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Animals in the Rainforest
Since 1950 the Victoria Falls Rainforest Park has been fenced but there are still some resident rainforest animals and a wealth of wildlife.
Upon entering the Victoria Falls Park, various pathways lead off in several directions. For many, the first port of call is the Livingstone Statue and Western View points, and as the visitor walks round to the Devil’s Cataract and Main Falls viewpoints, the path bends its way through increasingly thick vegetation and tall trees. Vines hang from the canopy and the atmosphere becomes humid and still within the shelter of the forest. This is the famed Victoria Falls Rainforest.
The Victoria Falls Park was first fenced in the 1950s, and whilst elephant were regular night-time trespassers into Park for many years after, the latest fence has proved an effective deterrent. One can well imagine elephants enjoying the cooling spray from the Falls and verdent vegetation during the long hot dry season, and the lush grazing and browse must have attracted many game species season after season for generations.
Animals in the Rainforest Today
Today many smaller mammal species are still found in the Park and rainforest. On your walk through the Falls Park you should see chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) and vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), which are common in the Park, and you may also encounter foraging groups of banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) and even warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), who burrow under the fence to get in. If you keep a sharp eye out you should find the Park's resident bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), enjoying the lush grazing.
Birds in the Rainforest
The birdlife will also catch your attention. Listen out for the strange calls of trumpeter hornbills (Bycanistes bucinator) echoing through the rainforest, their child-like cries often giving away their presence amongst the tree canopy. Also keep a sharp eye out for the amazingly colourful Schalow's Turaco (Tauraco schalowi), a large but secretive bird, predominantly green coloured but with a blaze of red feathers which show on the wing in flight. You may also spot small fast flying sunbirds, or ground feeding fire-finches and blue waxbills, among the many colourful and varied species found in the region.
Other Animals at Victoria Falls
The rainforest biome also includes amphibians, although the daytime visitor is unlikely to see any of these as they are largely nocturnal species, and also reptiles. Lizards, skinks and geckos will be found by the sharp-eyed, and snakes in particular are worth keeping an eye out for - especially as many species have poisonous venom bites - however they are very rarely encountered. The African python (Python natalensis), which can grow large enough to constrict and swallow small antelope such as bushbuck, have also been occasionally recorded in the Park over the years.
Other animals in the rainforest include a wealth of insect life here, from butterflies to beetles, too numerous and varied to name.
When visiting the Victoria Falls Park it is best to be prepared to get wet, and depending on the time of year, soaked to the skin. Early guides to the Victoria Falls recommended the wearing of a bathing costume under waterproofs, rather risqué advice considering the conservative fashions of the period. These days you will need waterproof bags for valuables, and, especially, cameras and other electrical gadgets.
The ground flora of the rainforest is a fragile ecosystem and sensitive to trampling. Please keep to the footpaths at all times when in the Park.
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