The Vic Falls moving steadily towards its fullest splendour

Marianne Betts

The water levels at the Victoria Falls have been rising steadily since the rains began three months ago, with 855 cubic metres per second now tumbling majestically into the Batoka Gorge to form the world’s largest waterfall.

This is over five times more than its lowest annual water level which was recorded in early November, but there is still some way to go before it reaches its peak flow, of more than 4 500 cubic metres per second in May, after the rains.

According to the Zambezi River Authority data, there is more water flowing over the falls now than there was at the same time last year when there was 691 cubic metres per second, although it is still below its long-term mean average level.

The Zambezi River is rain fed, so it fluctuates dramatically throughout the year, and even year-to-year, giving rise to an ever-changing spectacle.

The rainy season is normally between November and March, so the falls are at their fullest between April and June, and at their lowest between September and November.

Zimbabwean hospitality group, Africa Albida Tourism (AAT), will be taking photographs from the same spot at the Victoria Falls every month for a whole year, from January, to show the world how the waterfall is ever-changing, but always spectacular.

After 12 months, AAT will have a fabulous collection of images to share showing the many faces of the Victoria Falls.

Betts has visited the Victoria Falls dozens of times over many years, at different times of the year, at different times of the day, and the experience has never been exactly the same – and every time she has been in awe of this Natural Wonder of the World.

On some visits, there has been so much water and visitors have been completely drenched and the spray concealed part of the falls. At other times, visitors barely got wet, but seen its entire 1,7km stretch, including sections of the underlying rock formations of the Batoka Gorge.

Sometimes its famous rainbow dances vividly in the spray and sunlight, on other occasions it’s been far more elusive.

Every trip through the rainforest has been full of surprises — whether it is monkeys leaping high in the trees or a bushbuck family grazing the lush green grass in the early morning sun, or glimpses of brightly coloured butterflies or a paradise flycatcher.

Just before the rains come, when the water is at its lowest, bright red fireball lilies dot the rainforest and at this time of the year, the beautiful flame lily, Zimbabwe’s national flower, delights visitors.

Whatever the ebb or flow of this evolving wonder, it will always mesmerise.

Betts is Zimbabwean hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism’s public relations officer. – pr@africaalbida.co.zw or visit www.africaalbidatourism.com

Top