Footsteps Through Time

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

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

"We’ll transform Victoria Falls into Africa’s Las Vegas"

Zimbabwe’s MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has revealed ambitious plans to transform Victoria Falls into the Las Vegas of Africa.
Mr Chamisa added that the opposition alliance would establish a tourism and fisheries university to cater for the Zambezi Valley region once elected into office.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Victoria Falls last Friday, Mr. Chamisa said Zanu PF even under President Mnangagwa’s reign had failed to restore confidence in the economy.
“Victoria Falls must be like Las Vegas where if you turn to the left you see a Chinese, if you turn to the right you see a British and so on,” he said.
“This can only happen when we have vision to develop Victoria Falls as a city. We have a plan for the Zambezi Valley; we want a tourism and fisheries university.
“Our gospel is transformation, prosperity and opportunity and none of our people will leave the country to look for jobs as they will be available locally.”
Mr. Chamisa said his party was working on a number of programmes which will be launched soon, among them replacement of the bond notes with a real currency as well as well establishing a disability grant to cater for the disabled.
“Zanu PF should restore confidence and trust. Us, we don’t need 100 days; once we get into government the first thing to do will be to address the cash crisis. We will stop the bond notes and bring real money,” he said.
The opposition politician addressed dozens of party supporters at Chinotimba Hall in the company of PDP leader and former finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Mr. Chamisa said he has a vision for building state-of-the-art road and rail infrastructure across the country as he lamented lack of development in Matabeleland region which he blamed on exploitation by Zanu PF.

Heavy rains wash away Vic Falls copter operators’ earnings

PLAYERS in the helicopter sector in Victoria Falls lost business worth over $500 000 in February due to heavy rains, leading to cancellation of flights.

“From the beginning of February 2018, Victoria Falls was very wet because of excessive rains. The clouds were low hanging. As such, operations of helicopters from the Zambian and Zimbabwean side were suspended,” Employers’ Association for Tourism and Safari Operators president and Shearwater Adventures spokesperson, Clement Mukwasi, said.
“As a destination, we lost quite a lot of business, as we had a lot of refunds due to cancellations of flights. Losses were quite heavy because we had put up infrastructure and manpower on standby in anticipation of good business. Due to cancellations and other expenses, we lost half a million dollars as industry. We are happy now that the flights have resumed their operations.”
There are three major helicopter players in Victoria Falls—Zambezi Helicopter Company, Chikopokopo and BonisAir.
Chikopokopo managing director, Lloyd Machaka, said their company also lost business due to cancellations.
BonisAir sales and marketing manager, Lovemore Ngano, partly blamed the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe for other flights cancellations.
“The challenge that we are having is that our Meteorological Department is situated about 20 kilometres away from where we are operating. So what happens is that, when clouds become very low at where they are operating from (at the airport) while at our side its clear, then we are told not to fly,” she said.
“Even when you try to tell them that: ‘No guys, its clear this side’. They will tell you don’t fly. We lost about 370 clients, which is equivalent to $38 000. On the first day yes, the rain was almost 100% cover, but on other days it was not so.”
He requested Met Department to establish their offices around town for the convenience of aviation industry.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Vic Falls sees low flows due to climate change

