“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
The above quotation chronicles the understandable awe of famous Scottish explorer David Livingstone as he beheld the impressive Victoria Falls, which he renamed in honour of his sovereign, for the first time. For many years, he had heard of the site the Africans called Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders — but had never seen it.
On 17 November 17 1855, Chief Sekelulu of the Makalolo tribe paddled Livingstone in a small canoe to an island called Goat Island in the Zambezi River. Livingstone wrote that he felt a tremor of fear as he gazed into the huge chasm, the waters of the river thundering over the precipice.
The Victoria Falls are the world’s largest and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. One million litres of water per minute pours over the edge down into the Zambezi Gorge which separates Zambia from Zimbabwe.
In summer, when the waters are low, the courageous or foolhardy can set out from the Zambia side and take a dip in the Devil’s Pool at the very edge of the Falls, described by Lonely Planet as ‘the world’s most thrilling infinity pool’. From there they can look down on the same sight that Livingstone saw more than 170 years ago.
I have been there but luckily the water was too high and the current too strong for such heroics. Still, it is difficult not to agree with David Livingstone on the awesome beauty of The Smoke that Thunders.
Photo Credit: Lonely Planet: Joy of Water