One reason many people love to travel is to see some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. Furthermore, one element in nature that travelers can’t seem to get enough of is waterfalls.
From South Africa to Asia to Europe and everywhere in between, you’ll be able to find beautiful and unique waterfalls in all shapes and sizes. There are blood-red waterfalls in Antarctica, glacially formed falls in Iceland and waterfalls that flow from 3,212 feet high in Venezuela, to name a few.
To see some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, check out the gallery below.
On Thursday of this week five nations in southern Africa announced plans to form a new international conservation area that will be the largest of its kind once it is complete. This unprecedented move was made to allow the participating nations to combine their conservation efforts and combat illegal poaching in a more efficient manner.
Under the agreement, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana will combine 36 nature preserves that are currently managed independently of one another. The newly unified conservation area will be roughly the size of Sweden and will provide wildlife with more than 170,000 square miles of unbroken territory to freely migrate through. This new preserve will be expansive enough to encompass both Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the Okavango Delta in Botswana, two of the more spectacular settings in all of Africa.
Conservationists are hailing the move as a good one for southern Africa. The newly formed Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area is home to roughly 45% of the total elephant population on the continent and will also feature more than 600 species of birds alone. Other big game, such as zebra, giraffe, buffalo and lion will be plentiful there as well.
Of particular concern for each of the countries involved with the project is protecting the elephant herds that live there. Poaching has become a major concern across Africa where the animals are routinely hunted and killed illegally to harvest their ivory tusks. With each nation working more cooperatively inside the conservation area, however, they hope to prevent much of the poaching that has gone on in the region over the past few years.
Victoria Falls is the English name for the Mosi Oa Tunya, the infamous, bountiful waterfalls in Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, Zambia. “Mosi Oa Tunya” means “The Smoke that Thunders,” but David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer, named Victoria Falls for his queen. Both names are widely recognized. Today, the Victoria Falls are recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
The falls are breathtaking and powerful enough to intimidate and inspire even the most experienced of travelers. They fill you with wonder and awe. They’re big; at 5,604 feet wide, they form the largest continuous sheet of falling water in the world, and they’re moving; the constant erosion of the falling water has actually pushed the falls markedly backward over the years. The umissable crowning glory of the falls is the permanent rainbow. You can see a rainbow from almost any angle as you walk along the path viewing the falls. You can chase it if you want, but it moves — trust me, I was after that pot of gold.
The Livingstone-adjacent Mosi Oa Tunya National Park is full of wildlife and well-known not just for the magical waterfalls and rainbows, but for Mosi Oa Tunya game drives. Additionally, the park features level five rapids just below the falls, and you can also take elephant rides, helicopter tours or go bungee jumping. When you visit the falls, they may not be as powerful as you see above; part of the water is diverted to create hydropower — but according to our guide, we happened to visit on a lucky Sunday when the hydropower plant was under maintenance.
Perhaps Victoria Falls is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s hard to tell which side of a rainbow is the end and which side is the beginning.
Renting a private villa, isn’t a new concept for travelers. In fact, many have been doing it for years in a variety of countries throughout Europe. But now, Kensington Tours is bringing the same concept to southern Africa, delivering a unique take on the experience by offering up luxury villas and safari houses for their clients.
According to Kensington travel expert Brad Crockett, a number of luxury villas have begun appearing in both South Africa and Botswana already, and he predicts that it’ll become a very popular option for families or groups of friends traveling together. These rental houses offer all the luxurious (and then some) of home, but in close proximity to some of the best safari destinations on the planet, allowing you to escape to the wild during the day, then return to a comfortable chateau, complete with a deck, pool, modern kitchen, and luxurious beds.
Kensington, who specializes in luxury adventure travel, has a new safari option that includes a stay at the exclusive Ellerman Villa. The ten day trip offers visitors a glimpse at Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa, and includes a number of unique options that aren’t found on any other trip of this kind. For instance, the journey beings with a visit to Victoria Falls and proceeds to South Luangwa, one of the best places in Africa to spot wildlife. Later, back in Cape Town, the travelers will visit the Cape of Good Hope, take a tour of wine country, and trek up Table Mountain. Check out the full itinerary by clicking here.
Having already gone on the traditional African safari a few years back, the thought of gathering up some good friends and renting a villa for a week sounds really appealing. Spending the day on game drives and then retiring to our rental home for the evening for some good food and a bottle of wine sounds like a fantastic escape, and a great alternative to spending the night in a crowded camp site.
Environmentalists are complaining that the tour company Shearwater Adventures has violated national and international law by expanding their luxury resort into the rainforest near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Shearwater has constructed a new restaurant, bar, kitchen, and information center next to the public entrance to the World Heritage Site. A lawyer for Shearwater insists the development is a legal replacement of earlier structures that had fallen into disrepair and that none of the new buildings go outside the area already reserved for facilities. Opponents to the construction contend that the buildings are on a much larger scale than the previous ones and are forbidden by a 2007 moratorium. This was put in place after UNESCO threaten to rescind Victoria Falls’ World Heritage status after a local businessman tried to build a hotel and golf course in the World Heritage zone.
Without being on the ground it’s hard to say if who’s telling the truth here. Last week The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe ordered that no new construction take place. It is now running the site along with the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, which used to have sole authority. The government is currently trying to decide which body will run the Falls.
As this shakeup is going on, conservationists say Shearwater is planning a giant $6 million development next to the VIP entrance to the Falls. This will include a complex of buildings close enough to the Falls to threaten its World Heritage status. There’s also worry about the development’s location only a few yards from the Zambezi River.
[Photo courtesy user colmdc via Gadling's flickr pool]