Victoria Falls isn't the tallest waterfall in the world, nor is it the widest, but it certainly rates as one of the most impressive phenomena in nature. Victoria Falls, which is shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe, checks in at more than a mile wide at the point where the Zambezi River cascades down more than 350 feet, creating a "thundering smoke" that can be seen for miles.
Photograph by Michael R Baynes, Getty Images
While it looks as if these visitors to Victoria Falls are flirting with disaster, swimming in the Devil's Pool is not quite as dangerous as it looks, thanks to an underwater lip. Located on the Zambia side of the falls, the pool is only accessible during the dry season from August to January.
Photograph by joSon, Getty Images
"Scenes so lovely they must be gazed upon by angels in their flight," remarked Scottish explorer David Livingstone when he first glimpsed the falls in 1855, the first Westerner to do so. He named the falls after his queen, and there is a bronze statue of him gazing upon the falls on the Zambian side.
Photograph by Dietmar Temps, Cologne, Getty Images
At more than a mile wide, Victoria Falls spans the width of the Zambezi River. Its local name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, translates to "the smoke that thunders," a reference to the falls' mists that can be seen from as far as 12 miles away.
Photograph by Kumar Sriskandan, Alamy Stock Photo
The lower the water levels in the Zambezi, the more thrilling the ride for white-water rafters. As the river's levels get lower from August to December, the closer the rocks get to the surface, churning up some very fast rapids.
Photograph by Xu Lingui, Corbis
Victoria Falls straddles the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the dividing line between the countries in the middle of the Zambezi River. The mists from the falls support a rain-forest-like ecosystem on the adjacent cliffs.
Photograph by Marsel Oosten, National Geographic Creative
African elephants are one of many species native to the national parks on either side of Victoria Falls. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles patrol the waters; lions, leopards, and cheetahs stalk antelope and zebra; and more than 35 raptor species can be spotted in the air.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.