Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - - click image to visit site

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

AfDB provides support for Batoka Hydroelectric project

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is advising on how funds can be secured for the construction of the 2,400MW Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Project to commence.
Public relations and communications manager at the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), Elizabeth Karonga, stated that the bank is advising the authority on raising funds for the project and it is likely that it will reach financial closure by the end of the year.
According to the Southern Times, Karonga said the engineering and legal assessments for the power plant were successfully carried out in 2016.
“The legal and financial advisory studies were completed end of July 2016. This also applies to the environmental and social impact assessment studies as well as the legal and financial advisory studies,” Karonga said.
Karonga said studies have shown that 6,000 jobs will be created once the construction of the Batoka Hydroelectric Project between Zambia and Zimbabwe commences.
The project is estimated to cost $4 billion. 
Media noted that the project has faced resistance from local communities, who felt that it had the potential of negatively impacting the Victoria Falls.
However, the chief executive officer of the ZRA, Munyaradzi Munodawafa, said feasibility studies undertaken on the site have allayed environmental fears to the Victoria Falls, which is upstream.
“The reservoir will be fully contained in the gorge, no resettlement is required for the dam, but may be required for the transmission aspects of the project,” said Munodawafa.

Batoka Gorge Hydro to hire experts to save falcon bird

BATOKA Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) has resolved to hire ornithologists to help conserve the Taita Falcon birds from extinction along the Zambezi River basin.

This was revealed last week by BGHES engineer, Christopher Chinsense, indicating that scientific environmental evidence has been carried out and proved that the avifauna birds existed, but was fast disappearing due to human activity in the Zambezi River.
He said the general decline in the population of Taita Falcon since 1995 has been attributed to flooding of reservoirs.
“Batoka Gorge area is listed under Important Bird Area (IBA) of the continental significance by Childes and Mundy 2001 based on the on the presence of breeding Taita Falcons (Falco fasciinucha), a threatened and range restricted species.
“And that being the case, we will have minor challenges, but mitigatory measures are being put in place. The Taita Falcon has been enlisted and the most delicate species and fast disappearing in the world and we have been strongly cautioned against being contributors of it disappearing,” he said.
“We have put up measures to implement the Taita Falcon monitoring programme and ornithologist specialists will be fully involved in experimental creation of artificial nestling facilities for these few birds on the dam wall and in the cliffs in suitable areas that do not jeopardise natural nestling habitat.”
The project’s chief executive, Munyaradzi Munodawafa said approximately two million jobs will be created during the seven-year construction period and priority will be given to locals sin the Zambezi River environs.
He added that international, regional and local contractors had since sent their application forms and vetting process was underway.
BGHES was proposed back 1992 by Zimbabwe and Zambia with a memorandum of agreement signed in 2012 to pave way for its development which is likely to begin next year at an estimated cost of $3 602 858.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Drunk man survives plunge into croc-infested Zambezi River

Nozwelo Hadebe, Chronicle Reporter

A 26-YEAR-OLD Victoria Falls man is lucky to be alive after he jumped into the infested Zambezi River in a suspected suicide attempt while in a drunken stupor.

An alert barman took a dive after Mr Tinashe Ronald Chigiya (26) of House Number 985 Aerodrome and rescued him.

Witnesses said he started hallucinating while claiming that his late brother was calling him into the water on Friday.

Police confirmed the incident which occurred at Zambezi House Restaurant and bar, located on the river bank.

Mr Chigiya was drinking beer with friends when he allegedly suddenly left the bar and headed for the river and jumped into the water.

Witnesses said he told his friend Mr Geneva Museka that he was seeing visions before heading for the river.

“He has Zambezi House barman Mr Themba Satsha to thank or rather blame for foiling the suicide mission, after the brave bartender timeously took a suicidal dive into the water and fished him out,” said a witness.

Police officer commanding Victoria Falls District Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona said Mr Chigiya was rushed to Victoria Falls District Hospital. He could not give more details.

“I can confirm that we received such a report and investigations are going on,” he said.
A police source said Mr Chigiya was attended to and discharged after being stabilised from intoxication.

