Victoria Falls, Zimbabwee

Livingstone's Thundering Gift

Pot at the bottom of the falls
Rainbow projected from the cliff into which the Zambezi River flows
Almost night
Guests end another day in style on the terrace at the Victoria Falls hotel.
The Revelation of the Falls
Painting depicts the moment when natives show Victoria Falls to Livingstone
Livingstone indeed
Historical photograph by David Livingstone in preparations not befitting his status as a pioneer explorer.
splash fog
Mist lifted by the impact of Victoria Falls flies over the savannah
Not Stanley
Victoria Falls Hotel employee outside Stanleys Room
The Colonies
One of the many propaganda posters for the Victoria Falls hotel that once promoted the importance of the British colonies
Victoria Falls, in part
One of the Victoria Falls segments
Jungle junction
Hotel Victoria Falls employee plays an explorer in khaki outfits and an old shotgun at the ready
Duo Insurance
Security guards outside a Victoria Falls hotel.
Cross sing - Rail Road
Signal warns of possible train crossing at the entrance to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The Great Victoria Falls
The Zambezi River rushes into a geological fault that marks the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia
sunny mist
Mist ascends above the geological fault where the Zambezi River rushes at sunset.
The explorer was looking for a route to the Indian Ocean when natives led him to a jump of the Zambezi River. The falls he found were so majestic that he decided to name them in honor of his queen

For some time now, Zimbabwe has stood out for the worst reasons.

Only the most fearless travelers ventured into its unruly territory. Inflation in this once prosperous country spoke well of the chaos that proud President Mugabe had delivered: in 1998, it was 32% and, by the end of 2009, it had already risen to the surreal value of 516 quintillions (1030) percent, still the second worst case in history.

Prices doubled every 1.3 days. They aggravated widespread poverty at a time when most of the population turned to the black market and neighboring nations to survive. 60% of wildlife had disappeared due to poaching and uncontrolled deforestation.

However, the country's frightening panorama did not seem to disturb the glamorous colonial existence of the Victoria Falls hotel, installed since 1904 in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe. Long known as “The Great Lady of the Falls. "

Victoria Falls Hotel's Former Colonial Shelter

The night is announced. Guests from the most diverse backgrounds settle in the comfortable chairs of Stanley's Terrace, scented and rejuvenated from the African afternoon walks.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, terrace of the Victoria Falls hotel

Guests end another day in style on the terrace at the Victoria Falls hotel.

Some are newcomers to the hotel.

The head of the team of native employees introduces them to the standards of the house in the classic British tone so well characterized by Steven Fry as the Jeeves of the series Jeeves & Wooster.

"And, if you allow me a final note, ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served from six to nine at the Livingstone Room and Jungle Junction restaurants".

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, hotel concierge

Victoria Falls Hotel employee outside Stanleys Room

The surrounding architecture and decor are faithful to the anachronistic atmosphere that lasts, inspired by the grandeur and Edwardian elegance with which British settlers sought to feel at home, so far from old Albion.

In addition to the furniture of the time, hunting trophies, long sequences of posters that recall the vainglory of the British Empire stand out. Black and white or sepia illustrations and photos take you back to the distant past of Victoria Falls – the town – and the falls, in the company of regular guests, many of them royal or presidential, others just famous.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, imperialist poster

One of the many propaganda posters for the Victoria Falls hotel that once promoted the importance of the British colonies

David Livingstone pioneered this entire area of ​​Africa for the future colonization of his crown. It inspired a host of names and titles – from the hotel's most sought-after cocktail to the city that developed across the Zambia border.

He did not live long enough to witness these further developments of his strange mythology.

David Livingstone. From Scotland to the Zambezian Heart of Africa

Livingstone was born in 1813 in the Scottish village of Blantyre to a Protestant family. During his adolescence, he felt the call of the missionary cause. In 1841, he left for the South Africa. There he joined Robert Moffat of the London Missionary Society.

His work at Kuruman, the methods of Moffat and the missionary society in general, disappointed him. This disappointment led him to take his own initiatives.

Between 1852 and 1856, after being almost devoured by a lion, he carried out an exhaustive exploration of Central and South Africa. He was one of the first Westerners to cross the continent.

And he fulfilled it with departure from Luanda, Angola and arrival in Quelimane, near the mouth of the Zambezi river, Mozambique, in the Indian Ocean.

