High blocks of stone, crossed by a trickle of water. At the foot of these blocks of stone, a deep canyon almost dry that betrays the drying of river Zambezi. On the site of Victoria Falls, tourist pride of southern Africa, the decor is not what it was a few months ago. A drought unprecedented for a century has gone well.
For the past six months, southern Africa has been hit by a drought that affects not only the tourism sector. As water levels have dropped, agriculture and electricity production have taken a serious toll in this region, particularly in Zimbabwe, Zambia and, to a lesser extent, South Africa.
If rivers are used to decline at this time of the year marked by the dry season, leaders note a more drastic situation than previous years, thus blaming climate change.
Data from the Zambezi River Authority show that water flow is at its lowest level since 1995 and well below the long-term average. Zambian President Edgar Lungu called it a « brutal reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment ».
However, climatologists remain cautious when it comes to discussing climate change, believing that seasonal variations may well explain the phenomenon. « If they become more frequent, then you can start saying, OK, it can be climate change, » said Harald Kling, a hydrologist and Zambezi river expert.
In the meantime, tourists and people living from tourism related to Victoria Falls are impatient and hope to see the site again in its best days.