By Florence Gichoya
I first learnt about the seven wonders of the world when I was 10 years old. As years went by I soaked in as much information I got about the Wonders with a lot of delight and I desired to visit all of them in my lifetime.
Fast forward to 2012 and the golden opportunity to visit the falls came. Before I came to Zambia I always perceived that the falls were based in Zimbabwe. This was because when I was young, I had watched on Kenya Broadcasting Channel (KBC) the state visit of former president Daniel Moi to Zimbabwe, he toured the falls and Zambia was not mentioned. It was a good surprise to learn this year that the falls are on the Zambia territory.
The falls are part of river Zambezi and are located in Livingstone town named after a Christian missionary called David Livingstone who came to the area in 1885. The local name for the falls is Mosi-oa-tunya which means ‘cloud that thunders’. It was David Livingstone who named the falls after Queen Victoria who was the reigning monarch at the time.
Livingstone is a small town with humid weather and the people are relaxed and very friendly. The Victoria Falls are about 15 minutes’ drive from the town centre. I visited the falls during the rainy season and that’s the best time to tour them because they are more spectacular due to large amount of water flowing over the gorges.
After I paid the entrance fee I was assigned a tour guide. As I walked through the pathway on a cliff that is directly opposite the falls, I was amazed at its width of about 1.7km, making it the largest falls on earth. I was awestruck because I had never experienced anything like that before. Since it was the rainy season the falls were a force to reckon with, we were drenched by the sprays of water formed as the water flowed to the ground and rose as vapour which fell like rain. Some tourists carried umbrellas which did not help much as water was flowing in all directions.
As the Zambezi flowed over the gouge it made a thunderous sound. It was incredible to watch the rainbows that formed as the waters descended. I spent about 30 minutes admiring the falls and I was mesmerized. I was later taken by the tour guide to the boiling point where the water from the falls converges.
The walk to the boiling point is surrounded by different variety of flora and various trees species. The water current at the boiling point is very strong especially during the rainy season and good swimmers can easily drown. The water flows to form circular waves and it was a beauty to behold.
While at the boiling point, I could see the Road and Rail Bridge that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe and below it River Zambezi flowed to Zimbabwe. On that bridge there were people bungee jumping and occasionally few would scream as they were suspended by a rope waiting to be pulled up. I thought that was the craziest thing anyone could do! What if the rope broke?
That evening as I left the Victoria Falls I couldn’t help but marvel; no wonder it is a wonder of the world. I urge my readers to visit Victoria Falls. I purposed to come back again and bungee jump. I hope I will have the courage when that time comes.