In a powerful display of breath-taking beauty and intensity, the Victoria Falls has measured its highest flows in a decade. Four times as much water is flowing through the famous waterfall than this time last year.
Zambezi River Authority public relations and communications manager Elizabeth Karonga explains that the high-water levels were due to a significant increase in both rainfall and run-off in the catchment area upstream of Victoria Falls during the current rainfall season.
Authority data shows four times more water is now flowing over the world’s largest waterfall than at this time last year. This year on April 20, 3,922 cubic metres per second was recorded compared to 1,007 cubic metres per second on April 20, 2019.
“The Zambezi River normally experiences two peaks or floods, which are more evident in the upper catchment area, upstream from Victoria Falls, and depending on their magnitude, their effects are translated downstream,” Karonga said.
The first wave was recorded on March 31, 2020 with a peak flow of 4,289 cubic metres per second, and the second reached the Victoria Falls on April 14. The second flood is expected to peak by end of April at more than 4,300 cubic metres per second.
The last time the flows were this high was in 2010. However, the highest flow to date was recorded back in 1958 when the peak flow reached an incredible 9,436 cubic metres per second.
“At a time when the world is in trouble the Zambezi River and the Victoria Falls display immense beauty, rugged power and a glorious snub to the current negatives,” said Ross Kennedy, chief executive of Zimbabwean hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism.
“It has been quite some time since anyone witnessed the majesty and intensity of this level of water flowing over the Victoria Falls, with the last period of such floods being ten years ago.
What a sad and disappointing irony it is, that at this time that one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World is at its absolute finest, the world is in lockdown and very few if any will get to witness or experience this iconic destination in all its splendour,” he added.
“But, of course, nature being what it is, Victoria Falls will flood again and will be there to impress, enthral and excite many millions of tourists in the decades ahead,” says Kennedy.