An overgrown kite with a lawnmower motor. That is the essence of the vehicle I trusted to glide me over one of the world’s largest waterfalls, the croc-filled waters that feed it, and the sheer cliff faces that follow it.
“It looks like Da Vinci’s flying machine,” a friend observed.
Microlighting in Livingstone, Zambia, home to the mighty Victoria Falls, is for the serious adrenaline enthusiast.
As neighbouring Zimbabwe’s political situation has deteriorated, tourists have increasingly chosen to base their exploration of the falls across the border in Zambia. And though they may come for the falls, they are staying for the adventure sports based above, below and on top of the more than 1,700-metre-wide torrent of water. From gorge swings to microlight flights, Livingstone has become the new frontier for extreme travellers and nearly every adventure aims to provide a new perspective on the awe-inspiring landscape. Here is the wildest of the lot.
It may look like the aerial daydreams of some Renaissance master, but this motor-powered hang glider offers, literally, a bird’s eye view of Zambia. Your pilot hurtles the microlight down a bumpy dirt runway, easing upward over herds of elephants stomping through the bush, then glides along the Zambezi River toward the thundering mouth of Victoria Falls. Here you spiral downward, swooping through rainbows toward the mist, which sprays up as much as 2,600ft into the air. Then it is back up the river, gliding low to see hippos and crocodiles lazing along the banks before landing back on solid ground. One word of warning: because these tiny aircraft are extremely susceptible to wind currents, weather often causes flight cancellations. Your best bet is to book during the calmer early morning or late afternoon hours and avoid the rainy season between December and March. ($122 per person through Bushtracks. Most tourism companies operate in United States dollars.)
It is hard to truly wrap your head around the force of nearly 120 million gallons of water roaring every minute over Victoria Falls. That is, unless you take a similar plunge yourself. Your first option is a bungee jump off the bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe ($75). But you could also bungee jump at almost every carnival, tourist attraction and park in the world. Instead, we suggest taking a plunge on the world’s first gorge swing. You will free-fall 160ft, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph before swooping outward, swinging and soaring through the gorge. Book a full-day excursion, which includes breakfast, lunch, drinks and unlimited gorge swings, zip lining, and rappelling for only $100 (versus $60 for a single gorge swing through Africa Horizons).
Walk the falls
Just visiting the Zambian side of Victoria Falls is an extremely wet and wild experience. You can hike the marked paths alone but a guide ($17 per person through Bushtracks) offers context and a steady hand on the slick paths. You start at the top of the falls, watching the churning waters of the Zambezi and the curtain of mist that gave the falls its Zambian name,Mosi-oa-Tunya, or the Smoke that Thunders. Then pick your way down the side and along the gorge facing the falls. The spray gets so thick that you feel like you are in the middle of a monsoon. Single and double rainbows arc through the deluge, the sunlight refracting off the ever-present moisture. When the waters are at their highest, the downpour gives you the sensation of being suspended in the falls themselves, an unsettling feeling given the violent churning waters thundering below.
Flying above, hiking around and jumping near the falls are one thing. But to truly grasp their scale, you have to push yourself to the edge, literally. From the end of August to December, the waters of the Zambezi are low enough to reveal a small naturally-formed swimming pool at the top of the falls. Called the Devil’s Pool, this rock-enclosed lagoon allows you to safely float at the edge before the water takes a nearly 340ft swan dive into the gorges below. Swims are generally included in half-day tours of Livingstone Island, the small lush outcrop in the middle of the Zambezi from which explorer and local hero David Livingstone first viewed the falls (from $65 through Bushtracks).
LUSAKA (Reuters) – Africa must beware of "new colonialism" as China expands ties there and focus instead on partners able to help build productive capacity on the continent, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Clinton, asked in a television interview in Zambia on Saturday about China's rising influence on the continent, said Africans should be wary of friends who only deal with elites.
"We don't want to see a new colonialism in Africa," Clinton said in a television interview in Lusaka, the first stop on a five-day Africa tour.
"When people come to Africa to make investments, we want them to do well but also want them to do good," she said. "We don't want them to undermine good governance in Africa."
China pumped almost $10 billion in investment into Africa in 2009 and trade has taken off as Beijing buys oil and other raw materials to fuel its booming economy.
Clinton, appearing on the "Africa 360" program, called for long term "sustainable" investment that would benefit Africa.
"We saw that during colonial times it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave," she said.
