Victoria Falls

After traveling 1,000 miles from the north, the Zambezi River reaches the edge of one world and plummets 350 feet into another. Victoria Falls, between the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is over a mile wide. No other waterfall in the world can match her scale.

The Zambezi is known as the “River of Life” across southern Africa, but surviving by the river near Victoria Falls is not always easy. During the rainy season the Zambezi has a fierceness and a power that is deadly to both animals and humans. At the peak of the rainy season, almost 300,000 gallons of water cascade over the falls every second.

Despite the danger, many birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals call this area home. And a fisherman, known as Mr. White, has lived in a nearby town for 74 years, spending almost every day by the falls. NATURE joins Mr. White as he tells us Zambezi’s story — a story of the changing seasons and many moods of the river.

During the dry season, life gravitates to the river by Victoria Falls. As the sun beats down and the water level lowers, grass-covered islands above the falls are exposed. Families of elephants from the surrounding savannah flock to the Zambezi to make the river crossing. Predator and prey rely on the river for water, and pairs of bee-eaters and pied kingfishers dig nests in the exposed muddy banks. Fish eagles raise their young and teach them to hunt, and hippos crowd the waters.

Life flourishes, for a while. And then, months later, clouds gather in the sky and rising waters force many animals to leave. It is the rainy season, and Victoria Falls becomes magnificent again – her voice rising from a whisper to thunder.

Victoria Falls premieres Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 8pm (check local listings).

  • ~vane5832~

    OMG that wuz so cool and beautiful,i luved it.I gotta own.i luved the water falls.B.Y.E

  • briantravelman

    Is this gonna be last episode of the season?

  • Elizabeth Wallace

    I went to see the Vic Falls while in Livingstone, Zambia in November 2007. Being the end of the dry season, there was just a trickle but i could see more water way over on the Zimbabwe side so i walked all the way over there on a hot day just to feel the cool mist. (If you do this, be sure to stop and pay for a visa to get into Zimbabwe or they may not let u out).

  • Millich

    I can still remember walking from my casio/hotel through the patch of forest at the edge of Mosi-oa-Tunya and stopping on the footpath to see a babboon sitting on a picnic bench, with legs crossed in a human-like position. I’ll never forget as he just sat there and let me venture on to the edge of the path overlooking the falls. This was back in November, 1971….a time when a now politiclly devasted country was the propserous Rhodesia. The falls were spectacular!

  • Rea

    I feel very sad that Africa has so many problems. It is such a beautiful country with so much to offer the world. This Falls is just one of their GREAT treasures. Can’t wait to see the show Sunday. Thanks for the offering.

  • susan mathis

    We want to see it but Comcast isn’t showing that it’s on tomorrow night, Sunday, May 17 in the Colorado Springs, CO, area. Can you confirm what time it’s on, please? Thanks.

  • Dejan

    I have been watchig thi documentary all of 20 minutes and I am absoultely STUNNED by its visual beauty! The cinematographer deserves an Oscar!

  • Clay Cannon

    Was looking forward to watching this tonight but there is no narrative audio. Is anyone else having this issue?

  • J. Bradley

    Great show but the narration drove me up a wall. One sentence by the male narrator, then the next by the female. Reminded me of kids in grade school reading at the school play.

  • Susan

    I would like to know who didthe fabulous camera work for Victoria Falls?
    I could not find this information

  • Ben

    I thought it was beautiful cinematography, kinda “Baraka” like, but I don’t think that was the intention. Or was it?

  • Bob

    Female narrator? Did we watch the same show?

    Btw the fishermans voice was actually someone else talking for him.

    Filmed by:

  • John Burns

    Is there a complete list of all the fantastic music from this amazing episode? I love the music and would like to know the names of the songs and artists. Thanks!

  • Frank R Schantz

    My wife and I toured Victoria Falls. The video on it May 17 was beautiful. How can I get a copy.

  • Ronni Weinberg

    We just returned from a trip to Vic Falls the first week in April. It was a breath taking experience. We did the zipline from Zambia to Zimbabwe, also. This video was amazing.

