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Monday, March 19, 2012

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The Victoria Falls, Smoke that Thunders

The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (Tokaleya Tonga: the Smoke that Thunders; note that the 'i' is silent) is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view the Victoria Falls — which he did from what is now known as 'Livingstone Island' in Zambia, the only land accessible in the middle of the falls. David Livingstone gave the falls the name 'Victoria Falls' in honor of his Queen, but the indigenous name of 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' — literally meaning the 'Smoke that Thunders' — is also well known. The World Heritage List recognizes both names.

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on a width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world.

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