months (the rainy season) will soak you even if it does not rain. The falls are impressive, and so is the mist they generate. Also, the stone paths can get slippery, so wear solid footwear. If you have a fancy camera, take the necessary precautions to keep it from getting too wet.

I would recommend you schedule your visit to Victoria Falls in the morning (the earlier the better). You’ll find it less crowded where you can appreciate the spectacular views and the awesome power of nature roaring in your ears and filling your eyes. Plus, once you are done, you can head to The Lookout Cafe for lunch overlooking the spectacular Batonka Gorge and views of the Victoria Falls Bridge. 
Me at the Lookout Cafe overlooking the Batonka Gorge
Me at the Lookout Cafe overlooking the Batonka Gorge (Jason Maynard)

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