  • chris kulish

    The music was so wonderful in this program! Is it possible to get a listing of the song titles and the artists from this episode? I would appreciate it so much. I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you.

  • Kris Kennedy

    Oh, yes, I agree with Chris Kulish-that’s why I was writing too. Is there a way to get a soundtrack from the program?

  • Lysander

    i loved the music. very calming. is it available?

  • briantravelman

    Oh man! It was great! Definately one of the best! I’ve always wanted to go there, and watching it made me wanna go there even more! I’m deffinately going there someday! Is so beautiful!

  • bmyer

    Much of the music was by the artist Miriam Makeba and many of the songs used are from her recordings. I don’t know about the others.. .

  • jamberjacks

    I too loved the music. Soundtrack available?

  • vincent musto

    probabby the best Nature that has been produced!!!

  • James Hansen

    Is the music from the Nature show on Victoria Falls and the Zambeze River available? If so, how may I obtain it? Thank You James Hansen

  • NATURE Online

    For everyone who has questions about the music, I am currently investigating and should have an answer tomorrow.

  • kathleen

    I agree the music was haunting. I’ve been thinking about it all day! I’d watch the show again equally for both the wonderful film and the absolutely beautiful soundtrack. Perfect compliments

  • Glenda Wright

    I’ve just returned from Zambia, were visited the falls. Wow! The water was at its peak, it was absolutely amazing. I wish I could have seen this. Will it be showing again soon?

  • NATURE Online

    If you’d like a copy of this program on DVD, you can find it by clicking the “shop” link at the top of the site. To find out if “Victoria Falls” will be airing again soon where you live, please click the “schedule” link to check your local listings.

  • jamberjacks

    NATURE online: if there is no soundtrack available, would it be possible for you to list the artists that were featured?

  • Scott S

    The show was just great and a wonderful primer for my wife’s and my visit there in less than a month. I can hardly wait! But to clarify to some posters, Africa is a continent, not a country.

  • Tony

    Absolutely awesome film, I can’t give it enough praises. Victoria falls was our home and my wife and I have developed a website all about the Falls. We would love to be able to showcase this video on our site and make it available for future travelers so hope to hear from nature as to how we can do this. Thanks

  • as here since 93


  • T. Miller

    Nature Online: What format was this shot in? Hi Def 1080i, 30F, 24p? Also what procam model/manuf. was used? Thanks! Love the Quality!

  • Ron Skillet

    Killer program, and the music made it so great!

    Nature Online still waiting for song list! The songs were tremendous. (Artist and titles pls) Don’t hold out on us!!!

  • Leonard D Horn

    I worked at the Vic Falls Hotel late 50’s early 60’s
    wonderful to see it again made me very homesick

  • Catherine

    I just watched Victoria Falls, in its’ entirety, in peace anf quiet this time. Wow–WHAT A SHOW. Everything-cinematography, music, narration (again F. Murray Abraham excels)-and the babboons. I must admit–I sat here laughing till my eyes watered watching the babboons at the border (misappropriating the merchandise).. thanks PBS for yet another magnificent episode.

  • Heather

    Amazing…simply amazing! The narration by Mr. White added so much that I wish he had narrated the entire program! Friends from Africa keep trying to get me to visit. It is a truly amazing place and one day I will!


    Thank you for all your comments, I’m glad you liked it the film.

    As you can hopefully tell from the footage, it was a pleasure working in such an amazing place and meeting such great people.

    In answer to some of the questions about the film.

    The music is a combination of miriam makeba (from the album Africa), rokia traore (from the album mouneissa) and library music.

    The film was mostly shot in HD on a Panasonic Varicam (25p), we also used an arriflex SR2 (16mm film), a photron high speed video camera and canon digital SLR’s.

    All the best,
    Jamie McPherson

  • NATURE Online

    For those of you still looking for the song list, we posted it May 21st. You can check it out here:

  • tom carvey

    Why can’t you tell us when it will be shown again? have several who missed it and dearly wish to see!!!

