Victoria Falls – A Natural Treasure

1The Zimbabwean/Zambian border is home to Victoria Falls (alternatively known as Mosi-oa-Tunya).  Eco-tourism around the Falls, its river the Zambezi, and the surrounding national parks are important revenue sources for both governments. The Falls occur where the upper Zambezi flows into the middle Zambezi. Tourism has occurred there since the building of the Victoria Falls Bridge in 1905, with Cecil Rhodes wanting travelers to feel the “spray of the Falls on the train carriages.”

The pressure of Africa’s fourth longest river makes for a thunderous experience. Victoria Falls is nearly twice the height of the United States’ Niagara Falls.  A featured attraction of the Falls is a fascinating natural pool called “The Devils Swimming Pool.”  During the months of September and December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls without falling over: just inches away from a 130 meter plunge. This is possible due to a safe, natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the fall; the current is kept mostly within the pool.  Visitors come away with a memorable sightseeing experience and photo for family scrapbook.

The Zimbabwean side of the Falls has better facilities to accommodate tourists, but due to the political and economic situation, the Zambian side handles the majority of travelers. Visas to enter either country can be pricy; upwards of $100 dollars or more.  More than 300,000 visitors a year come to see the Falls, and that number is expected to rise significantly. This leads to concern at the UN about overdevelopment around the region; they believe that the environment is inadequately managed.  The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and, as such, is considered naturally and culturally important to humanity.

Leave a Reply