Victoria Falls…Cataratas Victoria at/en Zimbabwe

The day after we arrived in Victoria Falls, we entered in the National Park to see the Falls. The admission ticket price is not cheap, it costs forty US dollars and it is worth it.
For Iguazu Falls and Niagara Falls it is not necessary to pay a ticket to see the waterfalls (that was when I went there a few years ago) because anybody can access the falls directly from the street, unless you want to pay some extra fun as taking a boat that brings you closer. Angel Falls can only be reached by river in a canoe or by helicopter.
Victoria Falls are huge and can be seen very close from the natural wall in front of them , in Zimbabwe.
I will not compare none waterfall because each one has its own charm and features. For me all are beautiful and impressive, and I thank to life for allowed me to know them.
The breeze caused by Victoria Falls gradually increased as we walked in the road whit fourteen lookouts scattered throughout. The noise produced by the water flowing constantly from Zambia increased too. They seemed do not to have beginning or end.
In the first viewpoint, the rain is light, and I hidded my camera from water easily . As we advanced the rain got worse, my raincoat was becoming not enough. Sudenly I realized that we were caught in the middle of a storm. I tried to cover my camera but was useless because I was soaked. The fog was so intense, it hited hard in my face and I had to close my eyes because I could see only rain. Despite the inconvenience this caused me, I immediately tried to concentrate on the experience of being right there, with that great amount of water bouncing on me, listening the powerful sound that staggers the floor . I opened my arms to thank the magical moment, to thank that special bath that cleanses and purifies, who washes any pain. I remained some minutes.

Back in reality, in the last viewpoint where it was not raining, I took my camera to photograph the beautiful scenery of the river down the railroad bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe, at the moment when a herd of baboons monkeys were crossing. I dried my camera very well with a towel and unfortunately, ohhhh, ohhhh! The camera did not work anymore !! I tried again and again, and nothing!
I can not describe the frustration I felt when days passed and my camera continued not working despite some steps I took: I went to buy rice and dipped the camera into it to absorb the moisture, I readed the entire manual t, I checked the parts and nothing!
That’s why I’m just a fan, a professional does not pass these things. I am in Africa, and I come from America as well prepared with several measures of lenses, various memory cards, two batteries, a tripod … and my camera was dead !!! It can not be true.
Victoria Falls is a small village, there is not where to repair my camera, or where to buy a new one, nothing to do because we would leave the hotel next morning to go where nature is manifested in all its glory.

David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855 from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls on the Zambian side. Livingstone named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria, but the indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”the smoke that thunders”—continues in common usage as well. The nearby national park in Zambia, for example, is named Mosi-oa-Tunya, whereas the national park and town on the Zimbabwean shore are both named Victoria Falls. The World Heritage List officially recognizes both names.

In 2013 the government of Zimbabwe declared its intention to officially rename the falls “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, citing continuity with other renamings such as Harare (from Salisbury), and Zimbabwe (from Rhodesia).

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest, based on its width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls. See table for comparisons.

For a considerable distance upstream from the falls the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt, in a shallow valley, bounded by low and distant sandstone hills. The river’s course is dotted with numerous tree-covered islands, which increase in number as the river approaches the falls. There are no mountains, escarpments, or deep valleys; only a flat plateau extending hundreds of kilometres in all directions.

The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a transverse chasm 1708 metres (5604 ft) wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau. The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 metres (260 ft) at its western end to 108 metres (354 ft) in the centre. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110 metres (360 ft) wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end, through which the whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges.

There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle—the point from which Livingstone first viewed the falls. At less than full flood, additional islets divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Devil’s Cataract (called Leaping Water by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (the highest) and the Eastern Cataract.

The Zambezi river, upstream from the falls, experiences a rainy season from late November to early April, and a dry season the rest of the year. The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April, The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 48 km (30 mi) away. At full moon, a “moonbow” can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain, especially at Zambia’s Knife-Edge Bridge.

As the dry season takes effect, the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous, and in September to January up to half of the rocky face of the falls may become dry and the bottom of the First Gorge can be seen along most of its length. At this time it becomes possible (though not necessarily safe) to walk across some stretches of the river at the crest. It is also possible to walk to the bottom of the First Gorge at the Zimbabwean side. The minimum flow, which occurs in November, is around a tenth of the April figure; this variation in flow is greater than that of other major falls, and causes Victoria Falls’ annual average flow rate to be lower than might be expected based on the maximum flow.