  • kieth

    Awesome photography and documentary! Play it again!

  • NATURE Online

    NATURE airs at different times on different local stations. Check your local listings by clicking the “schedule” link at the top of the site.

  • blahblahblah

    interesting. why do da fals dry up? this iz da 1st time i’ve ever seen NATURE.It waz okay.They spent to much time on the birdss.

  • Kitty

    I visited Zambia 6 years ago and found it a most enchanting place. The perpetual rainbow at Victoria Falls was extraordinary. I saw elephants swimming across the Mighty Zambezi and heard lions roaring from the Zimbabwe side. Go see it! And see the Big Tree. If, like me, you have a wild side, try the bungee jump off the bridge. It’s 111 meters of pure adrenaline rush!

  • Antonia Berg

    I have lost the presentation of Victoiafalls….. So sad! Will you show again? I hope so!!! When?…

  • Annah

    This was one of the best NATURE programs I’ve seen. I wish they’d entitled it “The Zambezi” or something along those lines and not Victoria Falls which only reminds us Africans of colonialism.

  • Ross Martin

    Was this episode of Nature in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound?

  • Praveen

    The perfect work of art, the blend of visual and audio talent. I never thought I would get stuck to the T.V watching such a masterpiece. The music , no doubt was the major spice in the whole program. This is how you make people glued to the television , the person behind all this need a standing ovation .

  • francois williams

    Africa IS NOT IN ANY WAY A SAD PLACE…THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFULL OF COUNTRIES WITH EXRAORDINARY DIFFICULTIES…that is out of about 60 countries, most of Africa is doing very well…The problems of Africa started about 500 years ago with the arrival of the Westerners who unleashed a murderous reign of terror and slavery and extermination on the peoples and animals of Africa…now that they are gone, Africa is recovering very well thank you…and you are welcome to vist, just leave your brainwashed notions and discrimination at home…we don’t need that in Africa…

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  • zambiangal

    omg!!! i love my country!! cant wait to go back :) sad that i haven’t been to the vic.falls yet..but i know its a very beautiful place!

  • Mike

    Interesting! I hope that everyone’s Sunday was great and I hope that they have a great week!

  • Keith J.

    Nature is a part of us all and it is no more apparent than when you look at the man who is the main character in this program and the connection he has to the falls and the river and how anyone who watches is totally engrossed in, not only the incredible video but also the music and the connection we all have to a place so so far away from most of us. I feel like it is a part of my spirit, somehow, and pray that one day I will be able to visit this magical, majestic, land. This is a place that shows us all the existence of a higher power that, truly, controls the miracle of nature and the miracle that is life.

  • Kimberly W

    It is so refreshing to watch something with my family that doesn’t invovled, murder, rape or cursing! Victoria Falls is somethng that makes you stop and enjoy all of God’s creations. What a beautiful country Africa iswhat a wonderful showing of the Falls, animals and birds. We always enjoy Nature programs.

  • Shark Lady

    This just aired this evening in the Washington, D.C. area. It brought back wonderful memories of my visit to Victoria Falls (from the Zimbabwe side) last September-October (2010). The highlight of the trip for me was the helicopter ride over the Falls. The views are indescribable. I loved my stay at the falls and wish I were back visiting Africa!

  • Bill Carr

    Arrrgh–missed it–when will it air again?

  • Jon

    Spectacular episode. Such awe in all of the moments. I especially loved the high speed capture of the birds diving into the water to catch their prey.

    I love this planet.

  • Edwin Daley

    Beautiful photography and amazing scenes of the animals and birds. BUT the fascinating geological origin and future of Victoria Falls was completely ignored. Mr. White down in the gorge, but nothing about how the gorge got to be there. Five minutes could have explained why the falls is there and where it’s going. But lots of animals, wonderfully photographed. An opportunity was lost. It appears that much (most?) of the audience didn’t realize what was missing in this program.

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    this is an awesome place we are always ready to welcome our guests to this natural wonder. for all your questions on how to get here.

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