A source narrated the incident: “Tinashe was drinking beer with friends at Zambezi House when he suddenly jumped into the water at around 1.00AM. An alert barman quickly dived into the water and pulled him out risking his own life in the crocodile and hippo infested river.”

Mr Chigiya was lucky not to be charged for attempting to kill himself as it was considered that he acted under the influence of alcohol, said a police source.

A fortnight ago, a drunken man lost an arm and sustained multiple fractures after he was attacked by three domesticated crocodiles when he jumped into their pool at a restaurant.

Mr Collin Peter Stewart Miller (21) from Lusaka, Zambia, was airlifted to South Africa following the attack at The Victoria Falls River Brewing Company. — @nonoe_hadebe

Source: 'Drunk’ man survives plunge into croc-infested Zambezi River (16/04/18)

Saturday, 14 April 2018

State to relocate villagers for Batoka power project

HUNDREDS of villagers living along the Zambezi River banks are likely to be displaced soon to pave way for the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) being initiated by Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This was revealed by Zambezi River Authority chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa during a tour of the project site on Wednesday.
Villagers who are most likely to be affected are from Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kamativi, Gokwe and Kwekwe, a 500km stretch.
“With that being the issue and in terms of land in Zimbabwe, we are not certain how much land we will be allocated, but we are going to have a major challenge. As you know that when you are developing a huge project the law says it should be 40km away from settlements. But now when we are envisaged to start our project there are villages that are 2km away, which means that if we are going to follow the 40km provisions, there is going to be massive removal of the villages to new settlements in both countries,” he said.
“Those affected are those living near our transmission lines. For instance, in Victoria Falls it will be people from Jambezi.”
Munodawafa said the environmental impact assessments were underway and that villagers will be compensated through provision of decent homes and grazing lands.
“What is going to happen to those villagers is we look at what each individual has. There is a threshold — the minimum for compensation, like if you almost have nothing we give you a three-roomed house with few amenities there, but if someone has put investment in it, we will put more or less equivalent to that. We need to conclude our feasibility study for the transmission lines and when it comes out it has to be done before the end of year.”
Situated 54km from Chidobe turn-off in Victoria Falls, the dam wall will be 181 metres long to allow water rafting activities to continue in the low flow season.
The project, commencing in the last quarter of next year and funded by the African Development Bank Fund, will see twin power stations built on either side of the Zambezi River, with all-weather access roads, residential housing and social amenities.
The expected annual energy production is 10,215 gigawatts.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Batoka Gorge power project construction to start next year

The long-awaited construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station is finally set to begin next year after Zambia and Zimbabwe secured funding partners for the massive plant, which is expected to produce 2.400 megawatts at its peak.  
Elizabeth Karonga, the public relations and communications manager for Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages the Zambezi water, said the African Development Bank is advising the authority on raising funds for the project and it is likely that it will reach financial closure by the end of the year. The project is estimated to cost US$4 billion.
Karonga said the engineering and legal assessments for the power plant were successfully carried out in 2016.
“The legal and financial advisory studies were completed end of July 2016. This also applies to the environmental and social impact assessment studies as well as the legal and financial advisory studies,” Karonga said.
Karonga said studies have shown that 6,000 jobs will be created once the construction of the Batoka Hydro Power Project between Zambia and Zimbabwe commences.
Several challenges had stalled the construction of the massive power project. Besides scouting for financial partners, the project had faced resistance from local communities, who felt that such a project has the potential of negatively impacting the Victoria Falls, a UNESCO world heritage site.
However, the chief executive officer of the Zambezi River Authority, Munyaradzi Munodawafa, said feasibility studies undertaken on the site have allayed environmental fears to the Victoria Falls, which is upstream.
“The reservoir will be fully contained in the gorge, no resettlement is required for the dam, but may be required for the transmission aspects of the project,” said Munodawafa.
Munodawafa said the 2,400-megawatt project would help ease the rising demand for electricity in Zambia and Zimbabwe. He expressed satisfaction over the project’s financial support, saying the interest from financers was huge.
A project overview document prepared by the ZRA states that plans for the development of a hydro-electric power scheme on the Zambezi River started way back in 1904.  
More extensive work with regards to a potential hydro-electric power scheme on the Zambezi River downstream of Victoria Falls began in 1972. However, when suitable sites for the development of such a scheme were investigated, and where, as part of this study, the Batoka Gorge, Devil’s Gorge and Mupata Gorge sites were specifically identified for further study. 
The 1972 study identified the Batoka Gorge as the most suitable site for a potential hydro-electric power scheme, although engineering and geological investigations were undertaken at the time identified a site some 12 kilometres downstream from the site now identified as the most suitable location for the proposed Batoka Gorge hydro-electric power development.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

