The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (Tokaleya Tonga: the Smoke that Thunders; the 'i' is silent) is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are believed to be the largest in the world in terms of the volume of water that passes through.
These ancient and truly spectacular Falls were first made known to the outside world in 1855 by Scottish explorer extraordinaire, David Livingstone. Livingstone had been attempting to find a route to the East Coast of the African continent. Travelling south east from Luanda to Sesheke, he encountered this most magnificent waterfall and renamed it the Victoria Falls after the British Monarch, Queen Victoria. Livingstone was led to the Falls by the Makalolo tribes people in a dug-out canoe.
Development as a tourist destination
Soon after Livingstone’s reports about the Victoria Falls spread across borders, the Falls began to attract Anglo traders. A rustic trading settlement was set-up on what is now the Zambian riverbank and became the original Victoria Falls town called Old Drift. The number of foreign visitors rose steadily and people walked, rode on horseback or travelled by ox-wagon from the Transvaal in South Africa to view the Falls. Malaria began to take its toll on the settlement and at the turn of the century, Old Drift was shifted to the site of the present day town of Livingstone in Zambia.