Tuesday, June 25, 2024

UNESCO warns Victoria Falls could lose heritage status if hotel, golf course is built


The United Nations has informed the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe that Victoria Falls could lose its unique heritage status if a hotel, golf course and a power station is built at the site.

The projects that are threatening the status of the Vic Falls are the planned Batoka hydro power project and the Raddison Blu Livingstone Hotel and Golf Course financed by NAPSA.

The UNESCO team has also called for a halt to the building of the 300-bed hotel in Livingstone.

According to The Times, the plans by the two countries’ governments have concerned UNESCo officials, as the golf course could disrupt an established elephant corridor.

Victoria Falls is the world’s largest sheet of falling water, featuring unique rock structures, and earned its world heritage site status in 1989.

Victoria Falls

The Times states a UNESCO report, written after officials visited the site for five days, cites the “inconsistency in the use of precise boundaries and buffer zones” on plans published by the authorities in Lusaka and Harare.

A lack of full transparency about ambitious projects on either side of the Zambezi river which feeds the falls is fuelling local rumours of corruption, the paper adds.

Although both countries are under huge pressure to improve their citizens’ access to power, heritage officials said the proposal for a new hydroelectric dam “should not proceed as currently proposed”.

If development pressed ahead, the area’s special status “could be considered to be in danger in the near future”, the delegation said.

The proposals are part of Zimbabwe government’s ambitions to improve domestic energy production and build a tourism sector worth $5 billion by 2025.

An unusually punchy report for the next meeting of the world heritage committee warned that the southern African site is “facing increasing threats” from a number of developments inside the protected area.

The UN body has the mandate to carry periodic assessments.

Zambia National Commission Secretary General for UNESCO, Charles Ndakala, led the monitoring team.

Tanyaradzwa Mundoga, Zimbabwe Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry deputy director responsible for Natural Resources, said there is need to safeguard the natural habitat so as to keep Victoria Falls in its pristine state.

Tourism executive, Clement Mukwasi, who is Shearwater Adventures spokesperson, said the industry will be guided by the UNESCO findings.

Victoria Falls’ falling water blanket is about 1,7km wide and falls 108 metres down the gorge and is classified as the largest waterfall in the world.

The waterfall is within Victoria Falls National Park, which together with the Victoria Falls bridge, attract a significant number of tourists annually.

The Raddison Blu Livingstone Hotel almost complete
The Raddison Blu Livingstone Hotel almost complete

The Raddison Blu Livingstone Hotel almost complete
The Raddison Blu Livingstone Hotel almost complete


  1. UNESCO what has the title of “UNESCO world heritage site” benefited the average Zambian ever since it was endowed in us?? 1. That title has not put food on the table of Zambian citizens. 2. It’s interesting that the article mentions Shearwater’s involvement in the assessments. I stand corrected but isn’t Shearwater the foreign owned company runs a white water rafting in the gorges where the planned hydro electric dam is intended to be. We can not be struggling with electricity because of a few rubber boats selfishly benefiting a foreign owned company. 3. A US$5 billion tourism industry awaits us how BTW many jobs does that translate to??. I suggest they keep the title. 4. Will the falls stop being the falls because of a hotel and golf course?? No. The planned hydro station is…

  2. The planned hydro station is positioned further in the gorges. Zambia has been blessed and endowed with these natural features and they must be for the benefit of Zambians. UNESCO is better placed assessing the planned mining activities in Lower Zambezi

  3. Remember who is in power. Hh has shares in avani hotel. I can promise you he is an owner of these hotels they say they want to build. Hh only cares about his pockets.

    • Mmmmm how does Avani come in? The article refers to the new Radisson Blu that was built by NAPSA a quasi government institution in the last 3 or years or so. Who was president then?? Short legged lies,

    • Building started during your time in government. Why didn’t you stop it then when you had instruments on power?

  4. Clearly a ploy to kill competition for the Sun hotel which media coverage indicated is owned by a certain President. UNESCO heritage status will not put food or money in Zambian peoples mouths or pockets. These projects will directly benefit the country. As it is the Sun hotel is right by the falls, what harm has it done. Best future remedy is to repossess it as a suspected proceed of crime as is the usual fashion and hand it over to NAPSA to benefit Zambian pensioners.

  5. I think it is too late to stop the hotel. Why didnt UNESCO raise these issues before or it was the case of PF not listening to anyone?

  6. All these 5-star hotels being built in Livingstone where you as a local can not even go there and have a drink plus they keep fencing off public land …that’s what goal courses do and best viewing spots.


    • Have you even travelled to the Zim side and compared the infrastructure there ba Tikki. How does a hotel on land affect the water. Why the sudden interest on the Zed side. The reason Zim has those numbers is the fact that they have infrastructure. UNESCO has no issues with Sun Hotels Avani arrangements UNESCO has no issues with David Livingstone Hotel but NAPSA (Zambia) doing Radisson Blu is an issue. UNESCO gerrara here. Your interest is just in protecting Shearwater and it’s white water rafting NO bane we need that hydro electric plant Shearwater can go an invest in agriculture

  8. What nonsense. Batoka power station is completely invisible but a great source of non-fossil energy, they should give it a medal.

  9. …Impartiality and deviate from the Article, silence i have opted for. I feel NAPSA should be thinking of of taking such developement to Lumangwe Falls or any other Falls in our boundaries the Victoria Falls is over crowded maybe until a future date, some structures in the proximity of falls should be demolished lets us put up sky scarpers and modern buildings, we are capable of doing such” Jesse.

  10. The construction of the Batoka Hydroelectric Power Station WILL NOT affect the aesthetic value of the Victoria Falls. Environmental impact assessments, initiated by Zimbabwe, were conducted in 1990s (specifically in 1992) and reports are held by the Zambezi River Authority. The site of the proposed Batoka Dam is several km away downstream of the Victoria Falls. The rapid flow of the river along Batoka Gorge entails a steep gradient of the river which would result into the formation of a relatively small dam with its water body the same size to that of Stage 1 of Kafue Power Station. Hence UNESCO’s warnings are not supported by factual data.

  11. UNESCO, meaning “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”, was stablished in 1945 to interpret educational, scientific and cultural aspects of vital environments in many parts of the World. If UN staff possessed sound education and scientific attributes, they could have known the existence of ZEMA which permits and monitors the locations and construction of petrol stations, mines, hotels etc. Why did UNESCO fail to engage ZEMA when the construction of Ruddison Blu Hotel in Livingstone was initiated by NAPSA? UNESCO staff in Zambia are degrading the status of this UN body.

  12. They dont talk when these Boers who own raft boats externalise all their profits to smoke it or buy condoms in Apartheid and Xenophobic South Africa. These boers dont even employ locals but employ themselves only and pay peanuts to locals under racist conditions. Yet they want to come here with Heritage ,heritage, which heritage, UNESCO heritage is not Zambian heritage.

  13. Indeed one must clearly state the benefit of “heritage status” to the Zambian citizens in general and the local people in particular. This colonial mentality will only go away once us Africans wake up and stop electing sellouts as our leaders. Iguazu falls in Brazil has lifts to go down the clif to see the water fall near. If you do the same in Africa the colnial mentality shoots over the roof. This is very disheatening and disgusting. They will even tell you not to put lights there.

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