Victoria Falls Community Come together to eradicate Lantana in the Rainforest

This past week volunteers from Victoria Falls community teamed up with National Parks to help rid the Rain Forest park of Lantana plants.

Lantana is a highly invasive shrub that can smother indigenous flora and reduce biodiversity. Its leaves can also be toxic to browsing animals.

The organiser behind the initiative, Charlie Hewat from Greenline Africa Trust told VictoriaFalls24 news that “the rainforest which grows in the lee of the spray of the falls is a fragile, unique ecosystem that we are determined to preserve and protect. The Lantana has taken hold in some parts of the park and is out-competing indigenous species.”

Around 50 local residents armed with pangas, hoes, picks and forks turned up Friday ready for the task at hand. Within three hours thousands of lantana bushes had been removed, up-ended by their roots so they won’t grow back. The timing was perfect with lantana presently in flower and hence easy to spot.

Lantana needs to be dug up by the roots to ensure it does not regrow.

National Parks commented that with no tourists, due to the travel bans, this was an opportune moment to get into the park and clean it up before tourists return. The hard work of volunteers was rewarded by a chance to behold the spectacular Victoria Falls which have been at their highest flow in over a decade this year. The park has been closed to the general public since March 30 due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Lantana removal initiative is part of a wider effort by the Victoria Falls tourism community to spruce up the town ready for tourists. As one tourism operator put it “we want to be a green town and we are determined to be the most beautiful little town in Africa.”

VF24 Editor – JH