This magnificent curtain of water which descends into a narrow abyss between Zambia and Zimbabwe is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Victoria Falls has been a sought after destination since the late 1800's and is thought to be the largest falls in the world, one of the seven greatest wonders. Painting by Larry Norton
Victoria Falls History | Victoria Falls Travel Guide
Courtesy: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
'No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight".David Livingstone became the first European to see Victoria Falls. He returned again in 1860 for a more comprehensive study and was accompanied by John Kirk, a fellow explorer. Other European visitors that followed included a Portuguese explorer, and Emil Holub a Czech explorer who made the first detailed plan of the area, also British artist Thomas Baines who painted some of the earliest pictures of the falls. Once word got out, Anglo traders started to arrive in increasing numbers and a rustic settlement was built on the riverbank (now Zambia) called Old Drift, the crossing place for the Zambezi River prior to 1905.Visitors from what was the Transvaal region of South Africa began to make their way by ox wagon, on horseback or on foot, to see Victoria Falls. However, malaria was a serious problem in Old Drift causing the settlement to be relocated to its present site, now the town of Livingstone, Zambia. Victoria Falls really came into its own when Cecil John Rhodes, a politician and entrepreneur commissioned the building of the now famous landmark Victoria Falls Bridge, to cross the Zambezi River. The Victoria Falls bridge was completed in 1905 and became a major transport route for road and rail traffic, trade and enterprise in Africa.Visitor numbers to Victoria Falls increased steadily over the decades with 300 000 people visiting the falls annually by the 1990's. By that time, Victoria Falls was an established adventure holiday destination, a trend that continued to grow during the early 2000's with the town of Livingstone, Zambia rising to the occasion. This colonial town is now experiencing a revival of interest and business, with hotels, lodges and tour operators becoming established in a very short space of time to meet demand.The towns of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Livingstone, Zambia stand on either side of the mile wide waterfall and the mighty Zambezi River. This shared heritage offers the ideal destination for romance, weddings and honeymoons, fabulous Big Five safaris and wildlife viewing. A huge variety of adrenalin sports take full advantage of the spectacular environment. Other unforgettable adventures include flights over the falls, horse trails, canoeing, fishing and cruising.
Contact a friendly Siyabona Africa Consultant for Victoria Falls travel ideas and advice.Brett Hilton-Barber and Lee R. Berger. Copyright © 2010 Prime Origins.
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