New Luxurious Hotel for Victoria Falls

From early 2019, the new 19 all-suite establishment will offer a unique and nature-based travel experience for the global, high-end tourist, who seeks comfort and privacy to commune with nature.
Mati Nyazema, a Zimbabwean-born global tourism businesswoman, and the driving force behind Mbano, says the vision is to cater for the top-end of the international market with an upmarket and deluxe offering in Victoria Falls.
"The high-end clients visiting southern and east Africa are currently staying in suites at top hotels, and exclusive game lodges in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique and Tanzania. However, there is limited bespoke, quality product to complement their stay when visiting Victoria Falls (and therefore) we foresee meeting their needs with this new luxury offering," she said.
"We aim to cultivate and safeguard the unique, exclusive and bespoke nature of Mbano... to become the luxury destination of choice. We see a great opportunity to leverage the new-found optimism enjoyed by Zimbabwe following recent positive political and economic developments. Mbano... is ready to unleash the abundant luxury tourism opportunities (in the falls)," Nyazema said.

This comes amind reports that the global luxury hotels market continues to expand, characterised by high-end experiences.
Nyazema noted that Mbano was designed to embrace the latest trends such as responsible tourism, perceptive dining, a simple focus on rest and pronounced sleep experience.
The hotel boasts 18 luxurious standard suites and one presidential villa nestled "within the natural beauty of the surrounding teak forest".
"Nature took precedence in the design of Mbano hotel. Hence, buildings were carefully positioned to ensure minimal disruption of the original forest, dominated by large ancient teak trees," Nyazema said.
Givemore Chidzidzi, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operating officer, said the new boutique hotel's strategic positioning to the Zambezi National Park and at the edge of the Victoria Falls village "gave it the best of nature, and luxury comfort in one setting".
From the majestic falls, to superb safari offerings in Hwange, Mana Pools, the eastern Highlands and Great Zimbabwe monument, the country has so much on offer for the global traveller, he said.
"In Victoria Falls, Mbano's discerning guests will be able to enjoy many exciting activities... including river rafting and safaris, helicopter rides and a plethora of other adventures," Chidzidzi added.

The ZTA boss noted that tourism plays a critical role in the development of the Zimbabwean economy by luring foreign direct investment and the much-needed foreign currency, which results in job creation, improvement of the country's social and economic life or index.
Chidzidzi indicated that Harare had embarked on a review of the national tourism strategy to inform, harness and champion a more centrally focused development, and strategic growth path for the sector.
The new tourism strategy seeks to increase tourist arrivals to seven million from the current 2,4 million and boost sectoral earnings to $7 billion from $1 billion.
"The objectives of the NTSS are to ensure Zimbabwe increases its share of global tourism and convert it into tangible benefits for the economy. It is encouraging to see private initiative harnessing the opportunity and supporting our national tourism initiatives by development of new quality products such as Mbano..," the ZTA number two said.
With a classic chic design, defined by refined countryside architecture, abundant spaces and generous verandas from where to enjoy the rich nature of the setting, rates are expected to hover around $950 per person sharing per night and for suites with old-world comfort complemented by modern amenities, touches of nature and stone.
A cluster of large trees weave through the main building - reception, lounge and restaurant areas, and Mbano also has a curio shop for bespoke local artefacts.
The veranda style restaurant offers formal and informal dining under large trees, with a secluded swimming pool offering opportunities for a cool down in the year-round clement weather.
Each spacious standard suite features high rafters, open ceilings and large windows allowing natural light to flow in and providing a cool interior. The suites comprise a relaxing lounge area, a spacious bedroom, modern best-in-class bathroom, as well as a dressing room.
A generous veranda offers guests the opportunity to relax outdoors, while enjoying the beauty of the lush site and sounds of nature. The suites are equipped with modern essentials, such as air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The presidential villa is located in a private corner of the estate, and boasts its own gardens, plunge pool and individual access. A king-size bedroom is complemented by a separate lounge, a boardroom area with separate access, and a double-volume bathroom area featuring fine finishing and luxury couple amenities. A generous veranda borders three sides of the villa, and a discreet plunge pool allows guests to cool down in privacy.
A local and regional team of hotel and technical experts has worked tirelessly to bring Mbano to life, and deliver small yet great hotel experience. And nature is playing its part.
"At the Mbano site... we delight in daily sightings of wildlife - mostly during evenings - as they stroll past. In under three months of construction, four of the Big Five - lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard - have already paid a visit, curious about the new neighbours," Nyazema said.
Source: New Luxurious Hotel for Victoria Falls (12/04/18)

