A Travellerspoint blog

Victoria Falls - Mosi-Oa-Tunya

Days gone by

sunny 75 °F

It is absolutely amazing flying over the Zimbabwean landscape dotted with trees, plots of land, small towns, dense forests and the white smoke rising somewhere in the distance. The smoke grows larger as you get closer and then you see this:

The river gets very wide as you come over the Zambian side of the Zambezi river and then drops dramatically into the huge gorge creating the famous Victoria Falls. The gorge continues in a zigzagging pattern as the water cuts through with great force, huge plumes of white smoke and a thunderous noise.
Imagine sometime in the 1850’s a Scottish gentlemen traveling with the local guides on the great Zambezi river to discover what they call ‘mosi-oa-tunya’ or ‘The smoke that thunders.’ Dr Livingstone travelled in canoes with experienced guides in the middle of the river where they stopped on a small island, later called Livingstone island, and there he viewed the falls for the first time. He said it was so beautiful that, “it must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” Sadly today the company that provides helicopter flights over the falls is called , ‘Flight of the Angles’ and listening to the helicopters starting at 8:30 AM and ending around 4 does spoil the mood a bit.
But I can remove myself from that and think again about the time 1855 when the famous Dr. Livingstone was the first European to observe the falls, he took copious notes, some of which can be read here: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/livingstone.htm
Livingstone was an amazing man who became convinced his mission was to reach new people in the interior of Africa and that by introducing them to religion and teaching them about commerce he would be able to reduce the slave trade.
I just can’t imagine what it was like here when he arrived in 1849, it must have been pristine land and very dangerous, too. This is one of myfavorite pictures from the hall of our hotel:

Livingstone on his last journey, he died soon after of malaria. He was 60. His exploration team went to great lengths to take his body and writings back to England and he was buried at Westminster Abbey. His heart however was buried at the tree that he died under.

I sit here at the magnificent and historic Victoria Falls hotel having a gin and tonic on the terrace overlooking the bridge and the smoke rising high about the falls.
I try to imagine the guests coming here 100 years ago dressed up in their safari outfits and fancy dress for the evenings. Pith helmets and walking sticks for the men and white gloves and fancy hats for the women. Today this hotel keeps it’s majestic facade but replacing the ghosts of the past there are modern tourists with backpacks or roller bags. It is amazing to walk the long corridors looking at all the memorabilia from the past and let my mind wander to days gone by.

Posted by Lauriesam 08:33 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged #offthebeatenpath #africanadventure #insearchofadventure #africa #bucketlist #zimbabwe #victoriafalls

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.