Victoria Falls dries to a trickle

Victoria Falls is almost unrecognisable as drought hits southern Africa Credit: Getty (left) Reuters (right)

by NORMA TSOPO

MOSI-OA-TUNYA – smoke that thunders, as the iconic Victoria Falls is known in the local Lozi language has dried to a trickle amidst Southern Africa’s worst drought in decades.

It is at its lowest in a quarter of a century.

An aerial view of the falls in full flow in June 2018 (AFP)

The mighty Zambezi River water curtain – on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe – is classified as the world’s largest waterfall based upon its combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres.

While it is unusual to run low on water during dry seasons Zambian president Edgar Lungu notes that this is a sign that climate change might completely dry out the world wonder.

In an interview with Sky News in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, Mr Lungu said: “Do we want to want to pass on the Zambezi without the mighty Victoria Falls?

“Do we want to pass on Africa and the next generation without the mighty Victoria Falls? Is that what we want? There are practices and measures we can take now.”

Elisha Moyo, principal climate-change researcher at Zimbabwe’s environment ministry, said the disappearance of the falls was a “serious possibility”.

“It’s a worry,” he told the BBC’s Hardtalk last month. “Maybe one year there will be no falls completely, no water.”

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority board member Blessing Munyenyiwa in comments reported by The Chronicle newspaper contends that their tourism trump-card would not dry in our lifetime.

“It’s normal to have low water this time of the year but the falls will never dry in our lifetime,” Munyenyiwa said.

The falls are named after Britain’s Queen Victoria by Scottish explorer David Livingstone who is believed to have been the first European to view the falls in 1855.

The indigenous Lozi had always called it Mosi-oa-Tunya and the World Heritage List officially recognises both names.