PICS: Victoria Falls at her most powerful
Victoria Falls is showing off again. Victoria Falls, located on the Zambezi River, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, has received steady flows in May.
Zambezi River Authority data shows Victoria Falls peaked on May 3 when 4 568 cubic metres of water per second tumbled over the world’s largest waterfall, four times more water than the 1 136 cubic metres per second on the same day last year.
The volume of the 2 574-kilometre-long Zambezi River, which begins in Zambia, before tumbling over the Batoka Gorge to form Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border, and eventually crossing Mozambique to empty into the Indian Ocean, is rain-fed.
It is normally full at the end of the rainy season in April and May, and at its lowest in October and November, before the rains begin. It also fluctuates greatly year to year.As many countries are in lockdown, the Victoria Falls rainforest remains closed in Zimbabwe. However, the Zambian side has re-opened.
Zambezi River Authority public relations and communications manager Elizabeth Karonga said the high-water levels were due to a significant increase in both rainfall and run-off in the catchment area upstream of Victoria Falls during the last rainfall season.This year the water levels at Victoria Falls have been well above average. The largest flows peaked at an incredible 9,436 cubic metres per second in 1958.
Karonga said: “With the rainfall activity upstream subsiding, there has been a reduction in Zambezi River flows, which has started to translate to reduced flows at the Victoria Falls, a trend which will continue until after the start of the next rainy season.
“The seasonal fluctuation of water levels at the Victoria Falls is dramatic, and it is not unheard of for there to be over 20 times the volume of water flowing in May compared to October or November of the same year.”