Mosi-oa-Tunya (The smoke that thunders) – Victoria Falls


Following the Chobe river, a mightier Zambezi river converges with it and the two feed the world’s second biggest waterfall. It is better than the Niagara Falls. There, I said it. Mosi-oa-Thunya is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. I think every South African, Mosotho, Motswana, and Swati must make a point to visit this majestic waterfall before flying off to lands further off. Livingstone was directed there in 19th century and used a raft to get there.Vic Falls 2015-12-30 024 He followed the smoking waters, and  when he reached the falls he decided to call it Victoria Falls; but I chose to call it what the natives know it as. I have to say I like African names. They always say what they mean. Don’t get me wrong some are sad and discouraging, but you get an African name and you get the mood your parents were feeling when you were conceived and born. My name simply means a gift. It’s a collaborative narrative with my sister preceding me, hers means Girls. My parents were just exclaiming on their third try they got a third girl. Then I came along, another girl, and decided to see their glass half full. Four healthy girls can only be a Gift from God. So Mosi-oa-Tunya is from the Tswana language for the smoke that thunders. Because the mist sprays are known to make heights of 400 m. Aerial pictures of that are incredible. Livingstone did have some beautiful things to say Mosi-oa-Tunya in his letter to Queen Victoria:

“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.”

I’m no Englishman but I think every English person can trust Old David’s words regarding the vision Mosi-oa-Tunya is. You can see the falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe; I experienced it from the latter. There you get more of the front view. The Zambian side has its perks too; you can dip yourself in a number of pools close to the edge of the fall, the most famous amongst tourists known as Devil’s Pool.  A lot more extreme activities are possible over the Zambian side over the bridge. But Victoria Falls City is quite snug. Lots of restaurants and our visit coincided with the annual Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival, an international music festival that happens over three days to the New Year. The town is also very arty, therefore a haven of sort for sculptors, painters and even musicians.

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It was an absolute pleasure being in Old Bob’s country. The use of the US dollar does make things pricy for Southern African travellers, but you can follow how we did it by having your base in  another country like Botswana as we did, or you could choose Zambia.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful pics… I’d love to visit someday..


    1. Mpho says:

      It is. That whole region up the around Okovango and Chobe in Botswana, Caprivi in Namibia, and Hwange in Zimbabwe. It’s all one beautiful place. There are immigration borders but none for the animals. So they migrate freely across the countries.


  2. Dr. Y. says:

    Simply awesome! Thank you for this great description of Mosi-Oa-Tunya. I really enjoyed the narrative you gave us about the history of your name, and the beauty of African names from which you can always gather the parents’ moods, ideas, feelings. My name simply name ‘treasure’.


    1. Mpho says:

      That’s a beautiful name. In Tswana you’d be Khumo or Letlotlo. Those are the two common names with meaning about treasure or wealth. And thank you visiting. Loving your African theme too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dr. Y. says:

        Thank you Mpho for the Tswana translation of my name. African languages are so beautiful indeed.


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