Saturday, December 10, 2011

PRIVATE PILE #1 Victoria Falls

since the main project of '52 postcards' is waiting for January 1st to begin i decided to dedicate a few posts at a time to a different concept of mine called private pile. the idea is simple - to show examples of postcards in my private collection, gained via postcossing and other postcard exchanges. every blog post coloured with green will be according to this. so here we go! 

let us begin with one of the most exquisite and exotic postcards i've received so far - this one came from Zambia earlier this year. Stan, thank you once again with all my heart for that exact direct swap and for sending me a view of Victoria Falls which i dreamt about acquiring! it’s truly a treasure. 
Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya)

postcard received from Stan, thank you!
Victoria Falls are among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. They are located in-between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi river which is approximately 2 km wide at this point. The river plunges down a series of basalt gorges and creates a mist that can be seen a few dozen kilometers away. 

The falls are one of the seven natural wonders of the world (among Aurora Borealis and Great Barrier Reef) and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – inscribed in 1989. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. Victoria Falls fulfilled two of them – 7th and 8th which indicates they are containing superlative natural phenomena, the area of exceptional natural beauty & aesthetic importance and also significant on-going geological process with magnificent landscape features.

Before white man’s arrival, autochthons called these sites Mosi-oa-Tunya which means "the smoke that thunders". Scottish explorer David Livingstone was the first European to see the waterfall in 1855 and renamed it after his monarch, Queen Victoria. He wrote about this place after "scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight". The falls are formed as the full width of the Zambezi river meets a 108 m (360 ft) high cleft. Falling water drops into a deep, narrow chasm which is connected to several gorges – this unique form allows to view Victoria Falls ‘face to face’ from only 60 m away. The best place to admire the mighy water is ‘Knife Edge’ – a bridge built in 1969. The falls and associated gorges are an outstanding example of river capture and the erosive forces of the water still continues to sculpture the hard basalts. 

When the Zambezi is in full flood (usually February or March) 500 million litres of water per minute go over the falls. During the wet season also the spray from the falls can be seen nearly 50 kilometres away (because of the mist, it’s one of a few places in Africa where we can be more than sure we’ll get wet!). At low water level in November the flow can be reduced to around 10 million litres per minute, and the river is divided into a series of braided channels that descend in many separate falls. 

Victoria Falls are 1 709 m wide with the maximum height of 108 m. Rainbow Falls is the highest point where a beautiful rainbow can normally be viewed. The amazing fact is that a lunar rainbow may also be seen there on full moon. Just like its day-time equivalent, the lunar rainbow or ‘moonbow’ is created as light is refracted by water particles in the air, ever-present from the spray of the falls. It’s one of the few places on earth where this natural phenomenon occurs regularly and where it can be witnessed with ease. It also creates one of the most impressive sights of Victoria Falls. 

There is something to do for everyone – river cruises, elephant rides, walks with lions, safari adventures, canoeing also helicopter rides & cultural experiences. Adrenaline junkies can choose between all day white water rafting, 111 m bungee jump, river boarding, zip wire activities and also Devil’s swim – only available from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls when the water is low. This activity takes place on Livingstone Island in so-called Devil’s Pool. The island is strictly protected area – there can be at most 16 people at once - and it’s also the same spot David Livingstone was standing when he saw the falls for the first time. The swim in Devil’s Pool - right at the top of the falls with a hundred meters drop to the rocks below – it’s like no other view and gives a completely different perspective one gets from the other side of the canyon. The Devils Pool itself is a deep natural pool and a barrier that allows you to 
stamps bought with kwacha (ZK) –Zambian currency. 1$ = 4 715 ZK
jump into the water and swim, right at top of the waterfall. It must have been an amazing experience! 

Have you ever been to the waterfalls that magnificent? Or can you recommend a place like this in your country? Share your thoughts with us!

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