Footsteps Through Time

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

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Impala Car Rental opens branch in Victoria Falls

Leading car hire firm, Impala Car Rental, is spreading its wings and recently opened a new branch in Victoria Falls as the company continued to gain a foothold on the hospitality industry.
Last year the company went regional, setting up branches in Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa while mulling plans to open other branches in Cape Town (South Africa), Lusaka (Zambia) and Botswana.
Impala Car Rental sales executive Tatenda Innocent Matiashe said opening a branch in the resort town of Victoria Falls was necessitated by the rapidly growing tourism industry.
“As a leading car hire, we discovered that it was most convenient to open a branch in Victoria Falls so that we serve our customers, mainly tourists and other people who would be visiting the resort town,” Matiashe told The Standard Style on Friday.
He said Impala Car Rental, which is in its 11th year of existence, was gaining a foothold in the travel and tourism in the region.
“Impala Car Rental has opened offices in Johannesburg and Durban. We will soon open offices in Zambia before we set up another branch in Botswana. We want to be a force to reckon with in the travel and tourism sector in the region,” he said.
Two months ago, the company got a major boost on its fleet when it imported five top of the range SUVs Jeep Cherokee models with another batch of Toyota Hilux models having imported last week.
“We have bolstered our fleet in preparation for the elections. We are expecting another batch of 10 sedans in the coming few weeks,” he said.
Matiashe said the Victoria Falls branch would provide services similar to those offered in Harare.
“We would offer services such as car hire, chauffer services, wedding packages and airport transfers just like we do in other cities where our company is found,” he said.
Impala Car Rental was established in 2007 with the sole aim of providing transportation solutions for the traveling public in and around Zimbabwe. However, the company has incorporated wedding packages and airport transfers in its line of business.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Man who survived fall into Victoria Falls

FIVE years ago, Wang Shunxue made headlines in both local and international media after he slipped and fell into the Victoria Falls but survived... Mr Wang, who is from China, narrated his horrific experience through an interpreter.

In November 2013, Mr Wang, who was 44 years old at the time, was visiting Zambia to conduct a market research on investment opportunities. The Chinese businessman had heard about the investment opportunities in Zambia when former President Michael Sata visited China in 2013, then he decided to travel to Zambia and see for himself.

During his visit, a friend invited Mr Wang to Livingstone to see the Victoria Falls. He lodged at the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel... A day after arriving in Livingstone, Mr Wang with two of his friends, and the Italian woman, went to view the Victoria Falls.

When they got near the Knife-Edge Bridge, Mr Wang’s friend asked him to take a photo of them with the falls as the backdrop. The Knife-Edge Bridge is one of the vantage points on the Zambian side where visitors can have a good view of the eastern cataract and the main falls, as well as the boiling pot, where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge.

As he tried to take the shot, Mr Wang had not noticed that the guard rails behind him were broken. He slipped and plunged into one of the sections of the gorge...

Mr Wang said as he plunged down the gorge, he thought he was going to die, but he managed to grab some shrubs on the face of the cliff and rested his feet on a small stone to balance his body.

Two helicopters were called in to carry Mr Wang or his body from the gorge, but the rescuers could not see the stranded tourist from the sky.

“Soldiers and people who were at the scene started searching for my body. I could hear people calling out my name,” he said.

“I was now telling myself that as long as I’m alive, I have to survive. My friend went to look for help while some women at the scene knelt down to pray for me,” he said.

After hanging on the cliff for over an hour, Mr Wang was rescued by the fire brigade, who were helped by the state police. There was also help from workers from a company called Bundu Adventure, which conducts bungee jumping activities at the bridge.

Mr Wang said a man from Bundu Adventure went down the gorge using a rope and managed to put him into a harness.

“When I was rescued, people screamed, ‘hero! hero! God bless you.’

After the rescue, Mr Wang had a new perspective about life and God. He thinks God gave him a second life. He is also thankful to the people of Zambia.

“The Zambian people had given me a new life, and from then on, I decided to help 10,000 lives through provision of better medication before I die,” he said.

