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Follow The River, Escape To Old Drift

Zambezi River Report

1 March 2021

The Zambezi River is rising at an exponential rate and here on the ground in Victoria Falls, there has been much speculation as to whether we might see a record high water level.

On the 1st of March 2021, the Zambezi River Level reached 1.85 meters at the Big Tree Hydrological Station in Victoria Falls.

There is currently 2 910 cubic meters of water flowing over the Victoria Falls PER SECOND, three times more than on the same date last year when 969 cubic meters cascaded over.

Further along, the Zambezi’s journey past Victoria Falls takes us to Lake Kariba, which has a surface area of 5000 square kilometres.

On the 28th of February, the Lake rose by 200mm in just 24 hours, a truly phenomenal amount considering the vastness of the Lake.

The highest level recorded over the last 20 years was in 2009 when the level was 2.63 on the 31st of March.

The three highest peaks over the last two decades have been:

13 March 2007: 2.34m

31 March 2009: 2.63m

5 May 2010: 2.45m

On the 5th of March, 2020, the river level peaked at 2.34 meters.

 

Zambezi river level March 2021

13 March 2007

31 March 2009

5 May 2010

Guess The Peak River Level For This Year And Win 1 Night For 2 At Old Drift Lodge!

Our curiosity is rising with the water and the Wild Horizons Team have been debating how high the river levels will get. We have decided to run a competition on our Facebook page, inviting our friends and followers to submit their guess-timate of how high the river might rise this year. The closest answer will win 1 night for 2 at the luxurious Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls!

*Terms & Conditions apply

private plunge pool seating area river view

Join the discussion and let us know what level YOU think the Zambezi will reach! The competition starts on Monday the 8th of March 2021 and in order to enter, you need to email your guess to jess@wildhorizons.co.zw before Sunday the 7th of March 2021.

A table of all the answers will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram Pages, as well as in this post. Every week we will post a photo of the Victoria Falls Hydrological Gauge so we can all track who might win.

You can not have the same guess as another entrant so keep an eye on the list to make sure you do not count yourself out! 

** The voucher is valid until 1 May 2022 and you can read our terms and conditions on the pinned post on our Facebook Page.

Submitted Estimates

Name

Ridwana Janar: 2.35m
Andrea Brown: 2.47m
Namatai Moyo: 3m
Nadine du Plessis: 2.82m
Charles Chakanya: 3.2m
Shamiso Chikarate: 2.85m
Leanne Murray: 2.54m
Claire Ballantyne: 2.58m
Shannon O’Fee: 2.45m
Tara Maidwell: 2.64m
Lynette Haynes: 3.1m
Ali Steiner: 2.71m
Clara Heddebaut: 2.43m
Rick Brown: 2.66m
Tania Moldenhauer: 2.89m
Luke Dancer: 2.46m
Jenny Holman: 3.3m
Patrick Manyika: 2.68m
Tejal Ranchad: 2.98m
Leanne Rouokunis: 2.5m
Laurel Haley: 2.87m
Philip Zajac: 2.99m
Paul Hely: 2.58m
Nicole Sanderson: 2.69m
Richard Tumner: 2.75m
Irma Hodgson: 2.67
Cecilia Hodgson: 2.79
Hazel Farie: 2.91
Wes Howe: 2.48
Bob Hindle: 2.81
Sarah Whitehead: 2.96
Lindi Hebbel: 2.85
Ernst Hebbel: 2.77
Owen Murphy: 3.3m

Name 

Valerie Muyumbo: 2.23m
Jaelle Rowland: 2.73m
Jules Thomas: 2.88m
Michael deBeer: 2.63m
Mette Knerr: 2.57m
Caroline Huntley-Walker: 2.83m
Gerald Van Rensberg: 2.83m
Fiona Mason: 3.4m
Mags Varley: 2.93m
Masola Bonani: 2.71m
Amanda Ncube: 1.98m
Liz Paterson: 2.15m
Thubalethu Ndlovu: 2.7m
Dumo Moyo: 2.82m
Daniel Jones: 2.56m
Allison Dwyer: 2.91m
Vince Manning: 2.88m
Melissa Gaza: 2.18m
Amanda Beverley: 2.72m
Fenny Chitengu: 2.28m
Angie Dimitis: 2.56m

The Happiness Reset: The Power of Negative Ions

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of emotional, physical and mental wellness during times of crisis. We crave places that will rejuvenate our hearts and minds, giving us the chance to rediscover the restorative healing power of nature. The Victoria Falls inspires a deep and natural sense of being. The empowering energy that charges through the rainforest can be explained by the presence of negative ions. These powerful molecules are the hydraulic equivalent of fireworks, explaining why we feel uplifted by thunderstorms and inspired by waterfalls. Visit our blog to discover more about The Positive Impact Of Negative Ions and how Victoria Falls can rejuvenate and inspire.

