If you are researching visiting the magnificent Victoria Falls – and we do hope you are – you may come across many names that you may be unfamiliar with. Read on to discover the rich history and imagery behind them here:
The Victoria Falls waterfall was discovered by Dr .David Livingstone in November 1855, and as he was British, he named it after his Queen, Victoria.
This is the local name for the Victoria Falls in the Tonga language – it is translated as “the smoke that thunders”.
Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world
This name has been cited in historical records as also used for the Victoria Falls and means “The Place of the Rainbow”.
Rainbow over the Victoria Falls
The Devil’s cataract is the first and lowest of the five Falls. It is named after the island next to it, which is called Cataract Island or Baoruka Island. Baoruka is the Tonga word for “divider of waters”. There is also speculation that the when the falls were originally discovered, the missionaries saw the local tribes performing rituals on the island and called them “devilish”.
The Devil’s Cataract, located on the westerly section of Victoria Falls
Ra-Ikane River Cruises
Fashioned after David Livingstone’s exploration boat, the Ma-Robert, the Ra-Ikane boats are named after the instrumental guide, Lazarus Ra-Ikane, who accompanied and assisted Livingstone in his monumental discovery of the natural wonder, Victoria Falls.
A historical boat from David Livingstone’s time
Ilala Lodge Hotel
‘Ilala’ is also the Ndebele word for ‘lie down’. Read more about the history of Ilala Lodge Hotel here.
Twin room at Ilala Lodge Hotel
The Zambezi (meaning “Great River” in the language of the Tonga people). In 1498 Vasco da Gama became the first European to see the Zambezi River. He called the Zambezi the “River of Good Omens” (Rio dos Bons Sinais).
Zambezi River view from Ilala Lodge Hotel
The name “Zimbabwe”, broken down to Dzimba dzamabwe in Shona (one of the two major languages in the country), means “houses of stone”.
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins