Footsteps Through Time

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

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Vic Falls council embarks on stand repossession

THE Victoria Falls Town Council has embarked on a massive repossession of close to 200 residential and commercial stands under its jurisdiction that have not been developed in a specified period.
CHIEF REPORTER
The affected stands are in Moringa, Mukali, Mukanya and Nyakumbi shopping centres and the bulk of them are residential.
Current owners have been given up to May to rectify the issue.
According to a notice by the municipality, all undeveloped stands are going to be repossessed.
“Notice is hereby given that the Victoria Falls municipality is in the process of repossessing all undeveloped land within low-density residential, industrial and commercial areas of Victoria Falls township lands,” the municipality said in a notice yesterday.
Normally, local authorities as per their regulations, periodically repossess undeveloped stands if owners fail to develop them for two years, without paying any compensation.
However, Victoria Falls is understood to have a policy of repossessing undeveloped stands after six years in the case of high-density areas, three years in medium-density areas and two years in low-density areas.
Zimbabweans based in the Diaspora are reported to be sitting on undeveloped land in the resort town of Victoria Falls for speculative purposes while the resort town has run out of land for both housing and commercial development.
Late last year, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ordered all urban and rural councils to surrender houses and residential stands repossessed from aspiring home owners who failed to pay for them due to lack of money.
Chombo said councils which were run by the MDC formations from 2000 up to July last year, should have given residents at least 20 years to pay for the houses and residential stands.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Livingstone runs out of bed space

Source: Livingstone runs out of bed space (Zambia Daily Mail (21-04-14)

Several visitors who came from Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces without prior booking for bed space spent hours moving from one lodge to the next seeking accommodation while some crossed over to Zimbabwe.

Livingstone Tourism Association chairperson Alex Muntali confirmed the development in an interview, saying the association was overwhelmed by the huge number of visitors in the city.

“We are really overwhelmed and we wish things would be like this throughout the year. What is interesting is that a lot of the visitors that came are Zambians,” he said.

During the short holiday, the tourist capital was the centre of attraction for big gatherings such as the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) path-finders camp meeting that brought together 4,500 guests from over 10 southern African countries and 450 engineers that held their annual general meeting here.

The city was also a haven for Zambians of Asian origin that visited the city in large numbers to see the Victoria Falls and had meals along the Zambezi River, where they camped during the day.

Mr Muntali said there is potential for domestic tourism in Zambia, which should be tapped by the Zambia Tourist Board to bridge the dry spell of seven months of no business experienced by tour operators.

He said lack of accommodation experienced is a wake-up call for more investment in hotels and lodges. And Senior Chief Mukuni says the city experienced overwhelming response from the normal 40 percent occupancy levels in lodges and hotels to 100 percent.

“For countries such as Kenya and Ghana, the 100 percent occupancy is a normal trend. As a country, we should position ourselves to tap into the domestic market,” he said.

Chief Mukuni said this Easter holiday has beaten record of guests for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation gathering as those visitors were not holiday makers and were booked in selected hotels.

“At Mukuni Big Five, we had a lot of path-finders who came for the walk with the elephants, lions and cheetahs. It was good but at the end of the day both workers and the animals were very tired. This is a very large group,” he said.

Livingstone town clerk Vivian Chikoti, who had a problem on Sunday to secure a boat cruise for her visitors, said the city was alive with a lot of visitors sampling all the tourism attraction offered.

“The city is very busy with so many visitors, drying up bed space and the entire boats on the Zambezi River for the cruise are all fully booked. This is very good for the city and the people of Livingstone,” she said.

The local airlines flying into Livingstone were all fully booked forcing a lot of families to drive down into the tourist capital causing traffic jams during the period.

Source: Livingstone runs out of bed space (Zambia Daily Mail (21-04-14)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Park's Authority reminds tourists and residents of dangerous wild animals

Zimbabwe's National Park authority (ZimPArks) have been warning residents and tourists in Victoria Falls of the dangers of wild animals After a man was recently trampled to death by an elephant near the Masuwe Bridge, on the outskirts of Victoria Falls.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority confirmed the incident which occurred on Saturday the 12th of April 2014, adding that the victim comes from Lupinyu village under Chief Mvutu.