Mr Wang also decided that he would open a pharmaceutical plant in Zambia... His friend also promised to assist him achieve his business dream.

After the incident, Mr Wang decided not to inform his family members about his near-death experience, and he delayed his flight back home. His wife became anxious. When he arrived back in China, the first thing Mr Wang told his wife was that she was very lucky to hear his voice again.

Last March, Mr Wang’s dream was fulfilled. His pharmaceutical company, Kingphar, was opened by President Edgar Lungu. The plant is located in the Lusaka East Multi-Facility Economic Zone.
Mr Wang said all the equipment in the factory is high-tech imported from Japan, China, America and Australia.

Kingphar Company marks an important milestone in the local medical industry of Zambia, and it is also of great significance to the promotion of public health.

Currently, most of the essential medicine are imported from Asia, Europe and South Africa.
When in full operation, the Kingphar plant is expected to create more than 200 jobs and contribute more than US$6 million towards taxes per year.

Source: Man who survived fall into Victoria Falls (20/05/18)

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New Dispensation Real Boon for Tourism

Since the coming in of the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe, tourism receipts have dramatically increased and statistics from the Victoria Falls alone, can confirm, captains of the tourism industry have said.
Hotels in the Victoria Falls, it emerged, are now fully booked for September and October, which has not happened in recent years, as Zimbabwe continues to open for business.
In presentations made on the side lines of the Africa Indaba Travel and Tourism Expo, in Durban recently, Africa Albida tourism chief executive Mr Ross Kennedy, Rainbow Tourism Group chief executive Tendai Madzivanyika and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief Executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke, separately acknowledged to boon in tourism.
Mr Kennedy said there was a 48 percent increase in air traffic arrivals at the Victoria Falls International Airport from January to April compared to the same period last years.
"This is not just a percentage. The additional tourist arrivals via the airport are actually 17 680 from last year's figures.
"Although the Victoria Falls Bridge has not done the same in terms of compiling statistics, the border posts around Victoria Falls recorded a 30 percent increase which is 87 000 people in the same period.
"There are now 55 scheduled flights from Victoria Falls each week and if you ask me, what was there last year, you get nothing near half of that. Try and link this to the rest of the country and see the multiplying effect.
"Our industry is driven by perception. One man went to Davos (President Mnangagwa) and things changed. We export more to happen this year," he said.
In a separate presentation RTG chief executive Mr Madzivanyika, confirmed Mr Kennedy's story and said the new dispensation had really opened the fortunes of the industry.
"There is serious recognition of the efforts by the new Government by the international community due to the re-engagement efforts. Indeed the efforts are bearing fruits. In the quarter of this year alone, our hotel occupancy increased by 20 percent.
"Where is the world have you seen such phenomenal growth in four months? It can only be in Zimbabwe. We all now have hope. Hope makes you face up and the moment you face up, you are going forward," said Mr Madzivanyika.
ZTA CE Mr Karikoga Kaseke said he was worried by the capacity of the Victoria Falls to have enough rooms for a boom in tourism.
"There is a an tour operator exhibiting here who approached me yesterday to say he has failed to get accommodation in Victoria Falls for a group of 20 in September. The industry then told me it is full up to end of October. It is going to be worse.
"We must start working on our room capacity," he said.
Source: New Dispensation Real Boon for Tourism (15/05/18)

