NOTICES          - 27/4/2010      <--Prev : Next-->

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Vic Falls April 2010 Devils Gorge April 2010 Victoria Falls Kariba April 2010


HeeHoo and I visited the magnificent Victoria Falls last week, I have never ever seen the Falls so full. The most amazing of the seven natural wonders of the world, we have been to the Vic Falls dozens of times but nave never seen it like this !!

Old Lady Kariba turns fifty this year, we just hope she will be strong enough to contain all of that water that is thundering towards the wall !

The Zambesi River is raging, White water Rafting ceased very early this year due to the level of the water and it is certainly the right time to visit the Falls !!

The view from the Zimbabwe side is superlative, but prepare to be drenched !! There is so much spray rising from the Falls that it looks like an atomic explosion .... and the water spreads from bank to bank .

Past Devils Cataract towards the Main Falls and onwards, it is almost impossible to see anything there is so much spray but when the spray falls occasionally due to wind turmoil, the view is sublime.

Rain coats and umbrellas are for hire at the gate but do yourself a favour, don a pair of old shorts and a tee shirt and enjoy the fabulous sensation of being absolutely soaked but warm and toasty in the Zimbabwe sun. Make sure to wear non slip shoes, those Zimbabwe special rafters, preferably that dry in a flash, take a plastic bag or waterproof container for your camera equipment, and undertake one of the most fabulous walks of your life.

At the end of the cobblestoned river walk, do not expect to see Zambia, it is behind a glorious curtain of white spray, but make your way to the viewing area and watch the nutty bungee jumpers and the tourists on the exciting gorge swing, what a buzz it must be to do it !!

As I said earlier, Kariba Dam turns 50 this year on 16 May and I quote from an article by an unnamed writer (with apologies) !!

" The huge concrete arch, double curvature dam wall, 128m high and spanning 617m across the narrow Kariba Gorge between Zambia and Zimbabwe, had finally closed off the waters of the Zambezi River, creating a lake 280 kms long and covering some 5200 sq km of the Zambezi valley. It had not been an easy undertaking. Described as the one of the engineering wonders of the world, the dam took 5 years to complete and its construction was fraught with challenges.

Hundreds of Tonga villagers who lived along the Zambezi River upstream from the dam were relocated away from their ancestral homes and fishing livelihoods and resettled on high ground to the south and west of the new lake, where they were left to scratch out a living in hostile, infertile territory.

Thousands of animals were drowned, unable to escape the rising lake waters. Today - 50 year's later - two hydro power stations (one on each side of the dam) continue to be a major source of electricity for the Southern African region.

As the month of May 2010 approaches, and the little town of Kariba prepares to celebrate 50 years of its history, the dam is once again under siege from the floodwaters of the Zambezi River.

There have been heavy rains in the catchment area upstream during the past two years and the lake has filled at a phenomenal rate. When it reached 75% capacity in March 2010, with inflows still expected until the end of May, the Zambezi River Authority (an inter-governmental body responsible for the dam's management) opened three of Kariba's six sluice gates with warnings to villagers and communities downstream to prepare for the ensuing floods. A fourth gate has since been opened, and the lake is still rising at 83% capacity, with about two metres to go before it is full. The rise will continue throughout April and May, but hopefully at a slower rate as seasonal rainfall subsides. The Zambezi River downstream of Kariba is a now rushing torrent, with sandy islands underwater and low-lying villages and tourism camps threatened with flooding.

Some would say that the Zambezi River spirit, Nyaminyami - depicted in local craftwork as a fanged serpent, is once again making a show of strength. During the 1950s floods which nearly destroyed the Kariba dam wall in the making, local Tonga communities believed that they were the work of Nyaminyami, angry at the construction of the wall which had separated him from his wife downstream.

Whatever the speculation, Lake Kariba is looking stunning at the moment. Visitors to the town should take time to visit the dam wall which is spectacular with its flood spray rising high into the air between the hills of the dramatic gorge. Great views and photographic opportunities are to be had from the Observation Point on the hill above the dam, where you can buy Kariba crafts and souvenirs as well. But even more spectacular is a trip onto the wall itself.

If you leave your ID documents at the Immigration post on the Zimbabwean side, in exchange for a temporary permit, (this only takes a few minutes) you can walk or take a drive down to the wall where you can experience the full force of Nyaminyami 's power as you walk along the impressive concrete curve. It's like a mini, man-made Victoria Falls and well worth the visit! Wish Kariba a happy 50th birthday while you are at it!"

Please have a look at some pics on the Falls and Kariba on