Images from the Mbano Manor website

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Batoka Power Project to create six thousand jobs

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says about six thousand jobs will be created once the construction of the Batoka Hydro Power Project between Zambia and Zimbabwe commences.
This came to light during a high-level meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on accelerating Africa’s growth and development that has been convened by AfDB to scrutinize the progress which it has made in facilitating the development of the continent.
The meeting is also evaluating the results achieved in AfDB supported programmes while at the same time examining plans to accelerate and scale-up programmes.
This is according to a press statement made available to ZANIS by Ministry of Finance, Public Relations Manager, Chileshe Kandeta in Lusaka today.
Mr. Kandeta said Under its High Five Initiative , the AfDB has identified Zambia as one of the beneficiaries from the USD758 million and integrate Africa programme, the USD59 million feed Africa Programme, and the USD2.5 billion quality of life improvement programme.
He said the Integrate Africa Programme is targeted at supporting the construction of a railway link between Angola and Zambia.
Mr. Kandeta stated that once constructed, the link will enhance trade and create an alternative route for Zambia’s exports from North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces.
He noted that the Integrate Africa Programme is also targeted at enhancing the supply capacity of the Southern Africa Power Pool by not only facilitating and galvanizing support for the Batoka Gorge Hydro Project, but also facilitating the completion of the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Power Interconnector.
And Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe has called on the African Development Bank to increase the capacity of implementation agencies in member countries in order to improve their resource absorption capacity.
The minister cited Zambia’s 19% annual absorption capacity of AfDB resources as a scenario in need of redress.
“This is to make sure that access to the benefits of development for the intended recipients are not delayed,” she said.
Meanwhile, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina said there is need to mobilise more resources in order to achieve the development targets of the bank through the High Five Initiative.
Dr. Adesina also announced that the AfDB will this year be organizing the first ever Africa Investment Forum in order to increase the international community’s attention on Africa’s growth potential and help channel resources to the continent.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Abseil Victoria Falls activity opens in Rainforest

Nqobile Sibanda in Victoria Falls

A NEWLY introduced tour activity, abseiling, has become a hit in Victoria Falls with scores of local tourists flocking to sample it to view the majestic waterfall during the just ended Easter holidays.
Abseiling, derived from a German word abseilen, which refers to a top rope down, resembles rock climbing where clients are controlled to descend using a rope.

New tour operator, Abseil Victoria Falls, introduced the activity on Saturday and immediately attracted scores of clients who got a chance to view the Victoria Falls from its base at the danger point.

All along tourists would view the waterfall from the top and now have an opportunity to descend to the boiling point at the bottom of the gorge and take pictures, thereby adding value to the tour of the falls. The company is operating from within the Rainforest thereby giving a double treat to tourists.
For most residents and tourists this will be the first time they are experiencing the activity, which costs $65 per person, although some operators once offered it some years back. Abseil Victoria Falls director Mr Comfort Chinengune explained how the new activity is done.

“We started the eco-friendly activity on Saturday and we are operating from right inside the Rainforest. It involves putting a client on a full body harness and helmet as well as being connected to three ropes for safety. The activity is eco-friendly and clients are assured of 100 percent safety,” he said.