Baboon Mauls Baby

A Victoria Falls woman has told of her shock after she found a baboon mauling her one-year-old baby after it caught her playing with her sibling at home.
Jean Gama said she did not believe the girl would survive the vicious attack by the usually friendly primate a fortnight ago, which left her with huge scars on her head and face.
“My daughter was playing outside the house with her 12-year-old brother, while I prepared breakfast for them at around 9am,” she told The Standard.
“Suddenly I heard her scream like someone who was in severe pain.
“I rushed outside and found the baboon had sunk its teeth on her scalp and face.
“I hit it with a huge stone and that’s when it finally loosened its grip on her before fleeing.
"Apparently the baboon wanted to take away my daughter’s doll. The baboon’s teeth penetrated her skull and I don’t know what it means for her health as she grows up."
Gama sought treatment for her daughter in Zambia because there was no medication at health centres in the resort town.
The doctors gave the child several injections of antibiotics to prevent any infections. However, the doctors said her scars would take some time to heal.
“When we took her to hospital she was bleeding profusely and was unconscious,” Gama said.
“At the hospital there was another woman whose son had also been bitten by a baboon.”
Chinotimba residents said baboons had become a menace in their neighbourhood as they broke their windows and doors in search of food.
The baboons also attack women and children, but the mauling of the baby was the most violent incident in recent years.
Other areas where baboons invade people’s homes are Aerodrome, Bongoland and the central business district.
“We keep our windows and doors closed all the time because of the marauding baboons,” said Reuben Dube, a Chinotimba resident.

“They take away anything they find in the house and we no longer have gardens because they destroy our crops.
“We have made several reports to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) but they don’t respond.”
Dube said parents now accompany their children to and from school on a daily basis out of fear of attack by the baboons.
However, Zimparks blamed the influx of baboons in residential areas on residents that give them food.
“They must not be given food or anything,” Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said.
“There is nothing much that we can do because they will be moving in their corridors. Residents must take safety measures while we do our part.”
Source: Baboon Mauls Baby (15/5/18)

Friday, 11 May 2018

Victoria Falls council considers imposing tourism levy; govt condemns move

VICTORIA Falls Municipality is planning to introduce a tourism levy where tour operators will be expected to pay $1 for each visitor booking with them either for accommodation or activities in the resort town.
Town Clerk Ronnie Dube said funds raised through the tax would be used for infrastructure development.
However, tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said it was folly for council to demand a levy from tour operators who are already paying rates.
“The tourism levy is for development and not for cleaning,” she said.
“Operators pay rates to council and we can’t have them paying an extra charge.
“The local authority is mandated by government to develop infrastructure which is why they collect rates, even from the same operators they want to charge.”
This is not the first time the local authority has made the proposal. In 2013 the municipality proposed charging a levy on tourists visiting the rainforest to raise revenue for infrastructure development in the resort town.
Meanwhile, Victoria Falls residents have been calling for free entry into Rainforest, saying they cannot afford to pay $7 entry fees for locals.
The complaint has been at various platforms where residents have argued that they were not benefitting from the resource yet it’s their God-given wonder.
Minister Mupfumira said government is considering allowing locals free access into the Rainforest as a way of promoting domestic tourism.
“I support the idea and agree with locals,” she said.
“People living in Victoria Falls must have a chance to visit the Rainforest freely or pay a small fee because this is their resource.”

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Croc attack couple opens up

A WOMAN who lost an arm in a crocodile attack in the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls five days before her wedding has revealed how, before the horrific incident, her only worry was decorating the wedding venue and other associated preparations for their nuptials.

Speaking for the first time in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle in Bulawayo yesterday, Mrs Zanele Ndlovu-Fox and her husband Mr Jamie Fox said their love was enough to overcome the tragedy.

The beautiful story of the two, whose love got an acid test a few days before their wedding, has attracted international media attention as they are living proof that love conquers all.

Mrs Ndlovu-Fox was attacked by a crocodile while she was canoeing in the mighty Zambezi River with her then fiancĂ©’s family.

The surprisingly cheerful Mrs Ndlovu-Fox animatedly described how her husband risked his life to literally snatch her back from the jaws of the crocodile.

“We were canoeing in the upper Zambezi using those inflated rafts. The waters were very calm, we had guides and there were about seven canoes in the water,” she said glancing lovingly at her husband who was massaging her feet that were draped on him on the balcony of the Catholic-run Mater Dei hospital.

“The crocodile just jumped out of the water and bit a chunk of my arm together with the side of the boat”.

The couple said guides had told them crocodiles were rare in that part of the river.

