Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
Mosi-oa-Tunya is the poetic local Sotho word for “The Smoke That Thunders,” the thunder being the giant roar and the smoke being the towering mist emanating from one of the world’s natural masterpieces, Victoria Falls (so renamed in 1855 for Queen Victoria of Britain by the first outsider to see them, David Livingstone, a thousand or so years after the Sotho arrived and, like Livingstone and us, were amazed by what the great explorer famously said was “a sight so lovely” it must have been “gazed upon by angels in their flight.”)
Mosi-oa-Tunya lies on the northern banks of the Zambezi River, in Zambia; the Falls are shared by Zimbabwe, on the southern side of the mighty river, in Victoria Falls National Park (we visit both sides on the four Classic Safaris that visit Victoria Falls). We express our enthusiasm for Victoria Falls in many places on this website (in the descriptions of the those Classic Safaris and the easily-arranged three-day safari extension, and elsewhere), so perhaps you’ll excuse us if we once again borrow a quote from an old Micato friend, who said that “Victoria Falls is billed as one of the world’s greatest waterfalls, but, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the world’s greatest anythings.”
The Falls aren’t the only attraction at small—25 square miles—but quite well-maintained Mosi-oa-Tunya. Boating on what is very often referred to as the Mighty Zambezi as it heads toward its dramatic engagement with gravity, is a marvelous African experience; the riverbanks are exuberantly lush, and, sundowners in hand, we watch as free-roaming animals drop by for a drink or dip. A little further inland, we take mini-safaris in search of Angolan giraffes, warthogs, elephants, Cape Buffalo, and, most enchantingly, a number of fiercely protected black rhinos.