Apart from the falls themselves, the other iconic attraction in Victoria Falls is the bridge over the river Zambezi, halfway across which lies the boarder line between the two countries.
It was was the inspiration of Cecil Rhodes, who was reported to have said: “build the Bridge across the Zambezi where the trains, as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls”. This was part of Rhodes’ unfulfilled Cape to Cairo railway scheme. He never actually visited the Victoria Falls, and died before construction of the Bridge even began.
Originally referred to as the Zambezi Bridge, the parabolic arch design of the Victoria Falls Bridge is credited to George Hobson. It was constructed from steel in England by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company, and shipped to the Mozambique port of Beira, and then transported up to Victoria Falls by rail.
In a feat of Victorian engineering, the Bridge took just 14 months to build. It was opened by Charles Darwin’s son, Professor George Darwin, President of the British Association (now the Royal Society) on 12 September 1905.
The Bridge itself is 198 metres (650 ft) long with the main arch spanning 156.50 metres (513.5 ft) at a height of 128 metres (420 ft) above the Zambezi River. It is a road, a railway and a foot-bridge, and is the only rail link between Zambia and Zimbabwe and one of only three road links between the two countries.
Today you can walk over the bridge and over the Zambia boarder line without having to pay for another visa to get back into Zimbabwe. You enter the boarder post (past the lines of trucks, cars, warthogs and baboons, not to mention tourists and would be bungee jumpers) and get a police pass to let you into no mans land. We walked over the bridge, where we got our first real glimpse of the falls (and our first taste of the spray!), to a well positioned bar on the Zambezi side where we watched people bungee jump and swing across the gorge.
With a beer of course!!!