Untangling ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ viewing points

BY BURZIL DUBE 

THE 19 viewing points at Victoria Falls, which were briefly highlighted in this column last week caused a stir where yours truly was bombarded with questions over the authenticity of the mentioned figures.

Some regular visitors to this magnificent spectacle were of the opinion that there are less than 10 viewing points while others could not fathom most names associated with the standpoints.

Few others were oblivious of the fact that this Seventh Wonder of the world is shared by both Zimbabwe and Zambia as they say it belonged to the former.

While yours truly is not a fundi or expert in tourism-related aspects, it is, however, a universally acknowledged fact that the mighty Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and draws thousands of visitors.

As for the geographical nitty-grittes of the Mosi-oa-Tunya’s different rock formations, it is best to leave it to geologists as this has proved to be a mystery up to this day. Mosi-oa-Tunya the original name for Victoria Falls, meaning “the smoke that thunders” in the language of the Kololo who are the inhabitants of that particular area.

Yours truly is of the opinion that this Kololo tribe could have played some form of  prominent role in identification and location of these 19 viewpoints where the initial 16 are located on the Zimbabwean side while the other three are found in Livingstone, Zambia.

Before delving into details, special mention goes to Wild Zambezi, a travel and touring website dedicated to promotion of the Zimbabwean tourism industry, especially facilities along the Zambezi River. The organisation provides comprehensive online local information to individuals interested in touring the Zambezi River.

All viewpoints mentioned in this column were gleaned with permission from Wild Zambezi who are eager to continue on playing a leading role in the promotion of the country’s tourism industry.

To those who are familiar with The Falls, the first port of call upon entering this spectacle is the gigantic David Livingstone statue, which is situated on viewpoint number one.

Livingstone was the first white man to see this magnificent spectacle on November 16, 1855 and he christened it Victoria Falls.

The statue faces eastwards towards the main falls and offers an uninterrupted view of its location as well as part of the Devil’s Cataract.

A few metres eastwards from the Livingstone statue is viewpoint number two whose flight of steps are known as Chain Walk and the 73 steps meander going down the gorge. However, those suffering from vertigo or the unfit are strictly discouraged from going down the steps.

Viewpoints number three to five overlook the Devil’s Cataract as well as Cataract Island on the far left while the former is the smallest of the waterfalls within Victoria Falls. It is 70m deep even though it retains more water than any other during the low-water level period.

The Devil’s Cataract is best viewed from viewpoint number six as well as the flat wall of Cataract Island while number seven is the most ideal for viewing the main falls. The main falls is the biggest and retains more water during the  rainy season. It is 93m deep and an average of 150m wide.

Viewpoints number eight and nine are directly opposite the main falls where most of the times are hard to clearly view as continuous spray and showers dominate the area regardless of the season.

Raincoats or umbrellas are a must for this particular area. Forewarned is forearmed.

Directly opposite the Devil’s Pool is viewpoint 10 whose visibility is also affected by spray. It is worth to note that Devil’s Pool is, however, situated on the Zambian side and is the only place where tourists are able to swim while “precariously” feeling the water rushing past into the falls.

Viewpoints 11 to 13 provide clearer views of David Livingstone Island and Horse Shoe Falls on the right while the latter is easily visible from point number 13.

As the name suggests, the place was given the particular name due the excavation of the fissures that formed an indentation similar to a horse shoe.

The most fascinating viewpoint is number 14 whose 108m depth is very dangerous during both during wet and dry seasons.

It also showers most of the time during high-water levels.

Danger Point, as the name suggests, is very hazardous especially during high-water levels and visitors are strongly encouraged to always stay away from the edge. Two opposing currents converge below the Danger Point where water from Main Falls, Devil’s Cataract, Horse Shoes and Rainbow Falls flows eastwards while water from Eastern Cataract drifts westwards.

These two opposing currents meet below Danger Point forming a spectacular boiling pot as it continues to flow southwards and also this would be happening at viewpoint 15.

The Victoria Falls Bridge is clearly visible from viewpoint number 16, whose height from the  lowest water level is 111m and it is 198m long as it links Zimbabwe and Zambia.

This is also the area where adrenalin-pumping activities such as bungee jumping, gorge swinging and abseiling are done and watched from this vantage point.

As for the remaining three viewing points situated on the Zambian side, that will be for another day, most probably after curtailing the Covid-19 pandemic which has decimated the hospitality industry.

Till we meet again.

  • Comments always welcome on: dubebasill@gmail.com or Twitter@DubeBurzil

 

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