“The canoe started deflating and it all happened so fast. The crocodile bit me again and pulled me into the water. My husband was thrown out on the opposite side so the boat was between us,” Mrs Ndlovu-Fox said.

“Jamie swam over to where I was struggling with the crocodile that was trying to pull me to the bottom of the river. He grabbed my waist and with the other hand he rained blows on the crocodile”.
At this point, the couple gazed into each other’s eyes and burst out laughing.

“It all happened so fast. We have conflicting accounts of events,” said Mr Fox.

They said when the guides saw them battling the huge reptile, they joined in.

“The crocodile finally let go,” said Mr Fox.

Mrs Ndlovu-Fox said her right arm, just above the elbow, was in tatters.

“The pain was excruciating but with my husband by my side, I summoned the strength to fight through it,” said a beaming Mrs Ndlovu-Fox, who appeared unperturbed by her condition.

She said they were rushed to safety and her husband was visibly in shock but tried to calm her down.

A helicopter airlifted them to a hospital in Victoria Falls where she was then transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in the city.

“I get depressed by people who come here and start crying you know. I know people feel pity for me at this moment but being more sorrowful does not help the situation,” said Mrs Ndlovu-Fox.

“I look forward to friends and family who are going to make me laugh and not remind me of what is going on. I actually spend my time comforting my relatives”

Her arm had to be amputated following the attack a few days before their big day.

Defying odds, the two wed in a beautiful ceremony facilitated by Mater Dei Hospital at the hospital’s chapel.

“I spent a lot of time preparing for my wedding day, running around for a venue, decor and so forth. I didn’t know that fate would have me wed in a hospital chapel, with one limb missing. But in all this, I’m not complaining, my wedding was the best, and I have a wonderful husband,” Mrs Ndlovu-Fox said.

The couple could not keep their hands off each other throughout the interview.

Asked why he had not run for the hills instead of tying the knot, Mr Fox said: “It’s a miracle; there is no other way to explain it. I thought it was some joke and someone was pranking us. It took about five seconds for me to see it was real,” said the groom.

“I love her even more and this incident actually made me feel the deep meaning in our vows. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, that’s just how our love is going to be. I never even at one point had the thought of calling off the wedding.”

“We met in 2016. I had come to Zimbabwe for some programme. I knew then that I wanted to marry her.

“I visited the country a couple of times, but I finally proposed in February 2018 at Antelope Park in Gweru. She said yes. I was at my most nervous as I so much wanted her to say yes. She agreed and I approached her family, paid bride price and we set off planning our wedding. She was responsible for wedding preps and I was sorting out her visa.”

The couple are preparing travelling documents as they will be relocating to the United Kingdom soon.

The wedding had to be conducted at the Mater Dei hospital chapel where a Methodist pastor officiated before an unexpected 60 guests.

Another wedding ceremony continued — in their absence — at Busters Sports Club in Hillside, which had initially been booked for the wedding.

A majority of the guests first heard of the attack at the ceremony.

“Our wedding was blissful. It was perfect and there were so many people in the chapel. We watched the other ceremony on videos and we saw photos. It was beautiful. I really wish we were there but I’m so happy that the wedding proceeded despite all the drama,” said Mr Fox.

The love birds could not stop smiling as they sat on the balcony of the hospital ward while admiring the beautiful scenery.

“There’s always something good about life to celebrate. Just look at how beautiful this view is. Sunshine and green, it’s beautiful,” said Mrs Ndlovu-Fox as her husband continued massaging her foot.

Mrs Ndlovu-Fox was a renowned junior Tennis player. She played for the Dominican Convent School first team, represented Bulawayo province and toured southern Africa playing International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments.

Source: Croc attack couple opens up (08/05/18)

More: Crocodile attacks tourists canoeing in Zambezi River (08/05/18)

Investor keen to bring Grand Prix to Victoria Falls

THE world of motor racing could soon be coming to Zimbabwe after an investor expressed interest in developing the sport’s facilities in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira told the media in Victoria Falls last week that among potential investors that had responded to the Government’s call for partners in infrastructure development under the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, was an interest in bringing the Grand Prix to Zimbabwe.