The authority's Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya-Moyo says parks officers notified the police after the incident, adding that the deceased sustained a broken leg and multiple body injuries.

Washaya-Moyo added that the Authority is carrying out awareness campaign programmes with communities and plans are underway to engage the Victoria Falls council to carry out combined awareness campaign programmes.

The authority urges the Victoria Falls community to report any sightings of elephant herds to either the nearest police or parks office and not to travel at night as well as avoid areas with thicket.

Source: Man killed by elephants, Bulawayo24 (14 April 2014).

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Victoria Falls man killed by elephants

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority confirmed the incident which occurred on Saturday the 12th of April 2014, adding that the victim comes from Lupinyu village under Chief Mvutu.
The authority’s Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya-Moyo says parks officers notified the police after the incident, adding that the deceased sustained a broken leg and multiple body injuries.
His body is at the Victoria Falls Hospital mortuary.
Washaya-Moyo added that the Authority is carrying out awareness campaign programmes with communities and plans are underway to engage the Victoria Falls council to carry out combined awareness campaign programmes.
The authority urges the Victoria Falls community to report any sightings of elephant herds to either the nearest police or parks office and not to travel at night as well as avoid areas with thicket.
Meanwhile, a 70 year old man was killed by a buffalo in the morning of the 13th of April.
Washaya-Moyo said information gathered shows the man from Kavula Village in Binga under Chief Kavula was trampled by a lone buffalo.
She said investigations reveal that the deceased and his wife went to their field about a kilometer from their homestead and upon reaching the field, they saw what they thought was a cow and the man attempted to drive it off the field.
The man only realised it was a buffalo when he was too close and the buffalo charged at him, gored him and he died on the spot.
His wife managed to escape and rushed to alert other villagers about the incident.
Hwange Main Camp has since deployed a team of rangers which is on the ground trying to locate the buffalo and is working with some details from CAMPFIRE.
Source: Victoria Falls man killed by elephants (1/04/14)

Monday, 14 April 2014

British firm wins Batoka impact assessment bid

A British consultancy has won the bid to carry out a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment on the proposed $3 billion Batoka Gorge Hydro Electricity Power Station project, a source familiar with the developments said on Thursday.

Britain’s Environmental Resources Management (ERM), which has operations in more than 40 countries, will carry out the assessment through its South African office, a Zambezi River Authority official told The Source.

The ZRA manages Zimbabwe and northern neighbour Zambia’s joint ownership of the project.

“ERM charged $1.4 million for the project,” said the source, following a recommendation by Project Steering Committee when it met two months ago in Livingstone, Zambia.

The committee is a joint Zimbabwe-Zambia team formed to spearhead the Batoka power project which will see the construction of two power stations with a combined capacity of 1600 megawatts to be shared equally between the two countries.

The British company is expected to complete the project in 12 months.

However, the official said the project could take longer because of the need for a resettlement action plan for the transmission lines which can only be completed after route surveys have been provided.

Source: British firm wins Batoka impact assessment bid - The Source (10/04/14)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Kariba concerns cause review of disaster plans

