Zimbabwe: Gates to Vic Falls Closed

Gates to the iconic Victoria Falls have been closed to the public in line with the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

This has happened on the back of significant increase of water levels in recent days.

The Victoria Falls National Park, which harbours the riparian vegetation rainforest and the Falls, closed on Monday.

Visitors to the Victoria Falls Rainforest had drastically dropped to less than 10 per day from between 500 and 1 000 last week, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

At peak, the rainforest receives between 500 and 1 000 people per day and about 300 during off-peak.

ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said: "The Falls are closed for now, but we take pride in that place as our prime destination and as soon as we are out of this coronavirus challenge, we know people will start coming to see the Falls, hence the need to market our tourism."

Victoria Falls residents and players in the tourism industry are excited that the sound of nature is back as the deafening thunder can be heard as far as the Victoria Falls International Airport 20km away.

The rainforest now resembles a ghost town as the gates are closed.

Tourism players had implored Government to close the rainforest than to wait for it to self close.

"Closing the rainforest was a good idea as it will then help us strategically relaunch our activities," said tourism executive Mr Clement Mukwasi.

"Our authorities can use the reopening of the rainforest as relaunch for the industry.

"The rise in water will benefit activities such as kayaking, guided tour of the Falls, water rafting, canoeing and helicopter flights."

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls chapter chairperson Mr Anald Musonza said the Falls are roaring again.

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