Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Victoria Falls



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Natural paradises in danger to be saved: Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls are located approximately in the middle of the Zambezi River. Upstream of the falls, the river is dotted with numerous islets covered with vegetation, the number of which increases as you get closer to the falls.

The latter begin when the Zambezi falls into a narrow cliff about 120 meters wide, and whose height varies from 80 meters on the right side to 105 meters in the central part; about twice the height of Niagara Falls. The great mass of water, falling into the cliff, generates a mist of water drops that rises to over 1,600 meters in height, and is visible from a distance of 40 km.

The only way out of the abyss where the waters fall is a narrow channel that opens into the opposite wall, about two thirds of its length starting from the western side. This channel is about 30 meters wide, and the entire volume of the river pours into it for 120 meters before emerging into a series of zigzag gorges about 80 km long that leads the river out of the basaltic plateau.

For decades, Victoria Falls, with its breathtaking views, has attracted millions of vacationers to Zimbabwe and Zambia. However, climate change is leading to one of the worst droughts of the century. At the end of the first gorge, the river has formed a deep lagoon called the Boiling Pot.

About 150 meters wide, its surface is calm in the lower part, but in the upper part it is marked by huge and slow eddies that create a visual effect of boiling water. As the river exits the Boiling Pot, the canal quickly turns west and enters the first of the zigzag gorges.

The walls of the gorges are more than 120 meters high. The falls are part of two national parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and the Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. Both parks are small in size, encompassing an area of ​​66 and 23 km² respectively.

The parks are home to a considerable number of life forms, including populations of large animals such as elephants, buffaloes and giraffes. The river in these areas is home to a large population of hippos. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park sees the presence of twelve white rhinos.

These white rhinos are the only ones present in Zambia, but they are not endemic to the place, they were instead imported from South Africa. Within the park boundaries is a small cemetery, located at the point of the original British settlement in the area.

The falls are part of two national parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and the Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, and are now one of the most important tourist attractions in the south of the African continent. Victoria Falls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.