Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Friday, 31 December 2010

Rainforest Cafe at Victoria Falls receives UNESCO stamp of approval

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Gill Staden

(eTN) - The United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) has endorsed the Rainforest Cafe that was constructed at the entrance of the Victoria Falls rainforest, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr. Sylvester Maunganidze, has said. The development means that the World Heritage Status of the rainforest is not under threat from delisting.

Dr. Maunganidze said the endorsement of the restaurant follows a decision by UNESCO to send a secret mission into the country, which he said found nothing amiss at the facility.
The Rainforest Cafe has been closed for a month after the National Museums and Monuments (NMMZ) unilaterally took over control of the rainforest from the long-time managers, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA). At the same time, park rangers were also booted out of office. The two government entities are fighting each other for control of the entrance at one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which rakes in about US$7,000 daily, and the restaurant was caught in the crossfire.
In an interview at the resort town of Victoria Falls, Dr. Maunganidze said UNESCO convened a meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, to discuss the conservation program at Victoria Falls among other issues. He stated: “UNESCO had picked from the media that there were some fights around the restaurant with NMMZ claiming that the facility should not be there as it was in violation of UNESCO protocol and that it was disturbing the skyline of the falls.
“So out of that meeting, UNESCO sent a secret mission on Monday to see the restaurant, and the mission later reported that there was nothing amiss, adding that it was not interfering with the WHS.
“UNESCO also had never complained about the restaurant as some elements in the local and international media were claiming. UNESCO even quoted a local non-governmental organization that was raising the dust, and one wonders on whose behalf they were raising dust. In fact, UNESCO concluded that the restaurant was adding value to the falls.”
He added that UNESCO and his ministry had no qualms over the operation of the restaurant noting that a directive by Vice President Nkomo for the status quo of the facility to remain should be followed.
“My ministry gave the operator, Shearwater Adventures, a licence to operate and would see to it that they re-open soon. I am taking the matter up to Vice President Nkomo who gave a directive last month for the status quo to remain at the rainforest,” he said. Trouble started when NMMZ tried to control the Victoria Falls rainforest by elbowing out long-time managers, NPWMA. NMMZ also forced the Rainforest Cafe to close.
However, the government took a position that the management of the rainforest reverts to the parks authority. The battle to control the rainforest has been raging behind closed doors for more than a decade.
The area was declared a national monument in 1932 and a national park in 1957 before UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site in 1989.

Friday, 24 December 2010

UNESCO endorses Victoria falls rainforest restaurant

THE United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (Unesco) has endorsed the restaurant that was constructed at the entrance of the Victoria Falls rainforest (pictured), the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Sylvester Maunganidze, has said.The development means that the World Heritage Status of the rainforest is not under threat from delisting.
Dr Maunganidze said the endorsement of the restaurant follows a decision by Unesco to send a secret mission into the country on Monday which he said found nothing amiss at the facility.
The restaurant has been closed for a month after the National Museums and Monuments (NMMZ) unilaterally took over the control of the rainforest from the long time managers, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA).At the same time parks rangers were also booted out of office.
The two Government entities are fighting each other for control of the entrance at one of the Seven Wonders of the World which rakes in about US$7 000 daily and the restaurant was caught in the cross fire.
In an interview yesterday in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Dr Maunganidze said Unesco convened a meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, to discuss the conservation programme at Victoria Falls among other issues “Unesco had picked from the media that there were some fights around the restaurant with NMMZ claiming that the facility should not be there as it was in violation of Unesco protocol and that it was disturbing the skyline of the Falls.
“So out of that meeting, Unesco sent a secret mission on Monday to see the restaurant and the mission later reported that there was nothing amiss, adding that it was not interfering with the WHS.
“Unesco also had never complained about the restaurant as some elements in the local and international media were claiming,” he said.“Unesco even quoted a local non-governmental organisation that was raising the dust and one wonders on whose behalf they were raising dust. In fact, Unesco concluded that the restaurant was adding value to the Falls.”
He noted that Unesco and his ministry had no qualms over the operation of the restaurant noting that a directive by Vice President Nkomo for the status quo of the facility to remain should be followed.
“My ministry gave the operator Shearwater Adventures a licence to operate and would see to it that they re-open soon.“I am taking the matter up to Vice President Nkomo who gave a directive last month for the status quo to remain at the rainforest,” he said.Trouble started when NMMZ tried to control the Victoria Falls rainforest by elbowing out long-time managers NPWMA.NMMZ also forced the restaurant to close.
However, the Government took a position that the management of the rainforest reverts to the parks authority. The battle to control the rainforest has been raging behind closed doors for more than a decade.
The area was declared a national monument in 1932 and a national park in 1957 before Unesco designated it a World Heritage Site in 1989.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Multi-million dollar mall to be built in Vic Falls

A multi-million dollar "one stop" shopping mall is set to be built in Victoria Falls next year.



Plans for the construction of the upmarket mall are at an advanced stage.

Construction of Mosi-oa-Tunya Gateway Shopping Mall is expected to begin early next year.

The Bulawayo managing partner of Knight Frank Zimbabwe, Mr Oswald Nyakunika, said his company had been mandated to put together a balanced tenant mix that would reflect the exciting theme of the centre.

The marketing of the centre will be spearheaded and managed by Knight Frank.
Calwood Investments Private Limited is funding the project.