The three safety lines include the main rope controlled by a jump master, safety line which the client can control and is used to pull a person up the cliff.

Clients can go as low as 100 metres down the gorge depending on the water levels. One will be accompanied by a guide who will be monitoring them and ready for rescue in the event of any mishap.

For those with cold feet who may not be comfortable to go down the gorge, Mr Chinengune said there was a ladder that would take them for only two metres for a photo shoot. The activity gives clients a rare treat as it is the only one where one can capture photos with the background of the rainbow.

“The guide is there as a whistle-blower in case anything happens but we want to assure our clients of 100 percent safety because we spent nine months researching on it. The three lines are manually powered and are anchored on a 12-tonne base from where the jump master will be controlling speed.

“One is able to take pictures and can request to stop regularly for a better view and to take selfies. The response has been overwhelming and is already the talk of the town because of its uniqueness,” said Mr Chinengune.

He said the “low” price was meant to cater for everyone. Those who go for the activity also have to pay entrance fees into the Rainforest to access the Abseil point. Locals pay $7 for adults and $4 for children to enter the Rainforest while international clients pay $20 for those from the region and $30 from other countries.

Mr Chinengune said they were planning on planting some trees around the site as he urged other tour operators to go green. He said the company was “here to stay” and hopes to contribute towards growth of the tourism sector. Lately, tourists would get to the bottom of the gorge near the Victoria Falls Bridge using some steps on the Zambian side.


Source: New tour activity a hit in Victoria Falls (04/04/18)

Website: Abseil Victoria Falls

Friday, 6 April 2018

Wild lions put Vic Falls under lock down

VICTORIA Falls residents and tourists have been urged to stay indoors, particularly, at night for security reasons, after prides of stray lions were recently spotted roaming in the resort town.

Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo said the lions were straying from the surrounding parks.
“We would like to advise our tourists visitors mainly to avoid walking nor cycling at night, be it in town. These lions are all over town and if one is not careful, there might be injury or loss of life. Residents too, must avoid walking at night,” he said.
“Victoria Falls is surrounded by parks and these lions migrate at night in search of prey, but our rangers are monitoring the situation.”
Prides of lions have been spotted in different areas of the resort town, posing a threat to the lives of residents and tourists.
Australian tourist, Stephen Fullard confirmed the development yesterday.
“We were cycling towards Elephant Hills Hotel yesterday at around 8:30pm and we saw four lions crossing the road. Luckily, a car flashed and it stopped for us and they ran away after the driver sounded the hooter. It is very unsafe, but we did not know, as we are visitors here,” he said.
Lions are often spotted at Elephant Hills turn-off, Mkhosana turn-off, Cresta Sprayview Hotel area and Victoria Falls Primary School turn-off along Kazungula Road, although no casualties have been reported so far.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Zambia, Zimbabwe to Start $4 Billion Batoka Gorge power plant construction in 2019

Zambia and Zimbabwe plan to start construction of a $4 billion power-plant complex that will supply both nations next year.
The African Development Bank is advising the Zambezi River Authority on raising funds for the Batoka Gorge power plant and it’s likely that it will reach financial close by the end of the year as planned, Zambezi River Authority Chief Executive Officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said in an interview Wednesday in Kariba, about 400 kilometers (249 miles) northwest of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
The 2,400-megawatt project will be located downstream from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River that straddles the two countries.
Batoka will help meet rising demand for electricity in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which is expected to more than double by 2035, according to EY, an adviser on the project.
The countries will operate separate power plants.
“The interest from financiers is huge,” Munodawafa said. “This is going to be one of the fastest-implemented projects in the region.”

Call for Vic Falls land-use re-zoning and relocation of industrial area

STAKEHOLDERS who attended a recent planning meeting towards implementation of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Victoria Falls have recommended re-zoning of the resort town.

If adopted the move would likely see the industrial site being relocated to the proposed Ndlovu Satellite Town as part of measures to de-congest the town.

ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke called for collaboration among stakeholders in coming up with a combined master plan for the country’s prime resort destination.

