Heavy haulage vehicles are officially off the streets of Victoria Falls as of today.
A decision by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to close the border to trucks carrying goods exceeding 16 tonnes is being hailed as a major win by the town’s operators.
The ZRA announced three weeks ago, in line a new statutory instrument, that both in-bound and out-bound trucks would no longer be processed at the popular border post.
Until now, the site has been clogged with heavy haulage vehicles crossing the historical Zimbabwe-Zambia boarder bridge, which at times created a back-up along the road that ran in front of the entrance to the Victoria Falls.
The change comes as the ZRA diverts trucks through the newly built Kazungula Bridge.
“This move is critical in terms of tidying up the entrance to one of the world’s most famous natural wonders,” said lodge operator AJ Benzon.
“Our guests need to experience the beauty and wonder of Victoria Falls from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave – heavy haulage trucks do not fit with that experience.”
Manager of 701 Victoria Falls said the move would help preserve the historic bridge on which the border post was currently located, and would drastically cut down on amount of noise and visual pollution for tourists in the town.
“Victoria Falls is a cash cow for tourism in this country, and it needs to be treated accordingly. We can’t have heavy haulage clogging up the streets and impacting the experience of our guests.
“It just makes so much sense.”
ZRA communications manager Topsy Sikalind, speaking to Business Weekly, said the trucks created congestion that was a challenge for border officials, who could not properly inspect vehicles because of limited space – an increasing challenge as trade volumes increase in the region.
He further said the move would reduce human-animal conflict and protect wildlife, a challenge as both Livingstone and Victoria Falls are located within national parks.
The ZRA clarified that grocery shopping, or product import and export will not be restricted. The border remains available to all hawkers, individual traders and tourists.
All products will still be allowed through so long as they are below the 16 tonne weight limit.