"The Smoke that Thunders"
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

"Moise a Tunya"="The Smoke That Thunders" was the name of Africa's answer to Iguacu when David Livingstone came upon it with his African guides. He re-named it for his Queen, and Victoria Falls it remains to this day. As you see it here by afternoon light this past year, a double rainbow crests the chasm. My first view a decade earlier was even more awe-inspiring, since I wandered out to encounter the falls by night and was treated to my first view of a moonbow. It is an imposing sight from any angle, with over a mile of the brink of the falls on the Zambian side almost within reach from the drenching misty Zimbabwe side. Livingstone said, "Such sights angels in their flight must view", so, of course, we now must have "angel flights" of light planes buzzing the falls, and since my first visit the "gruesome twosome" of a bungie jump from the Zambezi River Arch bridge followed by the rafting of its world class churning white water class five gorge has evolved. I would have preferred to see it with Livingstone and imagine the sights angels could see without piston engines or bungy cords.

The Zambezi goes on to Indian Ocean through Mozambique, but not before hitting two very imposing modern man-made obstructions, the Kariba Dam and the flooded Zimbabwean big-game parks along Lake Kariba and then the Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique. The name "Our Work is Finished" (in Lusophone Portuguese East Africa at the time of the colonial construction), the concept, and consequences are fascinating--and subject of another essay which is available upon request. The first world sponsors see dam development as irresistible--stable irrigation supplies, flood and drought protection, hydroelectric generation, commercial and recreational fishing, and big ticket construction contracts to first world engineering developers. I see displacement of an entire riverine ecosystem and the people and fauna adapted to it with the advent of another endemia for schistosomiasis. I have jumped across the formerly mighty Zambezi in drought and actually driven along the sandy bed of the Limpopo River between South African Transvaal and Botswana, a sorry trickle for the outcome of the mighty "Moise a Tunya".