Al día siguiente de nuestra llegada a Victoria Falls, entramos a su Parque Nacional y es ahí donde se encuentran las Cataratas. El boleto de admisión no me pareció barato, cuesta cuarenta dólares pero vale la pena, con mayor razón si he viajado desde tan lejos para verlas

Mi primera impresión fue muy grande pues a diferencia de las Cataratas de Niagara y las Cataratas de Iguazú, estas cataratas se pueden apreciar desde cerca sin necesidad de subir a un barco ya que la pared natural de enfrente de los miradores, o sea donde desenbocan  los ríos que forman  las cataratas, se encuentra a escasos metros al frente.
En Iguazú y en Niagara no hay que pagar boleto para ver sus cataratas(cuando menos así era cuando yo fui hace algunos años) porque se accede directamente de la calle, a menos que se quiera pagar alguna diversión extra como tomar un barco que te acerque más a ellas. Al Salto Ángel sólo se llega por el río en canoa o volando en helicóptero.
No voy a comparar entre una u otra catarata porque cada una tiene su particular encanto y características. Para mi todas son hermosas e imponentes, y doy gracias a la vida por permitirme conocerlas.
Hasta el hotel donde nos encontrábamos, a unos cuantos kilómetros de las Cataratas Victoria, llegaba  la ya para entonces ligera lluvia constante que provoca el agua al caer y al irnos acercando a ellas, poco a poco aumentaba la fuerza de la lluvia y el ruido estruendoso que producen esos inmensos caudales de agua provenientes de Zambia en constante caida  y que  parecen no tener principio ni  fin. Empezamos a caminar a lo largo del sendero de kilómetro y medio que se encuentra frente a ellas  del lado de Zimbabwe, éste cuenta con catorce miradores repartidos a todo lo largo. En el primer mirador, la lluvia es ligera, yo tapaba y destapaba mi cámara con facilidad. Conforme íbamos avanzando la lluvia arreciaba, mi impermeable comenzaba a ser insuficiente y se me dificultaba tomar fotos. Quienes habían comenzado su recorrido al revés, o sea en el último mirador, pasaban cerca de nosotros totalmente mojados. En ese momento pensé que se habían subido en algún barco para acercarse aún más, pero pronto me di cuenta que ahí no hay barcos debido a la proximidad de la caída de agua, y me di cuenta que estábamos metidos en medio de una tormenta a la que sólo le faltaban los rayos. Cubrir mi cámara era inútil pues yo estaba empapada totalmente,el impermeable no me sirvió de nada. La bruma es tan intensa que pega con fuerza en la cara y tuve que cerrar los ojos pues lo único que lograba ver era lluvia. A pesar de la incomodidad que esto me provocó, la olvidé de inmediato para concentrarme en la experiencia del estar justo ahí, con esa gran cantidad de agua rebotando sobre mi, escuchando el poderoso sonido que tambalea el suelo que piso. Levante mis brazos abiertos para agradecer ese momento mágico, para agradecer ese especial baño que limpia y purifica, que lava cualquier dolor.
De vuelta en la realidad, en el último mirador donde ya no llovía, saque mi cámara para retratar el hermoso paisaje del río con su puente para las vías del ferrocarril que une Zambia  y Zimbabwe, y que en ese momento cruzaban también una manada de changos mandriles. Sequé muy bien mi cámara y procedí, pero ohhhh que desgracia! La cámara no funcionó!! Lo intenté una y otra vez, y nada!
No puedo describir la frustación que sentía cuando al pasar de los días mi cámara continuaba sin funcionar  a pesar de algunas medidas que tomé: fuí a comprar arroz y la sumergí dentro de él para que absorbiera la humedad, me leí el manual completo al derecho y al revés, chequé y rechequé sus partes y nada!
Es por eso que sólo soy una aficionada, a un profesional no le pasan estas cosas. Estoy en África, y vengo desde América según yo muy preparada con varios tipos de lentes, varias tarjetas de memoria, dos pilas para mi cámara, tripié…y mi cámara está muerta !!! No puede ser, ni dónde llevarla a reparar, ni dónde comprar una nueva, nada que hacer ya que partiríamos al día siguiente a aislarnos donde la naturaleza se manifiesta en todo su esplendor.

Las cataratas Victoria, situadas en la frontera de Zambia y Zimbabue, constituyen un salto de agua del río Zambeze.

Están ubicadas en el distrito de Livingstone, en la Provincia del Sur, de Zambia y en el distrito de Hwange, en la región de Mashonalandia Occidental, de Zimbabue.

Sobre las cataratas se encuentra el puente de las Cataratas Victoria, un antiguo arco de acero terminado en 1905.

Las cataratas tienen una anchura aproximada de 1,7 km y 108 m de alto. Se consideran un espectáculo extraordinario debido al estrecho y raro abismo en que el agua cae.

David Livingstone, el misionero y explorador escocés, visitó la cascada en 1855 y las bautizó con el nombre de la reina Victoria, aunque son conocidas localmente como Mosi-oa-Tunya, el humo que truena. La cascada forma parte de dos parques nacionales, Parque Nacional de Mosi-oa-Tunya en Zambia y el Parque Nacional de las Cataratas Victoria en Zimbabue, y son una de las mayores atracciones turísticas del África austral.1

Las cataratas Victoria fueron declaradas Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco, en el año 1989, protegiendo un área de 8.780 ha.

Desde 2010, están integradas dentro del Área de Conservación Kavango-Zambeze.

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