“We also want to zone the town. This is an exercise where we decide what type of activity and development or project goes where. I call upon you all to move fast towards the success of the project,” he said.

Participants said once adopted, the re-zoning of Victoria Falls will see some sectors especially in the industrial area being relocated to Ndlovu Satellite Town, which is set to be built about 40km outside the resort town.

The initiative is being discussed in the context of opening up space for development of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) model and maintaining a tourism friendly environment. The proposed Ndlovu Town is expected to help ease congestion in Victoria Falls.

Participants also recommended that in terms of employment opportunities, a quota be retained for locals and that tour operators should take responsibility of human-wildlife conflict issues, resettling of communities that will likely be moved, preservation of animal corridors and national heritage sites among others.

Other facilities would also be moved to a convention centre whose construction is on the cards near Victoria Falls International Airport. This week a taskforce will be set up to spearhead the programme.
The meeting drew representation from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, tour operators, the private sector and other Government departments. Its aim was to gather stakeholder input into the implementation of the SEZ concept in the resort town.

Source: Call for Vic Falls re-zoning (03/04/18)

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Drunk tourist loses arm in Victoria Falls captive-crocodile attack

A tourist from Zambia is fortunate to be alive following a crocodile attack Thursday evening in Victoria Falls after he had jumped into the crocodile pool.

The 21 year old Collin Miller who is suspected to have been under the influence of alcohol decided to be adventurous and took off his shirt before diving into a crocodile pool to swim.

The tourist lost his arm following the attack.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) public relations manager described the incident as unfortunate and urged all local and foreign tourists to always avoid taking unnecessary risks when dealing with animals.

Miller is said to have been in the country with the other family members for a wedding ceremony.

Reports indicate that the 21 year-old is now in a stable condition at an undisclosed South African health institution where he was flown to yesterday morning.

Source: Drunk tourist survives Victoria Falls crocodile attack (31/03/18)
See also: Man Reportedly Loses Arm While Swimming In Crocodile Pool In Victoria Falls (01/04/18)
Drunken tourist, 21, had his arm ripped off by three crocodiles who attacked him when he jumped into a pool on a night out - but miraculously escaped with his life, Daily Mail (04/04/18)

More information: A captive crocodile diving tourism interaction activity has been operating in Victoria Falls for several years under the name Crocodile Cage Diving Victoria Falls - see their website or facebook page for more information. The small man-made pool is located next to the Elephant's Walk Artists Village and home to three large female Nile Crocodiles, native to the local Zambezi River. The pool is protected by a high fence, but the recent opening of a backpackers nearby has perhaps increased late-night tourist activity in this part of town. The activity is sold and promoted by all the main tourism agents and operators in the Falls, along with other captive-animal interactions involving elephant rides and lion walks. The company website promotes their crocodile interactions on their website as an educational experience. "Crocodile Cage Diving attempts to address human-wildlife conflict in Victoria Falls by promoting biodiversity and appreciation of our natural heritage. Getting to interact with a Nile Crocodile is an educational experience. We aim to demystify the negative perceptions that many have about crocodiles and teach patrons about their vital role in the wild."

Images from the Crocodile Cage Diving Victoria Falls Facebook page.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Vic Falls threaten to take action against Legacy Hotels

VICTORIA Falls councillors have threatened to take action against two leading Legacy Hotels in Victoria Falls who owe the municipality nearly $200 000 in unpaid water and rates.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Monday, councillors said the municipality was being lenient on corporate entities that fail to service their debts yet ordinary ratepayers were being penalised for not paying.

Ward 8 Councillor Robson Salimi who was leading discussions on payment of water and rates, implored his counterparts to appeal to residents to pay their water bills and rates to avoid litigation.
“Fellow councillors, may we encourage residents to pay what they owe to council. Some paid for servicing of the refuse truck and there are some who are not paying at all. We don’t want to end up taking the litigation route,” he highlighted.

Ward 9 Clr Somveli Dlamini interjected.

“What is the situation with businesses? We are being lenient to them, we can’t be seen taking ordinary poor residents to court when there are big entities who aren’t paying. Let’s be seen first pressuring these businesses to honour their obligations,” he said.

