Victoria Falls

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Victoria Falls
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Victoria Falls is a Natural Wonder of the world, and name of the resort town located in the Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe. The town is located on the northern border which separates Zimbabwe from Zambia, on the Zambezi River, about 1000km from it's source.

The Victoria Falls is home to the Tonga community. The falls were referred to as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which in the local Tonga language means 'the smoke that thunders'.[1] David Livingstone became the first European explorer to discover the Victoria Falls in 1855. He mapped the location and made it known to the outside world. Livingstone named the place Victoria Falls in honour of the Queen of Britain at that time.[2]

Background / Pre-History

The falls are rated among the seven best natural wonders of the world. 1708m wide and an average depth of 100m, they form the biggest single curtain of water in the world. Flow varies from 20 000m³ (November / December) to 500 000m³ at the end of the rains over western Zambia and Angola. At the time of record breaking floods of 1958, flow reached 700 000m³. In 2019, the flow over the falls was at a low of 109m³, a record low. [3] The falls were declared a World Natural Heritage Site by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).[4] One of the most striking features of the falls is the epic deafening sound and the continuous mist which is seen from miles away curling upwards from the town.[4] In the soils of the area are some of the richest archaeological sites in southern Africa.

While the whole world, and Victoria Falls with it (Victoria Falls rainforest was closed), was in lockdown to protect against the coronavirus pandemic, April 2020, Victoria Falls reached its highest flows in a decade. Zambezi River Authority data showed four times more water was flowing over the world’s largest waterfall than at the same time the year before – on 20 April 2020, 3,922m³ per second was recorded compared to 1,007m³ per second on 20 April 2019. Authority public relations and communications manager Elizabeth Karonga said the high water levels are due to a significant increase in both rainfall and run-off in the catchment area upstream of Victoria Falls. [5]


Victoria Falls Bridge was constructed in 1905. It is 202m across, with a single span of 152m, 90m above the Zambezi, and was the first link between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was originally only two rail tracks, but one rail track was replaced by a road deck in 1930. Road decking was replaced in 1980.

On 25 August 1975 the Victoria Falls Conference was held on the bridge in a railway dining car. Following meetings in Lusaka, in December 1974 Rhodesia released many nationalist political prisoners, and a ceasefire was arranged. Finally, talks were held in the car on the international border, between Ian Smith, Abel Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole, Joshua Nkomo, James Chikerema, and others. Kenneth Kaunda and John Vorster also attended the first sessions. The conference broke down the next day.[6]

Victoria Falls hosted the 20th edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly from the 24th to the 29th of August 2013.[7] The event attracted over 900 delegates from member states all over the world.[8]

Rise above Zimbabwe's Economic Mess

When you visit Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, you will find that it is still one of the Wonders of the World in the traditional geomorphological sense. But, you will quickly discover that it is also an economic Wonder of the World. Indeed, when you enter the town of Victoria Falls, it’s as if you have walked into an alternative African economic universe. Victoria Falls is an island of stability in Zimbabwe, a country that has descended into monetary and fiscal chaos. How could this be?

Victoria Falls is an enclave that has long operated under very different monetary rules. As a key tourist destination in Southern Africa, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to view the thunderous volume of water passing into the Zambezi’s 300-ft deep gorge — a true Wonder of the World.

Traveling from any other place in Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls is like stepping through a portal that aligns much more with an experience of visiting, say, Yosemite Valley in the United States. Hotels, lodges, and restaurants abound, offering everything from down-home cooking to elegant five-course meals. Safari companies offer a wide variety of first-class venues. U.S. and other international credit cards are gladly accepted, a rarity in other parts of Zimbabwe. And, the glue that holds Victoria Falls together is the U.S. dollar. It’s the coin of the realm in Victoria Falls. Yes, Victoria Falls is officially dollarized. It only accepts U.S. dollars for payment of property taxes and keeps its books in U.S. dollars as well.

There is also a new stock market in the city: The Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX). The VFEX trade securities listed in U.S. dollars and other convertible currencies. The new "dollarized" market would challenge the National Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in Harare, which has few trades and little investor trust because the stocks are traded in Zimbabwe’s local currency.

So, to many, Victoria Falls qualifies as a Wonder of the World in more than one sphere. It’s not just the great falls on the Zambezi that make it so wondrous, but the dollarized world of the city, too.[9]

Popular Places

While the major attraction of the town is the falls, Victoria Falls town is also home to:

  • the bridge,
  • bungee jumping (from the bridge) into the gorges,
  • the Rain Forest,
  • white water rafting,
  • game viewing at the Victoria Falls National Park and Zambezi National Park. These two major parks are home to diverse wildlife including the 'Big Five' - elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and white rhinoceros. In addition, herds of buffaloes, antelopes, zebras and giraffes add diversity to the game parks.
  • river cruises,
  • fishing (tiger and bream).

