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The Independent Online
Trouble spots around the world: this week, the Victoria Falls

"Victoria Falls is a truly spectacular sight, and has been a source of income for Zimbabwe and Zambia from the thousands of tourists who visit it each year. Unfortunately, yet another natural wonder has been corrupted by the greed of a developing nation - to the extent that many travellers can no longer afford to see it.

"A year ago, entrance to the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe border rose from US$5 to a whopping $20 as officials tried to take advantage of the influx of overseas travellers. This is in line with the great misconception ing developing countries that if you are a foreigner you must have buckets of money. The cost of the entrance to the Falls taints its beauty, and is poor value - $20 is a press on a backpacker's budget. Instead of bringing in more money for the country, the Zimbabwean officials are turning potential tourists away from both their country and their people.

"Fortunately, on the Zambian side they have been slow to catch on to the idea of exploiting tourists. You can cross the border and view the Falls from the Zambian side for a mere US$3. Although you don't see the postcard view of the Falls, in dry season you can swim in the Champagne Pools directly above the Falls - a spectacular experience."

Ian, Johannesburg

From `Travellers' Cafe', one of the features of Take Off!, the latest addition to the BBC's commercial on-line service beeb@the BBC. You can find it on the Internet at www.takeoff.beeb.com

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