Age 11, Zambia, With Parents and Brother

Victoria Falls: Photo by Pius Mahimbi

I don’t suppose many people have been lucky enough to visit Victoria Falls, so I will attempt to describe it.

First, imagine a big, wide sluggish river, which is a home for hippos, crocodiles and numerous water birds—one of the longest rivers in Africa, a respectable, meandering, ordinary river—the Zambesi.

Then, suddenly, it ends. Empty air replaces where the river should be. Mists rise, rainbows form, a tumultuous roar fills the air from miles around. You step out on a projecting piece of rock, and, there it is, Victoria Falls—or, as the natives call it Mosi-oa-Tanya (meaning Smoke that Thunders)—in all its full glory.

Lively water tumbles over a steep cliff. Droplets gleam in the sun. Cascading merrily, the water seems to enjoy falling 300 feet to the bottom of the gorge. Gorgeous rainbows shimmer. That peaceful river has become a roaring, raging torrent. Sheets of misty water fall at an amazing speed. You stop, stunned at the majestic sight.

Suddenly, you are Livingstone, seeing for the first time this wonder of Africa.


Editor’s Note: Victoria Falls is located between Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia).