Vast lakes, rich wetlands and breathtaking African sunsets contribute to Zambia's scenic splendour. A land blessed with 17 waterfalls including the spectacular Victoria Falls, the country attracts nature lovers and thrill seekers alike. The wild Zambezi River is perfect for adrenaline rush activities such as river rafting, canoeing safaris, river surfing and tiger fishing. Zambia is the land of the legendary African walking safari. Big game, abundant birdlife and raw, pulsating wilderness are what visitors can expect to find. The Zambian government has long recognized the economic importance of its wildernesses and is acutely aware of environmental concerns: almost one-third of the country is given over to national parks and game reserves. First colonized by the British South African Company in 1889, it was not until 1924, when the company ceded administrative control to the British Crown (whereupon it became the colony of Northern Rhodesia), that serious exploitation of the country's main natural resource, copper, began. Though this could have made Zambia one of the continent's richest countries, it is one of the world's poorest.