The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

Victoria Falls comprises of many wild and wonderful things, from the sprawling wilderness to the diverse wildlife population. However, poaching is a harsh reality, and if ignored, would cripple Africa’s eco-system.

While Victoria Falls may be home to a natural wonder, it is also the heritage and legacy for a community of people with indomitable strength. The Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit (VFAPU) have boots on the ground and eyes on the future. They are the unsung heroes of every game drive and safari in our National Parks areas, protecting the environment and its inhabitants for generations to come. Wild Horizons has been a proud supporter of VFAPU for 15 years, providing financial and operational aid to further their reach and impact. This meaningful partnership is rooted in a shared sense of purpose and appreciation for the remote wildlife areas that make Victoria Falls such a special, diverse space.

VFAPU comprises 15 high-performing scouts who are trained in the tracking and apprehension of poachers, many of whom pose a lethal threat not just to the animals, but the scouts themselves. It is a job that requires the utmost dedication as the days are long and the challenges daunting. Some patrols take place over several days, venturing deep into the National Park with the team covering up to 15km each day. Small details such as a footprint in the dust or trampled patch of grass can lead the scouts in the right direction. Their senses must remain on high alert for any small piece of evidence that might go unnoticed to the untrained eye.

When one thinks of wildlife poaching, images of poachers with high powered rifles may come to mind. However, this is just one approach. Snares are rudimentary pieces of wire fashioned into a loop, left (and often forgotten about) in areas of high animal traffic. They wrap around the neck or leg of an animal, and the more the animal tries to escape, the tighter the snare becomes. VFAPU have removed 22 500 snares from wildlife areas, saving as many lives in the process. To date, the scouts have rescued nearly 300 mammals who have been injured through poaching activities, all of which received veterinary attention and once recovered, were released back into the wild. A staggering 900 poachers have been apprehended, and the damage prevented through this alone is incomprehensible.

Funding remains one of the biggest challenges that VFAPU faces. Their invaluable work incurs massive costs and donations are vital to ensure the continued success of the organisation. Wild Horizons is a proud supporter of VFAPU, paying the salaries of three scouts each month and sponsoring the fund raising activities hosted by VFAPU.

By simply reading and sharing the work that VFAPU do, the call of the wild travels a little further. However, if you would like to donate to VFAPU, please visit their website at http://vfapu.com/donate/ where you can also discover more about their extensive projects. Financial help is always appreciated, but boots, green shirts, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, raincoats and medical supplies will also make a difference.

VFAPU started as a team of three dedicated individuals. Now, they have given a global community the power to transform knowledge to action. Because of them, future generations will walk in an elephants footsteps, hear the haunting whoop of a hyena, find shade beneath a tangle of trees and watch a sunset over the pristine Zambezi River. It has been an honour to be part of their journey, and Wild Horizons will continue to be a proud supporter of the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit for decades to come.

Zambezi River Report January 2020

Welcome to our first River Report of the new year, designed to give you regular updates on the Zambezi River levels and how this may impact various activities in Victoria Falls. We are happy to report the water levels are rising steadily and the following seasonal product changes should be noted.

 

Zambezi River Levels

The past few months have been a strife with alarmist reporting alleging that the Victoria Falls is drying up. Year after year, we see a natural fluctuation in the volume of water going over the waterfall; it is a normal and expected phenomenon that exposes a different yet equally beautiful perspective of this geological masterpiece. The only thing that has been unprecedented about the drop in water levels this year is the amount of negative media coverage it has received. As always, we remain at your disposal to dispel any queries or concerns.

 

Aerial view of Victoria Falls in January 2020

 

According to data captured by the Zambezi River Authority on 27 December 2019, 323 000 litres of water was going over the Victoria Falls per second. On the same date last year, this figure was 267 000 litres per second. To put this into perspective, we have drawn on Peter Jones’ example of the water supply to London and adapted it to accommodate the increase in water since his interview.

In a typical year, London uses around 30,092 litres of water per second.

Therefore, on 27 December, the 323, 000 litres of water going over the Victoria Falls could supply 10.7 cities the size of London.

High Water Rafting Season Begins

The high water run started on 10 January 2020 in line with the rising water levels of the Zambezi River. The expeditions will begin 10km downstream of the Falls, starting at the Overland Truck-eater (Rapid 11) through to The End (Rapid 24). This exciting section includes the Mother (Rapid 13) at its brooding best.

 

Hanging over Victoria Falls edge

 

Livingstone Island Update

Devil’s Pool will be closing shortly due to the rising water levels above the Victoria Falls.
However, Livingstone Island tours will remain open until the end of April/May. Angel’s Pool will close at a similar time to the Island.

 

Your Experts On The Ground

Wild Horizons endeavours to be your Victoria Falls experts on the ground and in some cases, from the sky too. Below is a series of aerial images taken on 7 January 2020. The video clip of Devil’s Cataract was taken on the same day. The water levels are on the rise and we look forward to sharing these beautiful views with our agents and guests when they visit Victoria Falls.
Please rest assured that even when the thunderous nature of the waterfall is somewhat tamed during the drier months, the Victoria Falls is a spectacular sight. It is, and always will be, a natural wonder.

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

 

Kind Regards,
The Wild Horizons Team

Victoria Falls Has Never Dried Up

The Internet Age has come with an overload of information that can lead to confusion and misrepresentation.

We are here to dispel that by making things measurable. Not only has the Victoria Falls never dried up but last year it was the highest it has been since 2010. Every year we chart the water levels in a graph using data provided by the Zambezi River Authority, who assess water levels through a hydrometric network comprising of thirteen stations.

As you can see, seasonally there are drop offs in the dry season and rises in the wet season, this is nothing new or concerning, it is a natural fluctuation. More so, apart from this year, the river level has been above the normal average for the past five years. Please be mindful of exaggerated stories and footage that has been censored and sensationalised. We are here on the ground and we are available to answer any questions or concerns.

We have wet seasons and we have dry seasons, but the Victoria Falls is magnificent in all her forms.
The river is currently on the rise and alarmist reporting only distorts a very normal phenomenon.
Victoria Falls

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