The Cllrs demanded to know how much Elephant Hills and Kingdom Hotel owe the municipality as the two entities were not paying their dues.

Town Treasurer Mr Neville Ndlovu said Elephant Hills and Kingdom Hotel owe council close to $200 000. Mayor Cllr Sifiso Mpofu implored management to come up with strategies of dealing with the issue and other businesses that were not paying rates and other service charges.

This is not the first time Victoria Falls municipality and the same hotels have clashed over non-payment of bills and rates.
Three years ago, the municipality dragged The Kingdom Hotel, The Victoria Falls Hotel and Elephant Hills Hotel to court for failing to pay more than $380 000 in rates and water charges accrued over an unspecified period. Then Elephant Hills owed $166.457.51, The Victoria Falls Hotel ($125.676.32) while The Kingdom Hotel had a cumulative debt of $91.762.63.

The hotels had allegedly stopped paying following what they termed an unscrupulous hike in rates by the council at a time when hotel occupancy was low.

The issue was later settled when Legacy Hotel paid more than $200 000 to clear the debt.
Things almost went off hand when the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) ordered the municipality to reverse rates after tourism operators in the resort town complained that they were too high.

The Victoria Falls business community that is dominated by tour operators, hotels and lodges, had threatened to withdraw various charity work and developmental projects in the resort town after council hiked rates by more than 500 percent.

The local authority however argued that it acted within the confines of the law.

Source: Vic Falls threaten to take action against Legacy Hotels (29/03/18)

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Vic Falls resumes solar street lighting project

VICTORIA FALLS Municipality has resolved to resume its solar street-lighting project in May, following the promulgation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.

Town clerk, Ronnie Dube said 100 solar street lights will be installed at a cost of $250 000.
“We are guided by the new public regulation [Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act], which strictly suspended all the 2017 projects with effect from January 1, but we will resume in May or June. Our residents need to be patient. Our main priority areas are high-density suburbs, that is, Chinotimba and Mkhosana together with the central business district,” he said.
“Residents must understand that the solar street lights being put at CBZ stands belong to CBZ development project. We still have their street lights and theirs too will be installed soon, they must not think that we used their money to put those lights.
“In the near future, we want to go green completely as a town and we believe that will be a success along as people pay their bills and it will help us reduce tariffs charges.”
Another project, which had been put on hold, was the installation of pre-paid water meters.
Dube said residents owed council over $9 million, hence the decision to install pre-paid meters.
“It is an expensive project, but we have to do it because it is an inevitable technology that is there and it is going to assist us in our debt collection strategy and avoid ballooning debts, which is sitting at over $9 million,” he said. “Pre-paid meters will also help us to calculate and dictate non-revenue water leakage and be able to attend to it effectively,” he said.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Tourism geared to turn around Zimbabwe economy

Zimbabwe's tourism industry should soon turn around the economy through increased tourism activity at the country's tourism resort areas.

Zimbabwe's tourism industry activities aimed at turning around the economy have been necessitated by the humanitarian military intervention that unfolded from 14 November 2017 unveiling a new era in Zimbabwe. 

The military intervention in the country ushered in a new Government which ensured that Zimbabwe became open for Business. The new Government of Zimbabwe has since committed itself to honour its obligations in relation to business be it in the travel, trade and any related sector. 

During the preceding years, Zimbabwe had lagged behind in many areas as a result of the global isolation for the past 18 years due to the errors of the past.  The isolation left Zimbabwe's once-rich tourism sector in a sorry state. 

As a way of regaining its status, the tourism industry should regain and improve its 30% market share which the tourism industry used to receive from the overseas market in the 90s when tourism was at its peak. Currently this contribution has since dropped to less than 15% of the international arrivals into Zimbabwe mainly because of the negative image the former president Mr. R. Mugabe used to send abroad. 

Hitting the ground running during the first 100-days target, Government has committed itself to reversing the legislation constraining incoming business and easing the way of doing business. To promote investment from abroad in the tourism industry, risks that have been inhibiting investment to Zimbabwe such as the dense and inefficient bureaucracies, corruption particularly in the policing industry and infrastructural disinvestments shall be curbed by Government. 

