Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall on the planet when you factor in height and width. Together this creates the largest curtain of falling water in the world that can even be seen from space.
Victoria Falls has been classed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being a World Heritage Site. Victoria Falls is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. But do you know why? Please keep reading to find out more about our Victoria Falls and why it is worth revisiting time and time again.
Why is Victoria Falls a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
UNESCO designates unique places on the planet as World Heritage Sites if they feel them to be of outstanding value to humanity for their cultural, scientific or historical value. These sites are worthy of legal protection for future generations to enjoy. Africa has 145 World Heritage Sites in 35 different countries. One is located in Zambia, with the Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls being given the honour in 1989.
Why is Victoria Falls called Mosi-oa-Tunya?
The original local name for the waterfall was Mosi-oa-Tunya which roughly translates to ‘The Smoke That Thunders’. Anyone that has gazed upon this stunning example of nature’s beauty can easily see why it was given this name. During high water, from about December through June annually, the mist from Victoria Falls can be seen from up to 50 kilometres away, and the thunderous roar is almost deafening. The mist and spray rise up to 400 metres into the air and can easily be seen from Livingstone town centre.
Why is Mosi-oa-Tunya called Victoria Falls?
On November 17th 1855, the intrepid explorer, doctor and missionary David Livingstone first gazed upon the world’s largest waterfall from the vantage point of Livingstone Island in present-day Zambia. He was so awe-struck that he named the waterfall after his reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.
What are the Seven Natural Wonders of the World?
The Seven Natural Wonders of the World and their locations are listed below:
- Victoria Falls – Zambia/Zimbabwe
- Aurora Borealis – Arctic Circle including Norway, Greenland, Canada
- Harbour of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
- Grand Canyon – USA
- Mount Everest – Nepal/Tibet
- Great Barrier Reef – Australia
- Paricutin Volcano – Mexico
How can I see Victoria Falls?
It is possible to fly into Zambia through the Harry Mwaanga Nkambula International Airport in Livingstone or the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. Once in Livingstone, you can see the Victoria Falls from the air in a microlight or helicopter. You can also swim on the edge of the Victoria Falls in the Devil’s Pool or Angel’s Pool located on Livingstone Island or swim underneath the Victoria Falls on an Under the Spray Tour. A visit to the Victoria Falls National Park is also a must for every visitor to Zambia and is open daily.
What is a lunar rainbow?
A lunar rainbow or moonbow is when the moon’s light interacts with the Victoria Falls spray, producing a faint mystical rainbow at night. Avid photographers should bring a tripod and test their skills at capturing this phenomenon in all its splendor. The Zambezi River’s water levels need to be high to produce the spray required to make the lunar rainbow, so it is best to be seen from December through June annually. A clear night is also necessary to get the full strength of the moon’s light, so if you are keen to see a moonbow, we recommend coming in April, May or June when the rains are likely to have finished.