"Mosi-oa-tunya" or the smoke that thunders is the term locals use to describe Victoria Falls. In the 1850's a Scottish man named David Livingstone visited Zambia. He was the first European to see Victoria Falls. He was completely blown away by this natural wonder and named it in honor of his Queen, Queen Victoria.
Today we did a walking guided tour of the falls with a park ranger. He was super informative and here is some of the info we learned:
Victoria Falls is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and is located in both Zambia and Zimbabwe flowing from the Zambezi River. The Zambezi River originates in Namibia and travels through 6 countries before pouring out into the Indian Ocean. Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and finally Mozambique are the 6 countries this river passes through. Many farmers use the Upper Zambia to provide water for their farmlands and cattle while the middle Zambia is a water source for the African wildlife.
There are two dams on the Zambezi river: Kariba Dam which provides hydroelectric power to Zambia and Zimbabwe and the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique which provides power to both South Africa and Mozambique. There is a bridge that runs across Victoria Falls which allows people to travel to/from Zimbabwe and Zambia. Ralph Freeman, an English engineer, designed both the Sydney Harbor bridge and the Victoria Falls bridge. You are able to drive, walk or take the train across the bridge.
We are currently entering summer and the very start of the rainy season here. Some parts of the waterfall are completely dried up but our guide told us during Feb/March/April the falls are 1 giant 'sheet' of water. I can't imagine what that looks like!
We saw several little flowers called fireballs and we learned that once these flowers start blooming, it is a sign that rain is coming! Of course the boys asked what type of snakes are found here and the ranger told us the dangerous ones are the Mozambique spitting cobra, black mamba, green mamba, puff adder - which is closely related to the rattle snake, and the python. "Don't worry, they are only active at night" and "if you get bit by a black mamba, you have 15 minutes to get anti-venom before the neurotoxins travel throughout your and body kill you" - thanks park ranger, we are all feeling super comfortable walking around here now.
There is a rainforest within the park that is created only from the mist by the falls. This section looks completely different than the other areas of the park. After our hike around the park, we headed back to our hotel. We are staying at the Palm River Hotel which is located directly on the Zambezi river. We have seen several warthogs grazing around the grounds as well as monkeys playing on our tin roof. They are really loud, especially at sunrise! Sometimes the sounds of the locus are so loud, I can't hear Paul speaking when he is sitting right next to me. There is an electric fence that surrounds the entire property to help keep out some of the wildlife? Directly outside to the left of our room, a guard sits outside the electric fence just to let the main lobby know if any buffalo or elephants are coming to graze on the grass. I'm currently sitting outside typing this while the security guard is watching a video on his phone, so I'm assuming no elephants are around. The gym here is made of floor to ceiling glass and when I was working out, 4 warthogs apparently wanted to come in and pump some weight too. They were brushing up against the glass to get a better view of the equipment. I must say, this is the first time I've done a work out with warthogs passing by. Maybe they are in need of some physical therapy? Who knows but they are clearly use to this property and people.