WATCH: Gripping video shows Victoria Falls year-long highest and lowest water levels
In a year-long project, Ilala Lodge Hotel has released unique video footage of Victoria Falls, one of Seven Natural Wonders of the World, showcasing the highest and lowest water levels recorded in decades.
The hotel filmed a series of monthly sunrise videos over the 1.7km stretch of falling water as it ebbs and flows with the changing seasons of the year, from April 2019 until April 2020.
Heather Kay, general manager of Ilala Lodge Hotel, said the 12 month project began with the intention to capture the breathtaking spectacle of the sun rising over Victoria Falls in each month of the year and showcase the diversity of each season.
"As it transpired, we also videoed the lowest water levels, followed by the highest water levels since 2010. At the end of 2019, headlines and images across the world claimed Victoria Falls had dried up.
However, the Ilala Lodge Hotel monthly sunrise videos, in addition to data provided by the Zambezi River Authority, recorded continuous river flow during this period, despite being the lowest since 1995/6," said Kay.
The Zambezi River water levels began rising in November 2019, reaching an initial peak flow of 4 289 cubic metres per second on March 31, 2020, followed by a second peak of 4 358 cubic metres per second on April 27, 2020 – the highest recordings since 2009/10.
Zambezi River Authority public relations and communications manager Elizabeth Karonga said earlier this week that 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."
Victoria Falls remains closed to the public in Zimbabwe until further notice due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.