The Zambezi River’s Victoria Falls has awed visitors with its grandiosity and its beauty for time memorial. A world heritage site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, “Vic Falls” remains protected under the auspices of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia. Spilling into a gorge nearly four hundred feet deep and a mile wide, the falls’ spray has created its own tropical rainforest ecosystem in the midst of semi-arid African tundra, replete with a dazzling array of flora, monkeys and birds of a thousand varieties, and a constant array of ephemeral rainbows.
Due to the spectacular nature of Vic Falls and to the abundance of activities in the area, Mosi-Oa-Tunya is the safest and the most oft visited tourist destination in Zambia. Contrary to the media’s interpretation of the region, Zambian government agencies have kept the area safe and free of political unrest in order to maintain its thriving tourist industry. Nearby Livingstone, Zambia likewise has maintained political stability, and boasts quaint English-style districts of tin-roofed Victorian homes and wooden verandas. Dubbed the adventure capital of Africa, the area surrounding Vic Falls offers a range of activities, from bungee jumping over the Zambezi to sunset safari canoe cruises on the river’s mellower stretches; and just downstream of the falls courses one of the most thrilling and adventurous river trips in the world! An authentic African adventure, the Zambezi remains one top destinations for adventure travel on Earth.
Unfortunately, like so many great rivers we enjoy visiting and challenging their incredible rapids, the Zambezi is at risk of being lost. For almost twenty years, there has been a threat but no real action being taken to build a dam downstream of the Batoka Gorge which would inundate a good portion of the famous rapids of the Zambezi River. It would also eliminate prime fishing grounds for many local villagers that make the regular journey from their villages down into the depths of the river canyon for days at a time in order to feed their families. The dam site was initially decided on and core samples were taken from both sides of the river. The planning and engineering stage of the dam came to a hault due to political strife and border conflicts between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Now that the countries are both in need of more cost effective resources and revenue, they are re-visiting the original plan of a new dam on this amazing river.
Watch this video of the Zambian director of International Rivers talking about the original Kariba dam which forms lake Kariba downstream of the finishing point of Global Descents Zambezi expedition. The Tongan people’s God, Nyami Nyami is still worshiped by the local people and river runners alike. You can always keep up to date with information about this and many other rivers at risk through International Rivers, internationalrivers.org, a great organization working tirelessly to protect one of our greatest natural wonders…Rivers!