“We are currently going through proposals. We are looking at having a theme park because activities are limited in Victoria Falls. People have sent their proposals and there is also sports tourism included. Somebody is interested in bringing the Grand Prix to Victoria Falls,” said Minister Mupfumira.

The Grand Prix is held as an international sport in many countries and involves a series of motor-racing or motorcycling contests under international rules.

Government is planning to turn Victoria Falls into its conference capital with state-of-the-art facilities ranging from five to seven star hotels, recreational, banking and sporting facilities.

The Government has since courted some investors with China expressing interest.

The Victoria Falls local authority has also invited investors to partner it in building a one-stop sports facility in the resort town as efforts to develop sports tourism gather momentum.

Minister Mupfumira said work on the ground on some of the infrastructure could start soon once investors are approved.

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union has already engaged council to upgrade Chinotimba Stadium into a multi disciplinary sport facility to be able to host various activities, including the Kwese Sevens Rugby tournament.

Zimbabwe Cricket was allocated land to construct a 10 000-seater stadium in Victoria Falls about four years ago, although nothing has materialised.

All efforts are aimed at developing sport tourism and bringing world events to Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most preferred destinations but has failed to attract world sporting events because of lack of infrastructure.

In August last year, World Chess Federation president Kirsan Nikolayevich IIyumzhinov said Zimbabwe was likely to host the Chess World Cup in 2021.

Source: Investor keen to bring Grand Prix to Victoria Falls (07/05/18)

More: Is motor racing coming to Zimbabwe (08/05/18)

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Crocodile attacks tourists canoeing in Zambezi River

A DARING crocodile which last week attacked two canoes carrying tourists in the Zambezi River has been put down to save lives after one of the tourists lost her arm in the attack.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Zanele Ndlovu was attacked while paddling down the Zambezi in the company of her husband and two other tourists.
“We started hunting for it on Wednesday and we managed to shoot it on Friday afternoon with the assistance from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) ranger,” a tour guide, Skinner Ndlovu said.
“We were monitoring it and after positively identified it through its bruises and being territorial, we shot it when it was sun basking. Such crocodiles are a danger to human beings, so it was no longer safe to do speed boating at the site,” he said.
Adventure Zone owner Brent Williams and professional guide Misheck Ngwenya told Southern Eye that the problem crocodile attacked Ndlovu on April 30 and cut off her right arm.
“I did a detailed safety briefing and started the trip around 9:30am. We paddled down the river for about an hour with everyone having fun. We went through some rapids between picnic site Number Seven and picnic site Number Six. After this, we were drifting down from picnic site Number Six towards picnic site Number Four when out of nowhere a huge crocodile attacked one of our canoes with two guests inside,” Ngwenya said.
“It attacked the middle of the canoe which resulted in it puncturing both front and back tubes. I paddled to rescue them while calling Zenzele and Norman to come and assist. Ndlovu, who was with her husband, was sitting in the front of the canoe and she fell into the river first, while the crocodile was still holding on to the canoe.
When I got there I tried to pull the lady into my canoe and the croc charged at me, but missed, but punctured my canoe resulting in me falling into the water.
“The crocodile turned on Ndlovu, biting her on her upper right bicep. The croc then attempted the death roll, breaking off the lady’s arm. At this time, Norman managed to pull her into the canoe and paddled to the river bank.”
Brent said Ndlovu was evacuated by the Zambezi helicopter and rushed to a local hospital. She is receiving treatment at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where the doctors amputated her arm.
Reports are that Ndlovu married her United Kingdom-based husband Jamie Fox on Saturday while in her hospital bed.
Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident and urged Victoria Falls residents and tourists to avoid picnicking at the river banks without guides.
Last Wednesday, a Chinotimba woman was also nearly swept away while bathing along the riverbed while another tourist nearly drowned after diving into the river last month.