[10] [4]
The resort nature of the Victoria Falls town make hotels and lodges the most notable of all places. These include the;

Some small lodges and camping sites are available throughout the town to offer accommodation and resting facilities for the touring communities.


Tose Sansole was elected as a Councilor for Victoria Falls Council as an independent in 1999. He would serve as executive mayor from 2003 to 2008.

October 2022 Allegations

Ronnie Dube, the Victoria Falls Town Clerk, was arrested in October 2022, after allegations were made against him and others. Somvelo Dhlamini, Victoria Falls Mayor, was arrested earlier in October on allegations of fraud. Residents allege that councillors and Dube sold a piece of land which had been set aside for a water, hygiene and sanitation project, for only US$4 million instead of the US$14 million which was agreed to by a full council meeting. [11]

In November 2022, the City’s finance director Nerville Ndlovu was been suspended to pave way for investigations into allegations of gross misconduct. Acting Mayor, Councillor Tonderai Mutasa confirmed the suspension adding that six other employees have resigned.
The Mayor Clr Somvelo Dhlamini was further remanded in custody to 21 November 2022 by the Hwange regional magistrates court to allow for further investigations into his case. Dhlamini was arrested on 6 October on charges of illegally acquiring a housing stand from the local authority. He is accused of prejudicing Victoria Falls Municipality of US$15 000 and a potential prejudice of US$66 462.75. [12]


The 1969 Census shows 2880 Africans, 567 Europeans, 3 Asians and 4 Coloureds (Total 3450) people living there.
The Chinotimba high-density suburb accommodates the majority of the residents. Currently, there are over 50 000 residents. [13] In this multicultural community, Asians, Arabs, and Europeans are the majority of the tourists who frequent the town.

See Mkhosana Adventist School.

Visitors Guide :Tips and Events

  • Victoria Falls Jazz Festival,
  • Victoria Falls Carnival,
  • Victoria Falls Marathon
  • Any time of the year is a good time to visit, however one might want to avoid April (peak rainy/flood season) when the falls are at their fullest. They create so much mist that not only will you get soaked but it is also nearly impossible to even see the falls through the haze.
  • The Devil's Pool: Hanging off the edge of Victoria Falls. The devil’s pool is only accessible from Zambia. Visit at the end of the dry season around November. This is when the rate of flow is at its lowest which makes going to the Devil’s Pool safest.
  • 2021 Victoria Falls Tourist Accident, [[2]]

See Distances in Zimbabwe

Further Reading

Encyclopedia Zimbabwe [14]

Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia [6]

Encyclopaedia Rhodesia [15]


Victoria Falls Facts

  • The Victoria falls are known as "Mosi oa-Tunya" which means "the smoke that thunders")
  • In Nov 1855 the falls were made known to the outside world by David Livingstone
  • There are an estimated 75 species of fish inhabiting the falls.
  • Victoria Falls is approximately 5577 feet wide and varies in height from 262- 304 feet.


The Victoria Falls At Its Peak In 4K!


  1. The Victoria Falls Zambia, Published: 16 June 2014, Retrieved 16 June 2014
  2. Victoria Falls, Retrieved: 16 June 2014
  3. [The Week, Issue 1252 Victoria Falls; Drought Threat], The Week, Published: 9 November 2019, Retrieved: 29 November 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 , VICTORIA FALLS & ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARKS, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority, ,Retrieved: 16 June 2014
  5. LOCKDOWN: Victoria Falls in lonely majestic splendour, The Herald, Published: 21 April 2020, Retrieved: 22 April 2020
  6. 6.0 6.1 [R. Kent Rasmussen (ed), Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia] (The Scarecrow Press, London, 1979) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  7. UNWTO General Assembly, NewsDay, Published: 26 August 2013, Retrieved: 16 June 2014
  8. Melisa Mpofu, ’20th UNWTO best attended’, NewsDay, Published:26 August 2013,Retrieved: 16 June 2014
  9. Steve H. Hanke and Craig Richardson, [1], National Review, Published: 10 December, 2020, Accessed: 19 January, 2021
  10. Victoria Falls Bungee Jumping, Retrieved: 16 June 2014
  11. Victoria Falls Town Clerk Refuses To Resign Over Corruption Allegations, Pindula, Published: 26 October 2022, Retrieved: 26 October 2022
  12. Victoria Falls City Council’s Finance Director Suspended, Pindula, Published: 8 November 2022, Retrieved: 9 November 2022
  13. Victoria Falls Guide, Retrieved: 16 June 2014"
  14. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019
  15. [Mary Akers (ed.), Encyclopaedia Rhodesia] (The College Press, Salisbury, 1973) Retrieved 8 August 2019"

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