Source: IRIN
In early March engineers at a conference organized by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA, a Zambia-Zimbabwe organization which manages the Kariba Dam), warned that the 128-metre-high dam could collapse, threatening at least 3.5 million people especially in Mozambique and Malawi.
Years of erosion had made the foundations of the dam weaker, said engineers. "Anything is possible, so there is a need to act to avoid risk and minimize panic,” Modibo Traore, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) in Zimbabwe, told IRIN. The Kariba Dam holds one of the largest man-made expanses of water in the world.
ZRA says the “situation at the Kariba Dam wall is a cause for grave concern”, and “all urgency is expected in order to avert any such catastrophe as dam failure”. It acknowledged the need for major repairs.
Pawadyira said the CPU was in constant touch with the military, police and ZRA to map out an emergency plan to respond to early warnings of a disaster at Kariba. “We have inspected the dam wall and are making plans, particularly with the military, which would provide helicopters and rescue personnel, on how to evacuate and search for victims of a possible… flood", he said. They are also warning communities of the threat; and are in constant touch with the Zambian and Mozambican authorities with updates, he added.
In the event of a wall collapse, Pawadyira said the waters would move with “tremendous speed”, and reach an area about 150km away within seven hours, a likelihood, he said, that required “utmost readiness” as the waters could easily submerge villages, buildings and drown people downstream of the dam, in Zambia as well as Mozambique.
A collapse of the Kariba Dam, which generates hydro-power, would not only affect livelihoods of communities and commercial entities that depend on it for tourism and fish, but also electricity in southern Africa, Erich Bloch, a well-known Zimbabwean economist, pointed out.
A fundraising committee has been formed to look for money to reshape and stabilize the plunge pool at the bottom of the Kariba Dam to reduce further erosion at the base of the dam which could lead to its collapse, according to ZRA.
When the dam was constructed between 1954 and 1959, engineers estimated that the pool would stretch for a maximum 10km, but it has spread about 90km putting additional pressure on the dam wall.
A joint communiqué by Zimbabwean and Zambian energy ministers, who visited the Kariba Dam recently, said major repair works needing US$230 million would start in 2015 with financial support from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union.
Kariba Dam collapse fears and disaster preparedness in Zimbabwe, IRIN (9 April 2014)








Courts uphold stay of execution against mining in Lower Zambezi Natonal Park

The Lusaka High Court has upheld the stay of execution granted to six environmental organisations against Government’s decision to allow the opening of a mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park. This means that the Kangaluwi mining project will not commence until the final determination of the appeal to the court. The organisations are challenging the Government’s decision on grounds that it was wrong in law and fact because it posed a danger on many people’s lives.

Judge Mubanga Kondolo said that if he lifted the stay of execution which was granted to the organisations on February 18, 2014, their appeal against the Ministry of Mines, to allow the commencement of large scale mining in the national park would become nugatory and rendered academic.

Mr Justice Kondolo said there was no need for the organisations to specify or prove exactly how they were affected by the project as was argued by attorney general Mumba Malila because the consequences of damage could affect anyone. “I shall not pronounce myself on the rest of the arguments of the parties save to state that a damage to the environment is a matter of public concern and interest which affects all people born and unborn. For this reason I find that the appellants do not need to specify or prove exactly how they are affected by the subject project” Mr Justice Kondolo said

Mr Justice Kondolo further said that the stay of execution granted against the minister’s decision would not amount to an injunction against the State because it was not civil proceedings as contemplated by section 16 (2) of the State Proceedings Act.

Source: Anti-Mining in Lower Zambezi group gets victory against Government in Court - The Lusaka Times (7 April 2014)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Vic Falls hotels income up 20pct on increased tourists

VICTORIA FALLS, April 4 (The Source) – Major hotels in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s premier tourism resort, earned about $23.3 million from sales of nearly 178,000 rooms in 2013, as tourism showed signs of recovery and renewed British interest, an official has said.

The country’s profile, battered by years of a political and economic crisis, was boosted by hosting the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly, along with Zambia in August last year.

Ross Kennedy, a southern Africa director of the African Travel and Tourism Association said 2013 had been good for the eight hotels of Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, A’Zambezi Hotel, Ilala Lodge, The Kingdom, Sprayview Cresta and Elephant Hills Hotel.

“2013 showed an increase in arrivals of nearly 12 percent over the 2012 calendar year; but equally, if not more importantly, revenues grew by 20 percent in the same period,” Kennedy said, who is also the chief executive, of Africa Albida Tourism.

Kennedy said in 2012, the hotels earned $19.261 million from 159,000 rooms sold, adding that there has been a ‘remarkable’ growth from the UK market to Zimbabwe in the last 15 months, with arrivals trebling since 2012.

“The first two months of 2014, have seen the United Kingdom market continue to grow and it is now approximately 10 percent of total arrivals in Victoria Falls. We aim to grow this further to at least 20 percent of our arrivals,” he said.

Zimbabwe received nearly two million tourists last year and that number is seen rising by 50 percent by 2017, according to a recent report by a United Kingdom-based independent financial advisory company.

Source: Vic Falls hotels income up 20pct on increased tourists (04/04/14)