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Zimbabwe (Vic Falls)

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Zimbabwe, a landlocked country in South East Africa, separated from Zambia by the Zambezi River. The Limpopo River in the south forms part of the border with South Africa. It is bordered in east by Mozambique, and in west by Botswana. The Namibia-Zambia-Botswana tripoint at the town of Kazungula (Zambia) lies about 100 meters from the Zimbabwe border and as such Namibia almost borders Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than 100 meters. It is also considered to have the highest volume of water in the world.

The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometers, while the spray and mist from the falling water rises to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from a distance of 50 kilometers. No wonder that the local tribes call the waterfall Mosi-oa-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.

Scottish missionary and famous African explorer, David Livingstone (1813-1873), named it after Queen Victoria. Livingstone, who was the first European to cross Africa from south to north, discovered this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon in 1855, while preaching Christianity in Africa. Livingstone wasn’t very pleased with his discovery: it was just an obstacle in his way!

The waterfall was hardly visited by people up until 1905, when a railway to Bulawayo was constructed, resulting in increasing popularity until the end of British colonial rule. At the end of the 1960s, the number of tourists started to decrease due to the guerrilla struggle in Zimbabwe. However after Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, the region has been in relative peace and Victoria Falls started to attract a new wave of tourism.

By the end of 1990, nearly 300,000 people were visiting the Falls each year. Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the citizens of both Zambia and Zimbabwe are successfully developing tourism on both sides of the river.

The falls were formed in a zone of crustal faults. On the crest of the falls numerous islands divide the main flow into several branches. During floods, the water flow capacity reaches half a million liters of water per minute.

The water level varies throughout the year; it is at its peak in April at the end of the rainy season, when on average 500,000,000 liters of water flow, and it is at its lowest level in October and early November.

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