A recent article in the UK’s Guardian, which sparked other similar reports in the English media, has given the impression that Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls is almost completely dry.
The article entitled ‘Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century’ shows images, which are also shared in a video, depicting sections of the chasm (past the main section of the Falls) which is mostly dry. However, despite the drop in the amount of water flowing over the edge of the Falls, it is far from dry.
According to a report published in October 2019 by UltimateAfrica.com, the water levels were 11 centimetres below the 10-year average, however, the Falls’ levels were still three centimetres higher than the lowest level recorded in 1995.
In a statement released by African Conservation Travel, one of the tour operators in the area, the Falls ‘stretch over a 1.7-kilometre-long expanse of rock spanning Zimbabwe and Zambia and part of the water curtain dries up each dry season’. The statement also said that ‘water levels in the Zambezi have, in fact, risen in the past week’.
Each year from July to December, the Zambezi River’s flow lessens and although drought has caused the flow to retreat more than usual, tour operators anticipate the annual change and some even take advantage of it. For example, Bundu Adventures recently launched its ‘Swim under the falls‘ tour, which only takes place during the dry season.
To try and counter the negative impression created by the international media, local tour operators and visitors have been sharing posts of the Falls with the hashtag ‘Victoria Falls Is Not Dry’.