Violent baboons terrorize Victoria Falls residents

Frequent raids by troops of baboons which are terrorising children and women have seen growing calls by the Chinotimba residents in Victoria Falls for responsible authorities to intervene and put to an end the destruction being caused by the animals.

“Enough is enough!” -that is the strong message by the angry Chinotimba residents who say they cannot endure the continued harassment and terror due to the regular raids by a troop of baboons.
The baboons, which often behaves like human beings and are very good tricksters, have kept the residents under lock fearing for their lives.

The animals are said to have become more violent, terrorising children, stealing foodstuffs and in some cases slapping as well as biting residents.

“We are living in fear; these baboons have become a big menace. For how long should we continue to be terrorised? Responsible authorities should surely act before lives are lost,” said one angry resident.
Broken windows, damaged cars and body scars will make one think Chinotimba is a war zone.

While there are no casualties so far, the residents feel behaviour by the animals is a clear declaration of war.

For now it seems the baboons are winning the war.

“We feel Zimparks and all the responsible authorities should come to our rescue and save us from these animals,” said another resident.

The community feels the responsible authorities should urgently intervene before lives are lost.

Some residents feel the Zimparks should relocate some of the animals to places where there are fewer baboons such as Harare and Bulawayo.

“If they could capture them and send them to other places where there are no baboons like Harare that would help us,” Another resident said.

The biggest question is whether the Harare mayor and the residents will accept the generous donation?

The answer is likely to be straight forward, “keep your baboons and we will keep our skyscrapers.”

While the residents pray for some intervention, they have devised ways of minimising the attack for instance men are now tasked to buy bread which is then stashed in a satchel while catapults have become a popular toy for the young ones.

“Varume ndiwo vakunotenga chingwa mazuva ano(Men are the ones who are now going to buy bread). We are afraid of being terrorised. If they buy the bread it will be stashed in a satchel to avoid being confronted,” said another resident.

Victoria Falls is surrounded by game parks and cases of human-wildlife conflict are a common issue in the area. As the resort town expands with more properties being constructed close to the animals territories, there are fears of increased cases of human-wildlife conflict.

Source: Violent baboons terrorize Victoria Falls residents (07/05/18)

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Multi-million dollar mall for Victoria Falls

ZIMRE Properties has started construction of its $13 million mall in Victoria Falls following approval by council.

The local authority which is looking forward to similar investments in the resort town, has since set up an investment committee mandated to market the town to potential investors.

The Zimre mall to be built on a 1 500-hectare piece of land, will have 24 shops, a car park, restaurants and office space among others.

The Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube said the mall was a confirmation that the resort town was now attracting big projects.

He said investors wishing to do business in the town are now able to process all their documentation and have them approved within a period of seven days or less.

Mr Dube said the new approach to business was in line with President Mnangagwa’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open to business.

He said the resort town has been designated a Special Economic Zones (SEZ) because of its strategic position.

“In our bid to facilitate efficient businesses proposals adjudication, the council has put in place an investment committee, which sits weekly to evaluate projects proposals,” he said.

The move has opened up doors for investment with the Zimbabwe Reinsurance (Zimre) Property Investments becoming the first to start capital projects in the town.

Mr Dube said the project was testimony of investors’ confidence in the country and Victoria Falls town.

“We expect a timeous completion of the project which will completely change the face of our town,” he said.

Mr Dube said besides developing the town’s infrastructure, the Zimre project will create thousands of jobs for locals.

Construction of the shopping complex is expected to be completed in the next 12 months. — @ncubeleon.

Source: Zimre begins work on $13m Vic Falls complex (03/05/18)

Zimre begins work on $13m Victoria Falls complex

ZIMRE Properties has started construction of its $13 million mall in Victoria Falls following approval by council.

The local authority which is looking forward to similar investments in the resort town, has since set up an investment committee mandated to market the town to potential investors.

The Zimre mall to be built on a   1 500-hectare piece of land, will have 24 shops, a car park, restaurants and office space among others.

The Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube said the mall was a confirmation that the resort town was now attracting big projects.

