Victoria Falls (town in the province of Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe)
It lies on the southern bank of the Zambezi River at the western end of the Victoria Falls themselves. It is connected by road and railway to Hwange (109 km away) and Bulawayo (440 km away), both to the south-east.
According to the 2012 Population Census, the town had a population of 33,060. Victoria Falls Airport is located 18 km south of the town and has international services to Johannesburg and Namibia.
The settlement began in 1901 when the possibility of using the waterfall for hydro-electric power was explored, and expanded when the railway from Bulawayo reached the town shortly before the Victoria Falls Bridge was opened in April 1905, connecting Zimbabwe to what is now Zambia. It became the principal tourism centre for the Falls, experiencing economic booms from the 1930s to the 1960s and in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Town provides one of the greatest attractions in Africa and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world with the same name. Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, the fourth largest river in Africa, which is also defining the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometre and a height of more than hundred meters. It is also considered to be the largest fall in the world.
The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometers, while the spray and mist from the falling water is rising to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from a distance of 50 kilometers. No wonder that the local tribes used to call the waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.
The waterfall was hardly visited by people up until 1905, when a railway to Bulawayo was constructed. Since then Victoria Falls quickly gained popularity until the end of the British colonial rule. At the end of the 1960s the number of tourists started to decrease due to the guerrilla struggle in Zimbabwe. After Zimbabwe gained independence the region has been in relative peace and Victoria Falls started to attract a new wave of tourism.
By the end of 1990 nearly 300,000 people were visiting the falls each year. Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the citizens of both Zambia and Zimbabwe no longer have fear of the “the smoke that thunders”, and are successfully developing the tourism on both sides of the river.