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Negative Ions Inspire Positive Vibes | Victoria Falls

The Positive Impact of Negative Ions: Your Wellness Safari In Victoria Falls

When you step into a raw, natural space, something shifts – emotionally, physically and mentally. Nature inspires a sense of empowerment and tranquillity, igniting an electrifying paradox of sensations. Anyone who has done a tour of the Victoria Falls rainforest will understand the intoxicating feeling, but not everyone understands what causes this euphoric state. Beyond the beauty of this Natural Wonder, there is something else at work here – negative ions.

Couple enjoying negative ions Victoria Falls rainforest

What is the Difference Between Positive and Negative Ions? 

Quite simply, positive ions have lost one or more electrons, whereas negative ions have gained electrons. Though we might assume that ‘positive’ is synonymous with ‘better’, the true meaning of these terms have collapsed into their connotations and can cause confusion. Negative ions produce biochemical reactions that increase serotonin levels. This helps to:

  • Alleviate depression
  • Relieve stress
  • Boost our daytime energy

Positive ions, on the other hand, have lost their electrical charge and the benefits that go with it.

Negative ions are created as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and moving air and water. This is why we feel uplifted by thunderstorms and inspired by waterfalls.

Woman surrounded by negative ions from Victoria Falls waterfall

Negative Ions Make You More Alert And Energetic

The environment in urban areas disrupts the delicate balance of ions. Artificial lighting and air conditioners deplete negative ions, causing people to feel lethargic and demotivated. Throughout lockdown, people have navigated the world from behind screens that bombard us with positive ions. A safari in Victoria Falls will influence your health measurably and positively. It is more than the roar of rushing water or the beauty of a rainbow on rainless afternoons – a safari in Victoria Falls is health generating as well as breathtaking. Now more than ever, we need to escape toxic environments for the healing power of nature.

Waterfalls and rapids are the hydraulic equivalents of fireworks. Whether you are rafting down white water rapids, or even swimming above the Victoria Falls in Devil’s Pool, negative ions will generate an increased flow of oxygen to the brain to make you more alert and energetic.

Get In Touch

Our products have a purpose. From community empowerment to conservation and culture, we create meaningful and enlightened travel experiences that enrich your experience while giving back to the legacies that make Victoria Falls so spectacular.

Get in touch to book your safari to Victoria Falls today and experience the abundant beauty Victoria Falls promises throughout the year.

Victoria Falls throughout the year

From the relentless waves of mist that shoot up from the depths of the gorge, to the rugged rock face that breaks through a gentler flow, the Victoria Falls is magnificent in all her forms. Cloaked in chaotic white water or revealing the basalt that has been moulded by the elements over centuries, the raw power of this natural wonder will consume your imagination and leave you humbled and in awe. This is Victoria Falls throughout the year.

 

January

The height of the rainy season and the Victoria Falls is reaching towards peak flow, with a massive volume of water cascading into the lips of the gorge. You will undoubtedly get drenched and the thick, green vegetation is decorated with bursts of colour as rainforest flowers bloom.

February

The Smoke that Thunders reaches amazing heights during February, joining the clouds that languish above the rainforest. Almost every section of the rainforest is caught in a constant shower of vapour that swells up from the bottom of the gorge.

March

The dramatic rainy season starts to teeter out but the river levels remain high and the Victoria Falls continues to furiously pump the Zambezi into the gorge.

April

It is the end of the rainy season, but catchment areas upstream in the Zambezi continue to nourish the Victoria Falls. The waterfall reaches its highest flow with an average of 500 million liters of water crashing over every minute. The highest ever recorded was 700 million liters in 1958.

May

Autumn settles in, casting golden hues onto the trees. While the leaves slowly fall, Zambezi continues a strong and steady flow despite the advent of the dry season.

 

June

As autumn gives way to a crisp winter, the water levels begin to drop exposing the grass cover, creating great game viewing opportunities.

 

July

In the absence of rain, the Mopane leaves take on their distinct winter hue of burnt orange. The waterfall still boasts an impressive flow of water, and due to the diminished water sources in the bush, game viewing is excellent as wildlife begin to congregate around the river and larger water sources. The bush may be dry but the Victoria Falls still creates rain on these cloudless days.

