Victoria Falls & Surrounds, by Ian Michler
Africa is world renowned for its numerous iconic geographical features: Ngorongoro Crater, Table Mountain, the Okavango Delta and Mt Kilimanjaro would make an appearance on most people's lists. But a certainty, and possibly even the most celebrated of all would have to be Victoria Falls and its surrounds, the world's most impressive waterfall and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Ian Michler describes them in this wonderful book.
Lying almost exactly central in the southern half of the continent and close to where four countries, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia meet, its convenient location adds to its accessibility, making it one of the most visited sites on the continent. It was Dr David Livingstone who in 1855 announced the presence of Victoria Falls to the outside world. Cecil John Rhodes, arriving decades later, made them accessible by building the first railway line from the south and then commissioning the bridge across the Zambezi River that still stands today. They both marvelled at what they saw. Since then, the site has attracted an ever-increasing number of visitors, supporting a substantial tourism industry in both Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia. Victoria Falls serves as a feature attraction for visitors travelling anywhere in Southern Africa. While the waterfall may be the highlight, the greater region has plenty of appealing sideshows. Upstream and downstream, the Zambezi offers a multitude of exciting options, and both Zambia and Zimbabwe have a choice of magnificent national parks and reserves. A mere 70 kilometres to the west, the Chobe River and the Chobe National Park in Botswana form the third sector of what is in effect a regional safari destination as rewarding as any. To those in doubt as to whether they should be travelling to Zimbabwe, the answer remains, 'Yes!' The country has gone through its bleakest period, brought on by a land reform programme that has nearly destroyed its political and economic fabric (see 'Land reform in Zimbabwe' below), but despite these upheavals, Zimbabwe remains a relatively safe place to travel. The land reform issues and the related incidents of violence have remained confined to the farms and amongst supporters of the government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. With resources stretched, personnel limited and stamina tested, those keeping the tourism industry going and the national parks and conservancies intact need all the support they can get. The government is simply not capable, or willing, to provide these services as they should. To travel to Zimbabwe today is not to support Mugabe's regime, but rather to ensure he does not destroy everything. Every tourist dollar counts in the effort. Although there has been a substantial loss of wildlife in some conservancies due to poaching associated with the land invasions, the national parks hove remained almost totally unaffected, with most still carrying large and healthy populations of wild animals. Zimbabwe has of course lost a substantial chunk of its tourism market, but while working under trying conditions, most tourism operators and facilities are still open for business. They have shown immense fortitude and resourcefulness in dealing with shortages and restrictions. If you are unsure about visiting, ask your travel advisor for a country update before you make your decision. Zimbabwe's loss has been Zambia's gain, as Livingstone, a mere 10 kilometres away on the opposite side of the river, has experienced something of a boom in its tourism fortunes. With Zambia as a whole already on an upward path since the country's first multiparty elections in 1991, the Zimbabwe crisis for many has not meant missing out on a visit to Victoria Falls. […]
This is an exceprt from the book: Victoria Falls & Surrounds, by Ian Michler.
Title: Victoria Falls & Surrounds
Author: Ian Michler
Series: The Insider's Guide
Publisher: Randomhouse Struik
Cape Town; South Africa 2007
ISBN 9781770073616 / ISBN 978-1-77007-361-6
Softcover, 21x25 cm, 160 pages, throughout colour photos
Michler, Ian im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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