The UN has informed the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia that Victoria Falls could lose its unique heritage status if a golf course is built on the site.
According The temperaturethe governments of both countries have drawn up plans for lodges, a golf course and a hydroelectric dam, which have concerned Unesco officials because the golf course could disrupt an established elephant corridor.
Victoria Falls is the largest falling body of water in the world, with unique rock structures, and was granted World Heritage Site status in 1989.
The Times says a Unesco report, written after officials visited the site for five days, cites “inconsistency in the use of precise boundaries and buffer zones” in plans released by the authorities of Lusaka and Harare.
A lack of full transparency about ambitious projects on either side of the Zambezi River which feeds the falls is fueling local rumors of corruption, the newspaper adds.
The UNESCO team also called for the construction of a 300-bed hotel complex on the Zambian side to be halted.
If development continues, the area’s special status “may be considered endangered in the near future”, the delegation said.
The proposals are part of the Government of Zimbabwe’s ambitions to improve national energy production and build a tourism sector worth $5 billion by 2025.