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Search Intensifies for Missing Australian Tourist Near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Published February 27, 2024
4 months ago

Authorities in Zimbabwe are escalating their efforts in the search for a 67-year-old Australian tourist who has been reported missing for over nine days in the vicinity of Victoria Falls, one of Africa's premiere natural wonders and a popular destination for international visitors.

The unnamed male tourist had been lodging at a luxury hotel approximately 3 kilometers from the entrance to Victoria Falls National Park. Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo revealed that the missing individual had last communicated his intention to visit the national park on February 17. Despite this, there has been no record of his entry at the park's access points, which is regularly monitored for reasons of accountability and security.

CCTV footage has been thoroughly examined, and no evidence of the missing Australian entering the park has been observed. The situation prompted Mr. Farawo to suggest that new avenues of investigation need to be considered, indicating a possibility that the tourist did not reach the rainforest surrounding the falls. While such disappearances are unusual at Victoria Falls, known for its spectacular plunge of water into a deep gorge below, creating a mist that is visible from miles away, park officials are not taking any chances.

On Friday, soon after the tourist was reported missing, Zimbabwe National Parks enlisted a specialized search team consisting of police, park rangers, sniffer dogs, professional trackers, and drones to scour the area. This multifaceted approach underlines the serious nature of the situation and the urgency with which authorities are treating the case.

Comparatively, this situation has a heightened level of concern compared to other instances of missing visitors in Zimbabwe's parks. A precedent for such incidents was set when a German tourist lost his way in Matusadona National Park last October and was found safe after three days.

The current search endeavors point towards a broader issue of tourist safety in wildlife areas. Victoria Falls, situated on the Zambezi River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of visitors annually. Incidents of tourists going missing are rare and are treated with utmost seriousness by the local authorities.

As the search continues, the community and other tourists in the vicinity remain on high alert, hoping for a safe resolution. Updates are anticipated as the investigation unfolds and the search teams continue their rigorous efforts to locate the missing Australian.


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