This weekend, I played tourist at Victoria Falls. I have little to explain and a lot of pictures. You have been warned.
Victoria Falls are on the Zambezi River, which forms the border between Zambia to the north and Zimbabwe to the south. The Falls themselves are a United Nations Heritage site, spanning the two countries with national parks on both sides. (The headland visible above is in Zimbabwe, the picture taken from Zambia.)
Victoria Falls fall perpendicular to the flow of the river. The bedrock is basalt, formed some 150 million years ago. As the lava cooled, it cracked, creating regularly spaced faults which were then filled in with deposits from the Karoo and Kalahari. When the Zambezi began to flow through the area following geologic upheaval 5 million years ago, it rapidly cleared the deposits covering the faults and began to erode the basalt blocks below. The fault lines have gradually eroded in that time, moving from one crack to the next; currently the Falls is at its 8th location. The eroded faults create a massive gorge downstream of the Falls. Basalt as a very hard rock does not erode readily, coming away in blocks rather than smooth grains. This results in the chunky appearance of the Falls and downstream gorge despite erosion.
Our final stop on the two-day Grand Tour of Victoria Falls was the Victoria Falls Hotel, overlooking the Bridge and Gorge from the Zimbabwean side. It was beautiful (and the food was amazing), but I have never been anyplace that feels so colonial.
Altogether, it was a good weekend.