Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls

The small town of Victoria Falls owes its existence to the megalomaniacal dreams of Cecil Rhodes to build a Cape to Cairo railroad which would never have to leave British controlled territory on its journey through Africa. Rhodes wanted his railroad to impress and amaze.  What better way to accomplish this than by having the train pass close enough to the Victoria Falls for passengers to “feel the spray from the Falls”. In 1902, the railway reached the Victoria Falls and construction of a bridge straddling the gorge over the Zambezi river began. The bridge was opened in 1905 as was that grande dame of African hotels, the Victoria Falls hotel where travelers on Rhodes’ train could stop for a sundowner or a proper high tea.

Unfortunately, Cecil Rhodes died two years before the completion of his bridge, as did his dream of a Cape to Cairo railroad. But trains still chug along the railway to this day, crossing Rhodes’ bridge which connects the towns of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to Livingstone in Zambia on the other side of the Zambezi.

Victoria Falls hotel
high tea on the terrace
spray from the falls in the background
the bridge seen from the Zambian side
120m above the falls