We recently had a friend who took a trip over the almighty Victoria Falls in a microlight and would like to share her story with you.
I hadn’t done the helicopter ride over the Falls for many years and I had forgotten how good it is. I arrived on time just before 8 in the hazy morning and watched the micro lights. Then the helicopter was ready and I joined another couple to board. Headphones on, strapped in a seatbelt, the pilot, Kevin, took us into the air speeding across the ground. The first sight is the Zambezi River stretching across the length of the view. Gosh, it is big. We forget… And then we were over the Falls.
There was not much spray that morning; the river is rapidly going down with only a few streams of water coming over the Zambian side. The water was gushing down Devil’s Cataract on the Zimbabwe side and I could see clearly the difference in height of the lip of the Falls which makes the water head over the Zimbabwe side.
The water at Devil’s Cataract is slowly, oh so slowly, eroding the rock to make a new gorge … but it will be thousands of years before it happens, so nothing for us to be concerned about. According to information the Falls have taken 100,000 years to eat back the rock and make the gorges to where they are now … so, yes, we have a long time to wait before we see another gorge… what on earth will it be called? We can’t call it first gorge because that already exists … I noticed all the trucks queuing up on the Zimbabwe side of the border waiting to be processed through Customs… I really think that we should have another border away from the Victoria Falls. The border is so chaotic and is a blot on the landscape for our most famous treasure. Can you imagine how beautiful we could make the Victoria Falls Park on both sides of the river if we did away with the formalities of the border crossing? I don’t know how it could be done, but it is worth thinking about.
Should we blame Cecil Rhodes for placing the bridge where it is? No, of course not – it is as special as the Falls themselves.
What we need to do is to make another bridge over the river away from the Falls so that the trucks and non-tourist vehicles are diverted from the area.
Having flipped over the Falls for a while we headed back to Batoka Land and took a quick spin over the river and the Mosi-oa-Tunya Game Park. I noticed lots of elephant on Siloka Island; Kevin pointed out warthog, buffalo, impala in the park. All the animals looked like ants on the ground.
The bush was dry and we could see all the elephant damage to the trees. Now that the fence is going up around the park we are going to contain the elephants into a smaller area so, surely, we need to see how we can extend the park up into Dambwa Forest. The elephants are increasing in numbers every year and we love them but they do need lots of space…
We saw, too, the boma where the new animals are being held prior to be released into the park.
This is going to be a real treat to have a wider species range within the park. I don’t know what is there, but it can only be for the good. Now we just need to remove some of the impala and giraffe and replace them with others to increase the gene pool. Parks like the Mosi-Oa-Tunya Park, because they are so small, need to be carefully managed – the environment and the wildlife.
We are keeping the animals in a small area for the benefit of people so the environment needs to be kept healthy.
The wildlife cannot migrate from the park and find new mates so they too have to be managed.
Anyhow, I digress … Sadly we landed at the helipad and the ride was over. It was far too short… Thank you Batoka Sky.
Date: 19 August 2013