Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
VICTORIA Falls city centre is under a unique curfew imposed by a herd of elephants that roam the streets at night every day.
Residents who knock off after 7pm have encountered the jumbos on numerous occasions.
Those who reside in the nearby Low Density suburb and Rainbow Flats are forced to retreat indoors as early as 7pm as the presence of jumbos on the streets has become common.
The elephants, sometimes move around in groups of five and there are also some lone rangers.
Perimeter fences and pre-cast walls have been brought down, gardens and fruit trees destroyed as the elephants hunt for food.
There has been no attack on humans although some bulls have reportedly charged at some residents.
The jumbos announce their arrival by shaking and breaking mango tree branches to eat the fruits.
They usually emerge from a bush near Inyathi Safaris along Park Way and they move along the road past Rainbow Hotel gate towards the city centre.
Some Parliamentarians who attended the pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls recently tested the ‘mighty power’ of the jumbos as one bull temporarily barricaded Park Way near Rainbow Hotel as it slowly moved along the road towards town causing a traffic jam.
Residents are sometimes froced to use alternative longer routes to avoid the jumbos when they knock off from work after 7pm.
Mr Douglas Musiringofa who lives in Dale Crescent in Low Density said the elephants are permanent night visitors.
“It is now dangerous to walk along Dale Crescent at night as elephants from a bush near Baobab Primary School use this road.
The elephants have caused so much damage particularly to livelihoods as they have destroyed gardens. People had turned backyards into gardens but all has been destroyed. The elephants come almost every night,” said Mr Musiringofa.
The residents said the elephants were now an environmental hazard as they scavenge for food in rubbish bins littering the area.
They said during the day baboons were also a menace as they scavenge for food in the same bins.
Another resident Mr Enoch Dzambo who lives along Hobson Drive said besides elephants, they have a challenge with hippos.
“We now know that we can’t just go outdoors at night. They are now a permanent sight like it’s a game viewing zone.
Besides elephants we have two hippos that also come every night and leave in the morning. They will be browsing on the lawn outside and I think they pose more danger than elephants,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has reported that most human-wildlife conflict deaths are caused by hippos, elephants, crocodiles and lions.
Ms Alice Nzuza of Rainbow Flats said Zimparks rangers once patrolled the area and scared the elephants away but they keep coming back.
“It’s no longer safe to move about after 7pm especially around town or nearby suburbs. The elephants have destroyed all our vegetables and broken our perimeter fence. Mango trees have also been destroyed,” she said.
Another resident Mrs Sikhanyisiwe Mudimba added: “We are now scared of being outdoors at night especially after 7pm.
Most people no longer have gardens and that’s really a livelihood issue.”
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo yesterday said he was yet to receive a report on the problem animals in Victoria Falls.–@ncubeleon