"A new development is going to take place in Victoria Falls. We are ready to take off anytime and we are just finalising details on anchor tenants. An impressively designed shopping mall, is targeted at the progressive retailer and discerning shopper to enjoy a world class African shopping experience.

"The developer is Calwood Investments and is very excited about the project which will transform and take shopping to a new level in Victoria Falls. The project has already been approved by all parties concerned," he said.

Murray and Roberts would undertake the construction of the project and the site for the construction has been identified.

"Murray and Roberts have extensive experience in delivering high quality and sustainable projects and would deliver this project within nine months of commissioning. Mosi-oa-Tunya Gateway Shopping Mall is appropriately located at the corner of Livingstone Way and Kazungula Road at the entrance to Victoria Falls town. The development will be highly visible and abutting these major roads from Kazungula, Bulawayo and the airport into town," Mr Nyakunika said.

The location of the shopping mall in a town characterised by the mighty thundery of the Victoria Falls would definitely boost the country's tourism industry.

The shopping mall would offer 36 shops ranging from 40 square metres to 1 800 square metres on ground and first floor.

Mr Nyakunika said the shopping mall could accommodate a full complement of shops such as pharmacies, banks, clothing stores, hardware and electrical appliance shops.

"The large anchor shop is approximately 1 800 square metres and can accommodate a large retail warehouse, a wholesale cash and carry, superstore or large supermarket whose catchment area is in excess of 100 kilometres, supporting the entire region of Victoria Falls and the nearby towns of Hwange and Lupane, as well as Livingstone in Zambia, Kasane in Botswana and Kazungula at the borders of Zambia, Botswana and Namibia," he said.

"The shopping mall's elegant design is characteristic to the preserved natural environment in which it is set. The open-air food courts, restaurants and courtyards, wide verandas and shop fronts create both a tasteful and an inviting experience.

"The developers of this prestigious project invite prospective tenants to indicate their interest and showcase their product and service offering to Knight Frank who are the appointed marketing agents," said Mr Nyakunika.

Source: Multi-million dollar mall to be built in Vic Falls (09/12/10)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Mall Development proposed


Developers of a shopping mall in Victoria Falls (pictured and the wildlife in the area) have invited businesses to forward their input into the building of the structure which they say would take shopping to a new level in Zimbabwe's premier resort town. The Mosi-oa-Tunya Gateway Shopping Mall, that will accommodate shops of all sizes, is being developed by Calwood Investments Private Limited, through their project managers, Knight Frank, who have invited prospective tenants to indicate their interest.

Knight Frank managing partner in Bulawayo, Oswald Nyakunika, said the shopping mall would be located at the intersection of Livingstone Way and Kazungula Road at the entrance to Victoria Falls town.

"The development will be highly visible and abutting these major roads from Kazungula, Bulawayo and the airport into town," Nyakunika said. He said with store sizes ranging from 40 square metres to 1 800 square metres, the shopping mall would accommodate a full complement of shops from pharmacies to banks, to restaurants, clothing stores, hardware and electrical appliances shops.

"Customers will also have access to curio and art wares, medical suites, tour operators and travel agents, as well as an Internet cafe," he said.The largest shop will be approximately 1 800 square metres and can accommodate a large retail warehouse, a wholesale cash and carry, superstore or large supermarket.The mall is expected to service Victoria Falls and the nearby towns of Hwange and Lupane, as well as Livingstone in Zambia, Kasane in Botswana and Kazungula at the borders of Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

The estate agent expert said amenities would include ample parking in a secure environment, tastefully designed street furniture, vendor stalls and shopping benches. "The shopping mall is expected to be a blue tooth and Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing patrons to be in touch with the centre events and surf the web free of charge," said Nyakunika. He said what makes the town attractive is that it is the centre of attraction in a vast tourist region that straddles across the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

"Victoria Falls has a local population of 65 000 inhabitants complemented by tourist arrivals estimated at 300 000 per year and forecast to reach 1 million per year by 2015," he said. The development by Calwood Investments is a giant step as the property market lumbers on a recovery path after a decade of struggling.

On the state of the property market in the country, Nyakunika said development had been affected by the liquidity crunch. "Even though development costs have stabilised there is a severe liquidity crisis and as such there are very few development projects going on. This huge development that we are undertaking is one of the few in the country," he said. Nyakunika said they were hoping to marry the staying power of the property market with the allure of the tourism sector.

Controversy over development near Victoria Falls

Environmentalists are complaining that the tour company Shearwater Adventures has violated national and international law by expanding their luxury resort into the rainforest near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Shearwater has constructed a new restaurant, bar, kitchen, and information center next to the public entrance to the World Heritage Site. A lawyer for Shearwater insists the development is a legal replacement of earlier structures that had fallen into disrepair and that none of the new buildings go outside the area already reserved for facilities. Opponents to the construction contend that the buildings are on a much larger scale than the previous ones and are forbidden by a 2007 moratorium. This was put in place after UNESCO threaten to rescind Victoria Falls’ World Heritage status after a local businessman tried to build a hotel and golf course in the World Heritage zone.

Without being on the ground it’s hard to say if who’s telling the truth here. Last week The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe ordered that no new construction take place. It is now running the site along with the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, which used to have sole authority. The government is currently trying to decide which body will run the Falls.

As this shakeup is going on, conservationists say Shearwater is planning a giant $6 million development next to the VIP entrance to the Falls. This will include a complex of buildings close enough to the Falls to threaten its World Heritage status. There’s also worry about the development’s location only a few yards from the Zambezi River.