The African Travel and Tourism Association (Atta), which promotes tourism to Africa from all corners of the world says what has been lacking in the media with regards the situation at Victoria Falls is an insight into the historic seasonal patterns and the resultant changes in water flow which are vital pieces of information to ensure a clear perspective is maintained.
Following media reports, there has been global worry that the Victoria Falls has dried up which is far from the situation on the ground where records from the Zambezi River Authority are showing water levels are once again on a consistent rise.
According to Atta, which spoke to several of its members based in Zimbabwe seeking clarification around media reports on the state of the Victoria Falls, the seasonal rise and fall of the Zambezi River changes the look of Victoria Falls on a daily basis.
“The western side of the falls is lower than the eastern side and therefore carries the most water all year round.
“This fluctuation is less noticeable at Devil’s cataract and the Main Falls. From Livingstone Islands onwards, this ebb and flow becomes more apparent and at low water, this portion of the Falls dries up almost completely,” Atta said.
In a press release yesterday, Atta said historical data provided by the Zambezi River Authority, who monitors the water level flows in the region daily, provide evidence that the annual mean water levels of the river have in fact been lower in at least six prior examples of a period spanning 1914 to the current date period.
It said whilst Zimbabwe has indeed experienced an extensive drought over the course of this year, the water levels of the Zambezi and indeed the flow levels over Victoria Falls, have remained above those recorded over the drought period of 95/96.
Although the Falls are a spectacular experience at high water, the spray often obscures the waterfall making it difficult to see and photograph.
Each time of the year, throughout the change of seasons and the change in water levels, has its advantages and disadvantages but one thing is consistent: Victoria Falls remains a magnificent sight and natural phenomenon all year round.
“For those who have been alarmed by the recent reports and somewhat sensationalised headlines, the good news is that the current records from the Zambezi River Authority are showing that water levels are once again on a consistent rise.
“Already water has started to flow once again over certain points along the eastern cataract of Victoria Falls (the dry portion or cliff-face of Victoria Falls which has been pictured in all recent media reports).
“We anticipate that given the recent reports of rain in the Zambezi catchment area, and indeed the rainfall being experienced in the immediate region, that these water levels will continue to rise as would be anticipated and consistent with the norm for this time of year and the change in season from mid/end of November, beginning of December,” said Atta.