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).