Major barriers affecting the growth of tourism in Zimbabwe are being removed, one of them being the numerous roadblocks that had become a menace to foreign tourist and local traffic. Tourists should be left to enjoy their drive around the country as they used to do in the past. 

Government has also prioritised road maintenance of major roads most of which are receiving urgent attention. Government has also committed itself to address hindrances that inhibit travel within Zimbabwe to ensure tourists travel from the point of entry and exit conveniently. Some of the convenience being incorporated includes the ease of facilitation at the border posts and the liberalization of the visa regime. 

To date, Government has reviewed the visa regime with 29 countries upgraded from Category C to Category B which facilitates tourists to attain visas at the port of entry.

Government through these efforts has shown its readiness to welcome travellers to Zimbabwe and to promote the growth of the tourism industry.

Players in the tourism industry should utilise the numerous resources in the country that have the potential to become tourism attractions for the benefit of the nation through value addition and wealth creation. 

The country has well known tourism attractions which include Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders in the World. Zimbabwe has also been endowed with heritage sites and vast national parks which provide a relaxing experience to tourists. 

Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira has since been promoting the tourism industry abroad since she became the Minister. She has on record said Zimbabwe has been of late presenting varied opportunities in various sectors such as mining, agriculture, health, aviation, manufacturing, water and most importantly in the tourism industry. Opportunities have been unlocked in the Special Economic Zones and Trans-frontier Conservation Areas which will see the development of hotel and catering industry, safari and tour operations, gaming and construction of international conventions among other developments. 

To support the sustenance of the tourism industry, Government has also committed itself to offering tourism investment incentives such as duty exemptions and rebates on capital goods for tourism development zones as well as the provision of the tourism fund. 

With this in mind tourists should consider Zimbabwe as their next destination for investment and tourism business. They are welcome in Zimbabwe which remains also a peaceful nation. Tourists should be part of the transition to reposition Zimbabwe to its yesteryear glory. Zimbabwe has always been the favourable destination to visit, the tourist's destination of choice and also the favourable investment economy for investors.

Source: Tourism geared to turn around Zimbabwe economy (21/03/18)

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Mosquitoes, roaches wreak havoc at Vic Falls Hospital

MOSQUITOES and cockroaches have become an everyday menace for patients and nurses at Victoria Falls Hospital.

Several patients interviewed by Southern Eye said they were having sleepless nights because of the mosquito and cockroaches menace. Mothers said they had woken to see mosquito bites covering their babies’ faces and hands.
“The buzzing sound of mosquitoes keeps me awake. I normally cover myself with blankets to protect myself. It is too hot and they breed a lot,” one mother said.
“My baby’s ears and hands have red marks,” said another mother who refused to be named.
A just-discharged patient also complained about lack of mosquito repellents or mosquito nets at hospitals.
“Three days ago, I struggled to sleep at night in this referral hospital. How can I get well from malaria when mosquitoes bite me because of lack of hospital nets in the room? This is a pure paradox that there is no mosquito bed nets to support the sick in this clinic and cockroaches run up and down even in the toilets at night.”
Another parent, whose child was admitted, also complained about the lack of mosquito nets at the institution.
“Before we took her to Mpilo (Central Hospital) in Bulawayo, she had reacted badly and she had bites all over body. She kept scratching and I feared that she might suffer from malaria. Government needs to intervene. There is no medication, some windows are broken and the mosquitos are terrorising sick patients who can’t defend themselves,” Ndaba Ncube said.
Although he acknowledges the presence of mosquitoes at the hospital, district health practitioner Wisdom Kurauone suggested there was no serious problem at the hospital and said he did not believe that mosquito nets were necessary as it was the season for them to breed.
“There is nothing that we can do. Hwange district is known for its high temperatures and mosquitos and cockroaches breed during that time a lot. They [mosquitoes and coackroaches] are not only breeding in hospital, but their houses too,”
“They are just causing a nuisance and they cannot cause malaria . . . they won’t infect anyone with malaria.”
Source: Mosquitoes, roaches wreak havoc at Vic Falls Hospital (19/03/18)