victoriafalls.jpgThe National Museums and Monuments has taken over the running of the Victoria Falls from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

 

 Acting Deputy Executive Director of the National Museums and Monuments, Mr Darlington Munyikwa says his department has taken control of the Victoria Falls and the surrounding area from the National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe following an outcry by environmentalists that the falls were under threat due to the construction of a restaurant in the highly ecologically sensitive core zone.

 

Mr Munyikwa said the construction of a restaurant within the core zone of the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site violates national, regional and international regulations under which a World Heritage Site is governed.

 

National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe in partnership with a private company, Shearwater, trading as Zambezi Helicopter Company have constructed a pole–and-thatch structure serving as a restaurant within the core zone of the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.

 

The original project was presented as an “upgrade to existing facilities” being the information centre, ablutions, merchandise and food and beverage amenities. 

 

This would have been acceptable within the laws and management plans governing the site. 

 

vic falls 01.09.10.jpgHowever, the developers constructed a new kitchen, restaurant and bar and converted the information centre into a merchandise outlet, thus violating international laws governing the management of Monuments and World Heritage Sites.

 

Victoria Falls was declared a National Monument in 1937, a Protected Area in 1952 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1989.

 

In 2007, Victoria Falls was under threat of being delisted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due to indiscriminate developments, lack of an integrated regional management plan, scattered helicopter operations and the location and management of the local dumpsite.