August

A chill creeps into the night, but the days remain warm. Gradually, the rock face emerges as the water trickles to a gentle ebb on the Eastern Cataract on the Zambian side of the waterfall. However, Main Falls maintains an impressive curtain of falling water, and as the mist dies down, photo opportunities within the rainforest are exceptional. As the seasons shift, more elephant migrate to the islands, which are the feeding ground in the drier months.

 

September

The temperatures start to climb and the days get hotter, but white water rafting is excellent this time of year due to the low water levels, so you can escape the heat and spend the day racing through the gorge on a white water adventure.

 

October

This is the hottest month of the year as we build up to the rainy season. Occasionally, the sky cracks open with in a torrential African thunderstorm bringing some relief to the landscape in a short, dramatic burst. The Eastern Cataract is usually dry this time of year, but the view of the Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side is as beautiful as ever.

 

November

The water levels are their lowest this time of the year, and while the thunderous roar of the waterfall has been tamed, the natural wonder still inspires a sense of awe and incredulity.

Victoria Falls in November

 

December

The rainy season is approaching, and storm clouds loom ominously over Victoria Falls. The cloud cover brings some respite from the hot and humid days, and the waterfall begins to rise rapidly with rains from catchment areas. By now the Eastern cataract will no longer be exposed and there is a sense of anticipation and excitement as the promise of rainfall rumbles overhead.

Victoria Falls in December

Carol Makuwire: ‘I am a pioneer’

“I am not just a boat captain responsible for my passengers. I am a pioneer, responsible for inspiring other women to break into the profession.” Her voice may be soft, but the message is clear and delivered without a tremor of nerves. Twenty-two-year-old Carol Makuwire is a valued ambassador for Wild Horizons, navigating unchartered waters as she strives to become the first female boat captain working on the Zambezi in Victoria Falls.

Carol joined the Wild Horizons team in 2017 as a trainee chef at the Lookout Café. To allow trainees to experience different sectors of the organisation, chefs will often work in the Café as well as on the cruise boats. Before her first sunset cruise was over, Carol had decided to step away from the kitchen and join the crew. Inspired by her profound appreciation of and connection to the natural world, Carol started studying for her guides license and Skippers license with the Inland Waters Ministry of Transport.

Understanding that boat captains charismatic personalities shape the guests experience , Carol began shadowing the Wild Horizons boat captains during her free time. The crew took Carol under their wing, and to help her grow in confidence, they encouraged Carol to perform part of the briefing on the cruises. “I was nervous at first”, she admits with an easy smile, “but I love working in nature and I love people, so with the support of the others I started looking forward to the talks”. Having achieved one milestone, Carol was ready for the next challenge. She sat her Skippers exam and became licensed.

Having chosen a challenging, male-dominated career path, Carol has not been immune to the glass ceiling, but she dismisses the occasional negativity. “People will sometimes tell me I am too small to be in charge of a big boat, and that I was better-suited training to be a chef”. Without a shred of bitterness, she shrugs off the comments and says with a knowing smile , “I am here, I am doing this, and if you are not going to be supportive, then I am not going to listen”.

While Carol works alongside her mentors, she continues her studies for her Professional Guides Licence with a sense of determination that reflects the joy she derives from following her heart. In celebrating strong women like Carol Makuwire, we not only validate her hard work but also hope to inspire other women to pursue their own dreams.

At Wild Horizons, a spirit of empowerment, passion and positivity emanates from within. The women in our company shape our vision to make a difference, and their fierce sense of strength and leadership weaves a golden thread throughout the organisation.

Keep an eye on our website for more blog posts about the many Wild Horizons Wonder Women.

Jameson Vic Falls Carnival 2016

Victoria Falls, a quaint town home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, was transformed into festival central over the New Year period. The atmosphere hummed with excitement, music from multiple genres filled the air and the streets teamed with brightly dressed party goers. Land Rovers wound across the busy roads, packed with adrenaline seekers as they made their way between the rafting excursions, gorge swings, helicopter rides, and various pool parties dotted around the town.

The 3-day event came to life on the edge of the mighty Zambezi River. Beneath the surface of the glistening ripples live countless fish, crocodile and hippo. Birds dip and dive among the indigenous green trees that proudly overlook this impressive body of water. It is the ideal location to mark the start of the three-day extravaganza. There is no better way to spend an afternoon than lazing by the banks of a slow flowing river, listening to the gentle background music of talented DJ’s, with a refreshing drink at hand. The moon eventually took its place in the sky, and in small groups, people returned to town and pay a visit to the vibey Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge and Mvu bar, where the festivities continued into the early hours of the following morning.

