That said, even as centuries go by, Livingstone’s discovery and documentation of the falls is certainly within the realms of modern history. Long before western man arrived on Africa’s shores, some of the world’s earliest inhabitants hunted, gathered, settled, and fought with the falls in the near distance. Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders.
In a hard land of mosquitoes, wild beasts, and sometimes impenetrable bush and high heat, it’s perhaps no surprise that the falls and their monumental spray became a sacred place, a realm of water spirits showing their displeasure in boiling, angry water.
To Arab traders, they must have been an important landmark in the earliest treacherous trade routes. They were viewed as the end of the Earth. What would be the purpose of exploration beyond this point? We have found the Earth’s boundary with infinity.
As I stood in Zambia, looking at the falls for the first time, I couldn’t help but add a few falling tears to the flow of water that day. For millions of years, people have come across these falls, stood rooted to the earth and watched them in wonder. Livingstone said it was one of the most wonderful things he had seen in Africa and there was nothing to equal it in Europe. Everyone who visits them adds their whispered awe in those first moments – like a prayer of thanks for the beauty of Africa.
For those who bungee off bridges or white-water raft on the Zambezi, whispered appreciation turns to screams of joy. No matter the traveller – whether seeking thrills or stillness - the simple pleasures of clinky drinks soothe the heat and the vibrancy of the people in Victoria Falls town colour memories.