As enjoyable as seeing wildlife around town is, we also need to be very cautious of these beasts and remind our tourists that they are not tame.
Victoria Falls town is built within a National Park – the land was handed over to the Town Council for the development of the village many years back by the Ministry of Environment but the fact remains that the town is smack bang inside one of the largest, wildest regions in Africa. The population of humans in the town has grown in recent years as tourism has developed and through the successful Anti-Poaching efforts, environmental education and the provision for Game corridors in the town’s planning, the wildlife numbers in the immediate vicinity of the town have also increased.
fast fact – There are more elephant in the KAZA Trans frontier region of Zambesia than any other region in Africa.
It is common to see a herd of elephant on the side of the road and sometimes an old Bull will stand in the middle and delay your attempts to pass. Impala and kudu, who have become tame, take time to move off the road when crossing in front of you. The baboon troops continue to raid the houses, hotels and commercial properties for their rubbish, keeping ahead of the latest trends in “baboon proof” bins and warthogs have become like permanent town lawn mowers. These animals have become habituated and feel very at home in the urban surrounds.
With the many animal interaction products available in Africa, many tourists may assume that if these animals are around town that they are tame and it is important for the local people and businesses to remind the tourists to take care when walking around the town, not to approach these animals to closely and certainly not to feed them.
The other day I was driving home in the late afternoon and saw a tourist walking between Elephant Hills and Azambezi River Lodge, he was striding out with ear phones on, brief case in hand and he walked past a small herd of elephant that were feeding on the side of the road. When I stopped to ask him if he would like a lift he took his ear phones out and shook his head. I think he was more afraid that I would attack or mug him than the he was concerned of the elephant. Fortunately for him these animals are pretty accepting of the human proximity, never the less we do need to make sure the tourists are aware of the potential dangers.
Driving at night around the Falls is a time to be extra cautious. Impala and Buffalo become dazzled by the lights of a car and their disorientation can cause them to leap into the road. Add to this the fact that the dark bodies of Elephant and Buffalo reflect little light, you need to be on the lookout for animals at all times. Earlier in 2017 a driver of a small car died when he drove into the rear of an elephant who promptly sat down on the bonnet and windscreen.
It is one of the magic things about the Victoria Falls – the national parks around the town have become increasingly productive for safari companies and it is no longer necessary to travel to Chobe in Botswana for a safari experience. The Zambezi national park right on the doorstep of Victoria Falls is 56 000 hectares of wilderness with a good road network. A short game drive into the river section of the park or the Chamabonda vlei section both within easy reach, will produce amazing wildlife experiences and a full day or even two or three nights at one of the Luxury camps will send you home fully charged.
Editor 5 VF24.com