Clinton pointed to U.S. efforts to improve political and economic governance in countries like Zambia as an example of a different approach.
"The United States is investing in the people of Zambia, not just the elites, and we are investing for the long run."
African states, she said, could learn much from Asia on how governments can help support economic growth but said she did not see Beijing as a political role model.
"We are beginning to see a lot of problems" in China that will intensify over the next 10 years, she said, pointing to friction over Chinese efforts to control the Internet as one example. "There are more lessons to learn from the United States and democracies," Clinton said.
Her trip, which also takes her to Tanzania and Ethiopia, is meant to highlight the Obama administration's drive to help African countries meet challenges ranging from HIV/AIDS to food security and speed up often impressive economic growth.
Have you ever noticed that your ears start to hurt after listening to your iPod for hours on end? It might have something to do with that nonstop hair-metal playlist you made, but it’s more likely due to “listener fatigue”—a phenomenon that Colorado researchers have been studying. They recently explained its cause—and solution—at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in London.
Here’s what happens, the researchers explained: Listening to music through small headphones seals your ear canals. Volume levels are significantly louder in sealed ear canals than they are in open canals, so your eardrums have to work extra hard to manage the volume. But ironically, that defense mechanism makes loud volumes seem softer than they really are, so you turn the volume up even more. That puts an even bigger strain on your eardrums, which is when you start feeling the fatigue.
The potential solution: A lens that looks like a tiny ear-sealing balloon. It latches on to the tip of an earbud, where the “sacrificial membrane” disrupts the high sound-pressure waves from the headphone speaker, protecting your eardrums in the process. (To see an in-depth video demonstration of the device, click here.)
“As a result, lower volumes sound much louder because you’re not triggering the ear’s protection and wearing out those muscles,” explains the research team’s leader Stephen Ambrose, a music industry veteran who was the first to develop in-ear headphones for musicians like Stevie Wonder. “Also, you’re protecting your hearing because when those muscles are fully engaged, they don’t do as good a job at catching the high volumes that they’re supposed to protect you from.”
Ambrose expects the device to hit stores in a month or two, and should be available in the $20-30 range. That’s a small price to pay to protect your ears: A 2006 study from the University of Colorado found that listening to music at full volume through an iPod for more than five minutes a day using Apple’s earbuds can increase your risk of hearing loss. To cut your risk, just lower the volume: The same study says you can safely listen to an iPod for 4.6 hours per day at 70 percent volume using Apple’s earbuds.
But here’s another way to prevent listener fatigue: Ditch earbuds altogether. The problems start when your ears get sealed shut, so the trick is to find a larger set of ‘phones that will keep your ear canals open, Ambrose says. Read The Best Earphones for Every Guy to score the perfect pair.
This list was compiled by the co-editor of the Fortean Times, a Journal of Strange Phenomena, a monthly British magazine.
1. Bees who pay their respects
Margaret Bell, who kept bees in Leintwardine, about 7 miles from her home in Ludlow, Shropshire (England), died in June 1994. Soon after her funeral, mourners were amazed to see hundreds of bees settle on the corner of the street opposite the house where she had lived for 26 years. The bees stayed for an hour before buzzing off over the rooftops. The local press ran a photograph of the bees hanging on the wall in a cluster.
2. Phantom Car Crash
On December 11, 2002, two motorists called police to report seeing a car veering off the A3 trunk road with headlights blazing at Burpham in Surrey. A thorough search uncovered a car concealed in dense undergrowth and the long-dead driver nearby. It turned out that the crash had actually happened five months earlier when the driver, Christopher Chandler, had been reported missing by his brother.
3. Enigmatic Earth Divot
Am irregular shaped hole, about 10ft by 7ft with 2ft vertical sides, was found on a remote farm near Grand Coulee, Washington State, in October 1984. It had not been there a month earlier. ‘Dribblings’ of earth and stones led to a three-ton grass-covered earth divot 75 ft away. It was almost as if the divot had been removed with a gigantic cookie cutter, except that roots dangled intact from the vertical side of both hold and slab. There were no clues such as vehicle tracks and an earthquake was thought very unlikely.
4. Balloon Buddies
Laura Buxton released a helium filled balloon during celebrations for her grandparents’ gold wedding anniversary in Blurton, Staffordshire, in June 2001. Attached to the balloon was her name and address and a note asking the finder to write back. Ten days later she received a reply. The balloon had been found by another Laura Buxton in the garden hedge of her home in Pewsey, Wiltshire, 140 miles away. Both Lauras were ages 10 and both had three year old black Labradors, a guinea pig, and a rabbit.