He said investors wishing to do business in the town are now able to process all their documentation and have them approved within a period of seven days or less.

Mr Dube said the new approach to business was in line with President Mnangagwa's mantra that Zimbabwe is open to business.

He said the resort town has been designated a Special Economic Zones (SEZ) because of its strategic position.

"In our bid to facilitate efficient businesses proposals adjudication, the council has put in place an investment committee, which sits weekly to evaluate projects proposals," he said.

The move has opened up doors for investment with the Zimbabwe Reinsurance (Zimre) Property Investments becoming the first to start capital projects in the town.

Mr Dube said the project was testimony of investors' confidence in the country and Victoria Falls town.

"We expect a timeous completion of the project which will completely change the face of our town," he said.

Mr Dube said besides developing the town's infrastructure, the Zimre project will create thousands of jobs for locals.

Construction of the shopping complex is expected to be completed in the next 12 months. 

Source: Zimre begins work on $13m Victoria Falls complex (03/05/18)

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

'Construction of New Hotel in Vic Falls to Start Soon'

Zimbabwe's world renowned resort, the Victoria Falls will soon have a new five star hotel and a conference centre whose construction is set to begin by mid-year, a Cabinet minister has said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Priscah Mupfumira told journalists at her maiden interface with the media since appointment last December that the construction of the hotel and conference centre were part of initiatives under government plans to drive new investment under the special economic zones (SEZs) initiative.
There was a lot of interest from investors keen on setting up new tourism ventures in the country since the new government came into office last November, the minister said.
"Because of the new dispensation and engagements we are undertaking, there are many people who are showing interest in investing in tourism. Soon, before the end of the year, or even before our elections, works should have started in Victoria Falls on a conference centre and a five star hotel," she said without revealing the name of the investor.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its elections in July.
Government has designated SEZs in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls under a project meant to ramp up investment in the economy through offering special conditions which allow investors to set up shop in the country with minimum hustle and a wide range of benefits.
Minister Mupfumira said construction of a new hotel would augur well for the economy as the country was in need of new rooms, with the expected influx of tourists.
"We do not have enough rooms in the area (Victoria Falls) with the influx of tourists that we are recording," she said.
"We know by the end of this year, we will almost double the arrivals that we had last year so we need investments in Victoria Falls."
Zimbabwe has in the past few years been averaging two million visitors annually.
Minister Mupfumira said the designated SEZ for the Victoria Falls did not just focus on the resort town only but this stretched from Hwange to Kariba.
She said the ministry was in the process of reviewing the national tourism strategy with a view to addressing some of the bottlenecks and challenges the industry was battling with to drive arrivals and the sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product.
High product prices compared to the region and connectivity were some of the top challenges cited as impacting on performance of the industry.
"We have underplayed the role of tourism where it is placed third or fourth in terms of earnings, we want to be the leader in contributing to our Gross Domestic Product and turnaround of the economy," said Minister Mupfumira. - New Ziana.
Source: 'Construction of New Hotel in Vic Falls to Start Soon' (24/04/18)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Vic Falls Tourist Arrivals Surge 20,7pc