Pink Map and Luso-British Rivalry for Domination of Africa

The Portuguese had also sketched or tried to do it, at a certain point, encouraged by the objective of contributing to the realization of the so-called Pink Map, the Portuguese colonization of a vast continuous area of ​​Africa from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, from the coast of Angola to the coast of Mozambique. Silva Porto, Hermenegildo Capelo, Roberto Ivens and Serpa Pinto.

At that latitude, the lethal combination of malaria, with dysentery, sleeping sickness, and fierce opposition from powerful tribes like the Lozi and Lunda, had so far thwarted all intentions.

During the crossing, Livingstone descended the Zambezi River, led by natives who revealed to him the waterfalls Mosi-oa-Tunya (the thundering smoke). Surrendered to the beauty and magnificence of that place, the explorer would later write: “… such lovely scenes must have been admired by the angels as they flew”. He also took the opportunity to christen them in honor of his monarch.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Illustration, David Livingstone, Native History Painting and David Livingstone

Painting depicts the moment when natives show Victoria Falls to Livingstone

The Victoria Falls Hotel's main guiding reference for guests is, even today, the “white smoke” curtain seen by Livingstone from a distance.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Mist

Mist lifted by the impact of Victoria Falls flies over the savannah

The Risky Crossing between the Hotel Victoria Falls and Victoria Falls, Povoação

We try not to lose sight of it as we go along the trail that leads to the village and the waterfalls. The walk is interrupted by unexpected complications. A small herd of buffalo blocks the way.

The animals – known for their territorial aggressiveness – only move to another place after 20 minutes. After overcoming the obstacle, we crossed paths with dozens of natives determined to sell us handicrafts.

We crossed the railroad line and the center of little Victoria Falls. We continue towards the entrance to the enclosure. Inland, the change in vegetation starts to amaze us, which is much denser and more luxuriant than the surrounding savannah, something that is ensured by the sprinkler caused by the falls.

This vegetation works for some time as a natural veil, but soon the dizzying vision of the geological fault into which the Zambezi falls is imposed.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Zambia

Mist ascends above the geological fault where the Zambezi River rushes at sunset.

Time to Unveil Mosi-oa-Tunya, Victoria Falls

The spray refreshes us as we look for the privileged perspectives of Devil's View, where the cataract concentrates a massive volume of water. There are six gorges that make up the Vic Falls, as they are also called.

With an average height of 108 meters, they form a fault with 1700 meters in length that integrates the territory of Zambia. Each of them gives rise to distinct visuals that change as the volume of water fluctuates from the rainy season to the dry season.

Victoria, Zimbabwe and Zambia Falls

One of the Victoria Falls segments

We find the memorial statue of David Livingstone, which reads the peculiar motto because it was governed: “Christianity, Commerce and Civilization”. After the discovery of the falls, Livingstone came to believe that the key to realizing those principles was the navigation of the Zambezi River as a commercial artery into the interior.

He returned to Great Britain in order to gain support for his ideas. And to publish a book about his discoveries that would set him apart as one of the leading explorers of the time. Livingstone also began to believe that he must follow a spiritual call that urged him to explore rather than convert. resigned from the London Missionary Society.

Livingstone's Inevitable Decay and Death

The British government subsidized him and Livingstone returned to his project. The Zambezi proved invincible alongside Cahora Bassa's fast paced.

In the time that passed, the members of the expedition became aware of the real personality of the Scottish pioneer. They accused him of not knowing how to lead, of being temperamental, capricious. Not to tolerate criticism or disagreement.

In 1862, John Kirk, his physician wrote, "I can only conclude that Dr Livingstone is not right in the head and is a dangerous leader."

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, picture David Livingstone at the Victoria Falls hotel

Historical photograph by David Livingstone in preparations not befitting his status as a pioneer explorer.

Livingstone is thus stubborn. Even having seen some of his assistants die and been abandoned by others, he declared: “I am prepared to go anywhere, as long as it is forward”.

For six years, David Livingstone lost touch with the outside world. In the last four of his life he was ill. His retreat intrigued the Royal Geographical Society of London and the world at large.

The New York Herald decided to send Henry Stanley to look for him. The journalist met the explorer in Ujiji, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, in October 1869. There he approached him with his famous phrase “Dr Livingstone, I presume?"

Four years later, Livingstone died of malaria and internal bleeding caused by dysentery. Queen Victoria, in turn, died in January 1901.

Victoria has never traveled to southern Europe. And he never got to see “his” waterfalls.

victoria falls, zimbabwe, rainbow

Rainbow projected from the cliff into which the Zambezi River flows

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