Terry's Top 6 Travel Moments
See Virtual Tours of Victoria Falls
4 of 6
Back to warmer climes now for the next two choices, both in Africa. One very wet and the other very dry. The first won't really be a surprise since it's usually classed as one of the natural 'wonders of the world' - the Victoria Falls. Yet even knowing their reputation, the shock of seeing the real thing is immense. The scale is incredible - 'makes Niagara look like a leaking roof' one American wrote in a visitor book.
You first encounter the Devil's Cataract, which is, alone, the biggest waterfall I'd ever seen till then; and then as you walk on the land side of the gorge that the Zambezi goes through, after dropping hundreds of feet, the rest of the cataracts are revealed, stretching over a mile across.
The local name for the Falls is Mosi-oa-tunya - the 'Smoke that Thunders'; a very accurate description of the huge plumes of spray that billow upwards as high as the drop itself, with a constant deafening roar as billions of gallons of water crash down. From the edge of the falling water to the side where you stand to look, is less than a hundred feet so you observe at very close quarters - and get absolutely drenched as a result. Both the 'thunder' and the 'smoke' are obvious from many miles away. We were very fortunate in the timing of that first visit, in that some years the water volume is much lower, reducing the spectacle, while in others it can be so high that it's hard to make out anything through a dense spray fog.
The walk that you view the falls from, goes through a small rain forest caused by the spray, with vegetation and insect life, absent only a few miles away. Quite incredible.