Wednesday, 4 July 2012 4:07 PM
The Victoria Falls are Zambia's most famous tourist attraction and it is not difficult to see why - the waterfall is one of the largest and most impressive in the world, making it an essential visit on any trip to the country.
There is plenty to see and do in and around the falls, including the opportunity for a safari adventure in Zambia, panoramic views of the surrounding natural landscapes and a chance to learn more about the region's culture and history.
Situated in Livingstone, a city named after famous explorer Dr David Livingstone - who was the first European to see the Victoria Falls in 1885 - this amazing water feature is called Mosi-ao-Tunya by locals, 'the smoke that thunders'.
When you get close to this spectacular attraction it is not difficult to see why it has this name, as a huge plume of spray can be seen rising from its precipice that does indeed look like a smoke cloud.
You will no doubt also begin to hear the dull roar of its crashing waters and while the falls are not the tallest or the longest in the world, various sources have claimed they are the largest overall due to combined width and height.
They are formed by the full width of the Zambezi River plummeting through a vertical chasm more than 1,700 metres wide, which has been eroded by the power of the water along a fracture in the basalt plateau.
There is only one exit to this chasm - called First Gorge - which is a 110-metre wide gap approximately two-thirds across the width of the falls' western end, with the whole volume of the river plummeting through into the Victoria Falls gorges.
This series of zigzagging rock formations are mostly named in the order that the river passes through them: Second Gorge, Third Gorge, Fourth Gorge, Fifth Gorge and Songwe Gorge.
The Victoria Falls straddles Zimbabwe and Zambia and seeing it from both sides can be done in one day, although it may take you the best portion of an afternoon.
On the Zimbabwean side, the best time to view it are during periods of low water, although those in Zambia can benefit from seeing the falling waters from a vertiginous island on the lip of the falls - a truly unforgettable experience.
Another advantage of seeing the falls from the Zambia side is that it is less affected by tourism, meaning you can see the sights as nature intended, without the hustle and bustle of the usual holiday trade.
Once you have witnessed this jaw-dropping phenomenon up close, there are still plenty of activities to keep you occupied.
Favourites include white water rafting and canoeing, as well as flights by microlight and light aircraft, along with helicopter rides.
There is also a bungee jump for those who are feeling particularly adventurous, with holidaymakers jumping from the railway bridge above Boiling Point - a basin formed by a sharp curve in Second Gorge.
If you are more interested in checking out the local plant and animal life, there are national parks in the vicinity, with options including elephant-back safaris, rhino walks and close encounters with lions.
It is almost impossible not to be impressed by this stunning natural wonder and it will no doubt be a highlight of any safari holiday you book in Africa.