Victoria Falls Rainforest reopens after three month lockdown closure

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Matabeleland North Correspondent

THE iconic Rainforest in Victoria Falls has been reopened starting this Wednesday with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) setting new entry fees for locals.

The Rainforest, which is within the Victoria Falls National Park, has been closed since March due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown which saw all tourism activities and facilities going on total shutdown.

Since March, the Falls have been roaring in loneliness owing to the lockdown.

Government last week allowed Zimparks to open some national parks and other amenities, with restaurants also being allowed to open for sit-in clients, as partial opening on the tourism sector begins.

Since the end of June, there has been increased movement of people especially tourism workers and operators’ vehicles in Victoria Falls and Hwange towns as the sector begins to breathe a new life.

“Zimparks is proud to advice that the Rainforest and Zambezi National Park are now open to tourists from tomorrow 08/07/2020. Time 0630hrs to 1800hors,” Zimparks announced in a statement Tuesday.

However, the new conservation fees are likely to upset poor locals who feel they are too exorbitant.

Zimparks has set daily entry fees into the Rainforest at US$7 or $441 per person while clients will pay US$5 to enter Zambezi National Park or $315 per day per person.

When the facilities closed, locals were paying $30 while foreign currency fees were only for foreigners.

Conservation fees for educational tours have been pegged as $77 per child for pre-scholars, $86 each for those in primary school, while high scholars and tertiary students will pay 50 percent of the normal entry fees.

A school bus will be charged $637 and a trailer $192 entry fees.

Private vehicles entry fees into the game parks have been pegged at between $319 for small cars and $2 600 for buses and lorries with a capacity of more than 25 passengers.

Zambezi National Park, Mana Pools National Park and Hwange National Park are charged separately with small vehicles set to pay $510 instead of $319 to be paid on other game parks countrywide.

Fishing activities have also started with clients expected to pay fees equivalent to daily conservation fees applicable to other areas.