Zimbabwe has a self-proclaimed president, Robert Mugabe, who has, perhaps irreparably, mis-managed his country’s resources. Civil liberties and rights are wholly unprotected,
and his populace suffers accordingly.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations on charges of human rights abuses and of election tampering in 2002. The seizure of the white-owned commercial farms has led to
starvation on a wide scale, and if that is not enough, the UN has recently estimated that 34% of the population has HIV/AIDS, probably the highest in the world, compared to about 0.65% average in the world.
So why go there?
The answer is two words: Victoria Falls.
Photo: Victoria Gorge with bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe in far background (just over potted plant on right).
Everyone enjoys gazing on a waterfall. There is just something magical about each of these- the mist, the sound, the spectrum of color in the rainbows. And it does not matter whether you are in Hawaii, outside Montreal, or wherever. There are a few waterfalls, however, that are iconic in travel literature: Niagra Falls between the United States and Canada; Iguassa Falls between Brazil and Argentina; and, Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls was first reported out to the world in the 1860's, and one of the things that makes it so appealing is that it has suffered little commercialization or development from
that time to the present. This gives you the opportunity to see this World Heritage Site, without the tackiness that has all but consumed Niagra Falls. You can stand on the crest of the cliffs and no graffiti,
burger joint or pizza parlor will spoil your view.
The native people call this "Mosi-oa-Tunya" - the smoke that thunders. They are referring to the towering spray of water from the falls, and the noise it makes as water flows
over the top and crashes down into the gorge. It is awesome.
It is also inspiring. As you stand at the brink of the falls, you think to yourself, “G_D certainly did a fine piece of work here”, and you depart, humbled by the sheer size
and scope of the place.
Would you not go because of the political situation? I suppose that is something we’re better off not discussing...