'There will soon be no Victoria Falls to talk about'

TOURISM operators in Victoria Falls face a bleak future as water levels have dropped at Zimbabwe’s prime tourism destination, with tourist arrivals and hotel occupancy already taking a hit in the form of depressed numbers.

“The low falls are becoming more frequent. Maybe in one year there will be no falls,” Elisha Moyo, a principal climate change researcher with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism told BBC’s Hard Talk.

Sandra Gilberts, a tour guide agent with Overseas Adventure Travel, said it was becoming increasingly difficult to market the Victoria Falls which is taking a direct hit from effects of climate change.

“It’s now very difficult to market Victoria Falls as a holiday resort. Right now, we are on the rocks. They are beautiful to look at, but not as beautiful as when there is water,” she said.

Drying up… Victoria Falls

Many tourists now abandon making a tour of the rain forest because it is dry and very hot.

“Our clients usually get dehydrated while viewing the falls, leading to many having to abandon the adventure along the way as it gets frustrating,” tour guide Ryan Dube weighed in. “Gone are the days when one would be rained on. Interpreting the Victoria Falls to tourists is no longer as thrilling as it used to be.”

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The Victoria Falls are twice as wide as the Niagara Falls in Canada, and span the breadth of the Zambezi River at its widest point. At the falls, the river plunges over a sheer precipice to a maximum drop of 108m. It is the home of international water rafting and a magnificent rain forest.

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