On day two the Jameson Vic Falls Carnival raced on at full steam ahead with the popular party train, which took off on the 30th. Hundreds of people made their way to what can only be described as Grand Celebration Station. Waving their luminous purple wrist bands in the air above their heads, people leapt aboard the ride of a lifetime. Hogwarts Express pales in comparison to the party train, which was equipped with bars, music and hundreds of enthusiastic passengers. The train made its way to Jafuta, where a stage and strobe lights awaited the train. The high-pitched whistle of the train could barely drown the sound of the powerful music pouring from the speakers at the front. The smell of frying burger wafted across the eastern end of the party, while the sound of ice clattering into cooler boxes sounded at the west, where people were served their drinks in the light of the setting sun. Local DJ’s transported the crowd on a musical journey that only ended once the final train was ready to make its final departure home at 1 o’clock in the morning.

It is hard to believe that this was just the warm-up so the main event.

Like children to the Pied Pipers tune, so the carnival troopers danced their way onto the field where the NYE party unfolded. Feet pounded the earth from dusk until dawn as music from Locnville, Sketchy Bongo, GoodLuck and many more artists engulfed the crowd. The various food stalls also got a fair amount of attention as the night wore on and the munchies kicked in. People were lured off the dance floor by the delicious aroma of frying burger patties, and returned revitalised and ready to party on. The lights emanating from the stage gave the carnival an almost surreal feel. The vibrant colours washed over the dancefloor and swirled across the stage, reaching high into the navy blue sky towards the millions of stars that watched the carnival below. During the countdown into the new year, a soft mist drifted down, refreshing the party so that they could carry on dancing into the eagerly anticipated new year.

The Jameson Vic Falls Carnival is as unique and special as the town in which it takes place. The earth’s natural beauty flourishes here and can be seen everywhere, whether you are strolling through the rainforest, hurtling through the rapids or plunging into African air at the edge of a bungee cord. There is a marriage between cultural diversity and musical talent that leaves listeners with new found musical taste. Everyone you meet at the carnival is excited, friendly and ready for an adventure. The elation doesn’t end from the moment you step into Victoria Falls, to the moment you say your wistful goodbyes to her. Wild Horizons are proud to be Co-sponsors of the Jameson Vic Falls  Carnival.

Zambezi River Water Levels November 2016

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So once again the brutal heat of November is upon us! As happens every year; we gasp in shock as the heat presses relentlessly down on us day after day from a painfully blue, cloudless sky. To those of us sweltering here, in Victoria Falls, it will probably not come as any surprise to hear that the Zambezi River water levels are at their lowest levels in 7 years. The river was last recorded at this level at this time of the year in 1997 and in 2000. As we gaze fruitlessly into the cloudless sky, it gives us time to ponder how this actually affects us here on the ground in Victoria Falls.

Sticking with tradition let’s start with the bad news first… it means the middle of the day is probably not a good time to be out and about sightseeing, or doing anything particularly strenuous. It means blowing a fair amount of one’s budget on sunscreen, a very large hat and as many bottles of the coldest water that you can buy. It also means a longer walk out of the gorge at the end of your raft trip!

However, let’s look at the good news that comes with these lower than usual water levels. With the river being 5 centimetres lower than the average over the past 7 years on the same day, it means that the rapids on the white water rafting trip are slightly bigger and the adrenaline rush just that much more intense! It also means that the sandbanks on the edge of the Zambezi are more prominent and therefore more likely to be host to crocodiles basking (or is that baking) in the sunshine. Over the past week, the river has been dropping an average of ½ a centimeter a day which is also an indicator that there is less surface water lying around in the bush adjacent to the river. This forces wildlife, often in large herds, to come down to the river to drink therefore affording guests on cruise boats and on game drives excellent game viewing opportunities. Large herds of animals moving through the dry bush on their way to the river and ‘dust devils’ stirred up by the hot wind cause an extra layer of dust in the atmosphere, thereby creating the most spectacular sunsets! Once the intense heat of the day has abated it is a perfect opportunity to slake your thirst with an ice cold drink and watch the African bush settle down for the night.

So while we wait in eager anticipation for the annual rains to reach us and change these almost unprecedented low water levels, let’s make the most of the opportunities afforded to us now and get out there while it lasts! Written by Libby White

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