5. Hum Misty for Me
A noise a bit like amplifier feedback had been heard for three years coming from the right ear of a Welsh pony called Misty, according to the Vetinary Record (April 1995). It varied in intensity but stayed at a constant pitch of 7 kHz. Hearing a buzzing in one’s ears is called Subjective Tinnitus; much rarer is when others can also hear the noise. This is called Objective Tinnitus and the cause is still largely a matter of debate.
6. Whirlwind Children
A nine-year old Chinese girl was playing in Songjian near Shanghai, in July 1992 when she was carried off by a whirlwind and deposited unhurt in a treetop almost two miles away. According to a wire report from May 1986, a freak wind lifted up 13 children in the oasis of Hami in Western China and deposited them unharmed in sand dunes and scrub 12 miles away.
7. Riverside Mystery
Gloria Ramirez, 31, died of Kidney failure at Riverside General Hospital, California, in February 1994, after being rushed there with chest pains. Emergency room staff were felled by ‘fumes’ when a blood sample was taken. A strange oily sheen on the woman’s skin and unexplained white crystals in her blood were reported. A doctor suffered liver and lung damage, and bone necrosis. At least 23 other people were affected. One hypothesis was that Ramirez, who had had cervical cancer, had taken a cocktail of medicines that combined to make an insecticide (organophospate) but tests yielded no clue.
Shocker: Facebook Full of Narcissists! 0 A new study from Brigham Young University suggests that constantly updating your Facebook status means you’re more likely to have narcissist tendencies.
The study looked at 381 college-aged students at Brigham Young University and found that behavior like being a Facebook junkie, relentlessly updating your status, and revealing intimate thoughts and feelings online were associated with vulnerable narcissism. (Related from MensHealth.com: How Facebook Can Make You Miserable.)
See, there are two types of narcissists. Grandiose narcissists seek out admiration and have fantasies of success and power—and a hefty sense of entitlement. (Example: Kanye West.) Vulnerable narcissists, on the other hand, look for approval and validation from others to up their self-esteem. “Someone who wants validation will post on Facebook more frequently. They’re getting some type of self-esteem boost from people reacting to what they’re doing,” explains lead study author Bonnie Anne Boyd Huling, a BYU graduate student.
There was no correlation between Facebook use and grandiose narcissism, likely because people with delusions of grandeur aren’t satisfied with measly status updates, speculates Huling.
But don’t retire your profile just yet. “I don’t want people to think that just because you update your Facebook, you’re a narcissist,” says Huling. “It was a weak correlation. This wasn’t a cause-and effect study. We don’t know if narcissists are drawn to social media or if it brings out your narcissist behavior. But the tendency was there.”
Even though the study subjects were young male and female students at a religious university, Huling says the study results are applicable to everyone.
So before you brag on Facebook about the awesome sandwich you just scarfed at your desk, picture all of your “friends” in a room with you. Then imagine telling them what you’re about to post. Other tips: “I un-friend people I don’t want reading my status, or I send individual messages instead of bombarding the whole list,” says Huling.
Read more about How Facebook Has Changed Sex, and find out What Your Facebook Pic Says about You.
University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Stephen Simukanga has appealed for support towards the institution in order for it to stand as a centre of excellence in higher education.
Professor Simukanga said UNZA needs support in a number of areas, such as rehabilitation of laboratories and lecture rooms.
He said the university also needs support in staff development through scholarships.
Professor Simukanga said the university library is also an area of concern, apart from staff exchange programmes.
Professor Simukanga was speaking when United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -UNESCO-Director General Irina Bokova toured UNZA Monday afternoon.
And Ms Bokova says she is impressed with facilities at the institution, and stands ready to assist in any way possible.
The facilities on her familiarization tour included the Centre for Information and Communication Technology, as well as the University library.
Zambia: BoZ terminates Credit Suisse, six others stake in Finance Bank THE Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has terminated all shareholders’ interests in Finance Bank Zambia Limited (FBZ) including the 40 percent stake owned by Credit Suisse (Netherlands) B.V.
According to a Government gazette No 815 of 2010, posted on the BoZ website, the bank says the acquisition of 40 percent stake by Credit Suisse in FBZ, appears to be a lending transaction because of the underlying agreements that were not disclosed to the bank.