Victoria Falls continues to be dominant as the country's major tourist attraction centre after recording 20,7 percent rise in arrivals during Easter Holidays compared to the same period last year.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks), show that arrivals rose to 6 147 this year compared to 4 877 last year.
International tourist arrivals rose "exponentially" this year to 2 643 from 2 200 over the same period last year. The number of visitors from across the continent, particularly the Southern region, also increased to almost 1 500 from 977 last year.
Due to a rise in campaigns to promote domestic tourism, local visitors to the Victoria Falls also rose to 2 004 from 1 700 last year.
Zimparks public relations manager Tinashe Farawo, told The Herald Business recently that the surge in arrivals at the majestic Victoria Falls has been driven by political stability.
Mr Farawo said there is policy consistency in Government and a strong desire to support the tourism sector, which is seen as central to quick economic turnaround.
"One of the reasons why we have recorded this increase in arrivals is the political stability that we are witnessing in the country, and the willingness of this Government to ensure that tourism is prioritised as a low hanging fruit, as something which can benefit this country," said Mr Farawo.
"We have had a lot of support from the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) himself, the Minister (of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira) to ensure that we record such successes.
"Obviously, we are happy with these figures and we look forward to see the numbers continuing to grow going forward because this Government is speaking with one voice to say, 'let's make Zimbabwe open for business' and be attractive to everyone so that we grow our economy."
Zimbabwe expects tourist arrivals to rise to 2,5 million this year from 2,1 million last year, driven by several factors including political stability and the domestic tourism campaign. Hoteliers are already re-modelling their operations by introducing specials for both food and hotel rooms, as they seek to liberalise access mainly by the low income earners.
In the African context, walking into a hotel, let alone purchasing food and spending a night there, used to be associated with rich businesspeople and foreigners.
But all that is changing now due to interventions by Government.
In the last 18 years, tourist arrivals have plummeted from the peak of almost 2,5 million in 1999 to 1,9 million in 2008 due to bad blood between Zimbabwe and its major source markets, especially in Europe.
Source: Vic Falls Tourist Arrivals Surge 20,7pc (20/04/18)

Friday, 20 April 2018

Plans for 125 MW solar plant in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe-based Southpole Consulting Private Limited has filed an authorization request with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) for the construction of a 125 MW solar power plant in Victoria Falls.
According to information provided to pv magazine by the company, the project has primarily been conceived for self-consumption and, in particular, to supply power to the company’s data center and a commuter rail electrification project.
The facility may also sell power regionally through the grid to the local industrial district via private PPAs, since it will be located in the proximity (18 km) of the planned regional Zizabona inter-connector. The inter-connector aims to increase energy trade between Zimbabwe, Zambia, northern Malawi and north-eastern Mozambique, where the company forecasts substantial aligned investment.
A special purpose vehicle for the project, SouthPole StalwartBuild Zimbabwe PL, has already been approved for US$300 million of initial Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) investment by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA). The financing will be used for the construction of the plant, ICT, road and rail infrastructures within the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Southpole said it aims to build the plant as an independent power producer, with no direct support from the government or other local public authorities. Construction on the plant, the company added, may begin in the second half of this year. “We are already in talks with module and inverter providers, as well as with potential EPC contractors,” company director, Tendai Tidings Musasa said.
According to Musasa, in addition to the aforementioned regional power inter-connectivity, the SEZ offers attractive tax incentives, which have enabled Southpole to attract international financing and technical partners.
The area – offering one of the highest solar irradiation indexes in a country with above average irradiation of 5.7kWh per square meter, per day – is poised to be a strong regional power interconnection platform, thanks to the upcoming 2,400 MW Batoka Gorge Hydro – Electric Scheme (HES) and a planned 1,250 MW PV development for regional consumption over the next seven years, the company said.
According to local newspaper, Chronicle, last year the ZERA issued licenses to nine IPP projects with a combined capacity of 260 MW, including six for solar power plants, two for mini-hydro projects, and one for a hybrid solar-diesel project.
Resorting to IPPs for renewable energy development can be viewed as a necessary move by the government, since it has failed to bring online several hundred MWs of solar capacity through different tenders, and through different policies that promote the adoption and wider use of renewable energy.
In 2014, Zimbabwe’s State Procurement Board (SBP) cancelled a tender for 300 MW of solar, after it judged the prices offered by the three selected developers as too high. Since then, several large-scale solar projects have been announced across the country, although no big solar park has been connected to the local grid to date.
The country, which has a remarkable level of solar irradiation at 20 MJ per square meter per day, is in urgent need of more power generation capacity, as it suffers from chronic energy shortages, due to the current poor conditions of the network.
According to a recent report from the Dutch government, just 21% of Zimbabwe’s rural areas have access to electricity, while this reaches  80% in urban areas. The country’s current total installed capacity is estimated at around 2 GW, of which 58% is thermal and 37% is hydropower.

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.