VICTORIA FALLS – Tourists visiting Victoria Falls now have an option for night activities after authorities resolved to open the Rainforest and Zambezi National Park beyond 6PM.

All along game drives, boat cruises, rafting, tour of the Rainforest and other activities were done during the day closing at 6PM.

Now the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), who are the custodians of natural attractions, have with effect from Friday, September 21, extended closing time to 10PM.

Zimparks said four new activities have been introduced to “improve the visitors’ experience.”

“In its effort to provide diversity, Zimparks has introduced four new tourism products in the Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Parks. These include Rainforest night viewing, Livingstone Statue night bush dinners, Zambezi National Park night game drive and Zambezi River drive picnic,” Zimparks said in a statement.

“In bid to improve the visitors’ experience, we are pleased to inform you that the authority had adjusted the Rainforest opening and closing times with effect from September 21, 2018,” read the statement.

Zimparks have set the gate charges at $40 and $20 for adult and child international tourists. Previously, international visitors paid $20 to visit the Rainforest, whose main attraction is the world-famous waterfall.

Local adults will part with $10 per entry into the Rainforest while kids pay $5, up from $7 and $4 respectively, which is charged on day tourists.

The new development means extra costs for tour operators as they have to acquire a separate operating licence.

During summer, the Rainforest will be opening at 6AM for the day session and closing at 6PM while during winter opening time will be 6.30AM with closing at 6PM.

Bush dinner functions at David Livingstone’s Statue in the Rainforest will be provided to clients on request, added the wildlife authority.

Night game drives will be done in the Zambezi National Park, Chamabondo area.

Operators will have to apply for a separate game drive and guiding permit for the night activities.

It remains to be seen if the new development will entice visitors to spend more time in the resort town.

Victoria Falls residents last year petitioned the government advocating for retention of at least five percent of Rainforest gate charges.