Why Is The Victoria Falls Called “the Smoke that Thunders”?

Victoria Falls has nothing to do with Lake Victoria.

This waterfall is on the Zambezi River, which flows along the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Anyone who has seen Victoria Falls knows that it offers one of the most spectacular sights in all of nature.

Near the falls, the Zambezi River flows among many tree-covered islands. At its widest point, where it is about a mile across, it tumbles into a crevice between two sheer rock walls. It plunges a total of 355 feet to the bottom of the crevice. The only outlet for the water falling into the crevice is through a 100-yard-wide gorge cut through one of the rock walls.

During April and May, about 4 million gallons of water tumble over Victoria Falls each minute. During November and December, when the Zambezi River rises, more than 75 million gallons of water may plunge off the edge of the falls each minute.

A mist rising hundreds of feet into the air over the waterfall has given the falls a native name that means “the smoke that thunders”!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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