The central bank says among other things, the agreements guaranteed a return to Credit Suisse on the investment.
The gazette states that other shareholders apart from Credit Suisse Investment (Nederland) B.V whose contracts were terminated are Finsbury Investment Limited of Ndola, Clarkwell Limited of Tortilla and British Virgin Islands.
Others are Job Albert Samuel of Canada, Estate of the late Pat BwalyaPuta of Ndola and Patrick Chamunda.
“It is hereby notified for public information that the BoZ in exercising powers contained in section 81(i) (c)( i) and (ii) of the Banking and Financial Services Act (BSFA) CAP 387(“ BFASA”) did on the 10 th day of December, 2010 take possession of FBZ with effect from 16:00 hours.
“It is further notified that in exercise of the powers conferred upon the BoZ by section 84 A (g) of the BFSA, and pursuant to the Resolution and Order of the BoZ board passed on December 10, 2010, the bank did on the 22 December 2010 terminate with immediate effect the shareholder interest in FBZ of all and each of the listed shareholders,” it read in part.
And BoZ has started the process of evaluating firms that showed interest to acquire FBZ after the process of the bank’s sale began last month.
BoZ head of public relations Kanguya Mayondi said the public will soon be informed on the outcome after the evaluation process has been completed.
Zambia: VISA debit card usage in Zambia grows by 34% World leading electronic payment network VISA, has reported a 21 per cent growth of its payments volumes across the sub Saharan Africa for the year 2010.
The increase in the transaction volume followed a successful year for VISA terms extending its debit business in the region.
This is according to a statement by VISA and made available to ZNBC News in Lusaka on Monday.
VISA said the payment volume in Zambia grew on its debit cards by 34 per cent.
VISA believes that access to secure electronic payments through products such as debit cards is a vital first step towards financial inclusion and economic growth.
By DARLINGTON MWENDABAI
CENTRE for Global Dialogue (CGD) has urged Government to remove import duty on solar energy equipment to discourage over-dependence on charcoal and wood as domestic fuel.
CGD programme officer Phingiwe Shonga said the country should exploit alternative and renewable energy sources such as solar.
Ms Shonga said the challenge has been that most Zambians do not afford to buy solar equipment hence relying on charcoal and wood as alternatives.
She, however, said that such alternatives have adverse effects on the environment, especially in light of climate change.
“Dependence on charcoal and wood as fuel by some communities in Zambia is contributing to climate change. Government should intervene by reducing or removing import duty on solar products,” she said.
Ms Shonga said communities should be encouraged to participate in climate change mitigation initiatives adding that Government should also expedite rural electrification programmes as one way of reducing theses effects. Climate change includes heat waves, floods and drought, which have become a dominant feature in parts of Zambia.
“Environmental awareness must be encouraged on the dangers of uncontrolled and unattainable activities such as bush fires, charcoal burning, and unsustainable agricultural practices,” she said.
Ms Shonga said climate change causes land degradation, which undermines the soil’s capacity to store carbon, particularly for most Zambians who are engaged in farming.
“With the majority of Zambians depending on agriculture as a source of livelihood and income, a slight change in temperature can affect crops like maize with catastrophic consequence on lives of people,” she said.
Government decided to zero rate import duty on solar panels from 15 per cent as contained in the Customs and Excise (Amendment) Act No.4 of April 1999 to make solar power accessible.
Frederick Chiluba is trying to use force to collect rentals from properties he acquired using Tedworth Properties Inc, a company registered in Panama, which were seized by the state.
This is according to irritated tenants at Alberg Court, a block of flats on Addis Ababa drive in Lusaka which is owned by Tedworth Properties. The tenants, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was very annoying that Chiluba’s agents had now positioned themselves at the flats and were a nuisance.
One of the tenants phoned The Post on Saturday asking reporters to go and see Sonny Mulenga putting up signposts that he was now manager of the properties. The tenants also complained that they had received letters directing them to pay rent to Chiluba’s lawyers, Sunday Nkonde and Co.
“How can we be paying rent to Chiluba after everything we have read in the newspapers?” one of the tenants asked. “We know that Access Financial Service Limited is under Bank of Zambia and some of us are educated enough to understand that until we are notified by Bank of Zambia or Access Financial Service Limited, which is under Bank of Zambia, we cannot deal with anybody else. Imagine, these crooks are now interfering with us when we arrive home. Our visitors are being harassed. This is lawlessness,” the tenant said.