Victoria Falls (Lozi: Mosi-oa-Tunya, “The Smoke That Thunders”; Tonga: Shungu Namutitima, “Boiling Water”) is a waterfall on the Zambezi River in southern Africa, which provides habitat for several unique species of plants and animals. It is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is considered to be one of the world’s largest waterfall due to its width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft).
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855, from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls near the Zambian shore. Livingstone named his sighting in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain, but the Sotho language name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”The Smoke That Thunders”—continues in common usage. Some of Livingstone’s porters were Sothos who gave the name Mosi-oa-Tunya. Coincidentally, a group of Sothos migrated to an area near the falls, and went on to form part of modern day Lozi tribe. The World Heritage List officially recognises both names. Livingstone also cites an older name, Seongo or Chongwe, which means “The Place of the Rainbow”, as a result of the constant spray. The nearby national park in Zambia is named Mosi-oa-Tunya, whereas the national park and town on the Zimbabwean shore are both named Victoria Falls.