The falls were formed in a zone of crustal faults. On the crest of the fall numerous islands divide the main flow into several branches.
On 15th November 1855, David Livingstone reached Kalai Island on which he saw Chief Sekute’s burial site which was surrounded by a fence of seventy large elephant tusks.
LIVINGSTONE ISLAND (Namakabwa)
Lying between the Main and Rainbow falls, it is here that Livingstone had his first view of the falls. The colonialists named this island after him, although it was originally called Namakabwa (Overseer) of the Bedyango and Chief Mukuni. Village Headmen were stationed here to watch over the falls, the greater spiritual outline of the Leya People of Mukuni.
CATARAC T ISLAND (Boaruka)
This Island supports the rest of the falls which are on the Zimbabwean side, giving the westernmost section the name Devils Cataract. The local name appears to have origins in Zimbabwe.
PRINCESS VICTORIA (Nanyati)
Also named after British Royalty, the Island was originally known as Namvuvu due to the great schools of Hippopotamus (Mvumvu) which visited the Island.
LONG ISLAND (Siloka or Lwando)
The longest of the Islands in the vicinity of the falls, it derived its European name from its characteristic distance end to end. The Bedyango tribe established their village and second capital here, and it was Chief Siloka I Mukuni XIV’s burial site. Originally known as the Lwando – it later became locally known as the Siloka Island.
QUEEN ELIZABETH ISLAND (Kalai Island)
Named after Queen Elizabeth, the Island was originally known as Kalai Island. This was the praise place of one the Mukuni Chiefs who would swim to the Island.
PRINCESS ISLAND (Nansefu)
Given the collective name of Princess, the island was originally known as Nansefu due to herds of antelopes that were found on the Island.
Kakunka Island’s original name was never changed by the Europeans.
Just below south of Siloka Island. The Kalunda Island has also maintained its original name.