World famous waterfall and Zimbabwe’s number one tourist attraction, the Victoria Falls, is starting to have far lower flows because of frequent droughts triggered by climate change, new research has shown.
Most of the changes have occurred in the months October and November, where rain has become scarcer, temperatures soared and waterflow diminished.
This could have far reaching impact on the tourism sector in Zimbabwe, and the economy as a whole.
According to the research, the Victoria Falls has been hit by drought in 19 of the 40 years since 1976.
Although precipitation is up 80mm over the four decades overall, it has declined sharply in the last 20 years.
During this period, droughts have sometimes extended for up to 4 years non-stop, it says.
October, which marks the beginning of the rainy season in Zimbabwe, has particularly been the driest.
Preciptation during the month has completely dried up.
In 1976, about 40mm of rain fell in October in Victoria Falls.
Today, none does at all.
“Rain now starts in November, and has not extended beyond April, the traditional rain-end month,” said Dr Godwell Nhamo, a Zimbabwean researcher with the University of South Africa, who co-authored the report.
“That means the rainy season has shortened by a month. The delay in the onset of the rainy season could have ramifications on animal habitat, animal migration patterns, and flora and fauna life cycles in the Victoria Falls resort,” said Dr Nhamo.
Climate change has been found to be the biggest cause of extreme climate events such as drought and floods, according to the UN expert panel on climate change.
Shorter peak period
Generally, waterflow at the Victoria Falls has increased since 1976, particularly for April and May, the authors say.
More years have exceeded the average annual 1 000 cubic metre per second water discharge in the past 40 years.
At its greatest, more than 8 700 cubic metres of water plunged down the gorges at the Victoria Falls each second.
That was in 1957.
Things have never been the same from since.
Researchers say the peak full-spray viewing period, historically between March and May, is becoming shorter.
“There is a chance that some months may witness a dried up (Victoria) Falls given that the rainfall has been reducing drastically, against increasing maximum and minimum temperatures,” said Dr Nhamo, in the study..
This will be bad news for visitors.
Holidaymakers love to see the Victoria Falls in its full glory and majesty: the mist, the rainbow and the thunder, studies show.
And that mostly happens when the waterflow is at full discharge.
“Evidence of prolonged low water flowing is worrying,” the research states.
“Measures need to be put in place to maintain and increase tourist flows during this period (September to January.”
Rising temperatures
Titled “Climate change and potential impact on tourism: Evidence from the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls”, the case study-based research was done over two years utilising meteorological and hydrological data dating back 40 years.
About 370 tourists from across the world who have visited the Victoria Falls in the past were surveyed via the Internet, and through Facebook safari and tourism groups.
Researchers asked them questions such as their perceptions on climate change, the impact of climate change on the Victoria Falls and others.
“The online surveyed was preferred in triangulating evidence from the meteorological and hydrolgraphic data as it provided broader geographic reach to source global perceptions,” Dr Nhamo defended the study’s approach.
Whereas more research has previously been carried out on the the impact of climate change on the Zambezi River basin, from which the Victoria Falls emerge, few have looked at the waterfall proper.
Nhamo’s research may be the closest yet to a most comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change on the Victoria Falls to date.
The study finds that since 1976 day-time temperatures in the Victoria Falls have risen 1,4 degrees Celsius, on average, due to climate change.
he greatest month-on-month increase was noticed in October, a rise of 3,8 degrees Celsius, which is faster than the national average.
Temperatures have warmed by under one degree celcious across Zimbabwe in the past 100 years.
“Such high temperatures (in Victoria Falls) may affect tourists’ comfort and flora and fauna that have to adapt to the ever increasing temperatures,” said Dr Nhamo.
Winters are becoming warmer, he said, forecasting a spike in demand for cooling systems both in the home and offices, in a vicious cycle that will in turn impact negatively on the waterfall.
“Since the energy supply is heavily dependent on burning coal, increased energy demand will also result in increased running costs for the tourism industry,” the study says.
“Increased energy demand will also result in increased carbon emissions leadingvto global warming that also affects the Victoria Falls.
Economic impact
Tourism accounts for over 5 percent of the country’s $16 billion GDP and about 100 000 people work in the sector, according to Government data.
Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe’s main tourist trumpcard. More than one million people flock to see the World Wonder each year.
Any disruption caused by climate change on water discharge at the waterfall will be most damaging to the tourism industry in particular, and the Zimbabwean economy in general.
Higher temperatures are already hitting some businesses in the Victoria Falls badly.
Two helicopter companies that fly tourists above the falls for a better view say warmer climates were disrupting business.
They say above 35 degrees Celsius temperatures impeded operational efficiency. They can not fly to the regulatory height anymore without consuming more fuel.
In future, it might cost more to fly in and out of the Victoria Falls, the study says.
That’s because higher temperatures have increased the risk of turbulence, flight sickness, greater aeroplane energy consumption and other issues.
Higher temperatures mean thinner air, requiring “flights to have longer runways and load shedding on takeoff…such trends could result in air tickets becoming higher as insurance premiums for airlines go higher to cater for increased risk”, the research says.
The Victoria Falls isn’t disappearing tomorrow. It may be another several millenia before that happens, if at all.
Nobody knows really. The next best time to visit the falls for a full spray may just be limited to April and May, according to a new calendar of activities developed by Dr Nhamo, even when other low flow adventures continue to flourish.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Govt set up Special Economic Zones in Victoria Falls

GOVERNMENT is in the process of setting up special economic zones (Sezs) in Victoria Falls with discussions with potential investors ongoing, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said on Tuesday that her ministry is in the process of setting up the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone.
Sezs are designated geographical regions that operate under special economic regulations different from other areas in the same country.
“We have started the process of getting the necessary legal requirements through the ministry of Local Government and the Victoria Falls Municipality,” Mupfumira said. “There are memorandum of understanding being done. We have also started the process of identifying possible investors. There has been such enthusiasm in as far as investing in Victoria Falls is concerned.”
Mupfumira said the major obstacle to getting investment in the resort town was the lack of a plan to help the process of investment.
She said that by March 15, the ministry will have a brochure to market the Victoria Falls special economic zone which she said will soon be launched. She said the Victoria Falls special economic zone will not be confined just to the resort town but to the whole area including Hwange and Mlibizi.
She said there are investors interested in building a marina in Mlibizi with properly developed beaches.
Mupfumira said she was in negotiations with various stakeholders in her sector to introduce special affordable packages for locals to visit tourist attractions and promote domestic tourism.
“One of the issues which has been a deterrent (to domestic tourism) has been the cost of entrance fees, the cost of hotels and the cost of accommodation. We have engaged our partners to see what we can do,” Mupfumira said. “As government we are seriously going to review entrance fees into all National Parks so that people living in those areas will go to enjoy the benefits of our God given resources.”
Mupfumira on Tuesday left the country with a delegation comprising of The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and other tourism industry players on her second international re-engagement series tour across major tourism source markets; South Africa, United Kingdom and Germany.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Vic Falls Carnival thieves nabbed

TWO Harare men who stole cellphones from revellers during last year’s iFlix Victoria Falls Carnival, have each been sentenced to 21 months in jail.

Tatenda Katemanyengo, George Makuvire and Takudzwa Mawire also of Harare who is at large, were found in possession of an IPhone and two Samsung smart phones stolen during the carnival.
Mawire who defaulted after the trio was granted bail in January, has since been issued with a warrant of arrest. Katemanyengo and Makuvire will, however, serve an effective 17 months in jail after four months of their sentence was suspended on condition of good behaviour.

They were also ordered to pay $50 compensation for the property they damaged at the Victoria Falls lodge where they were booked.

The phones were discovered in a torn mattress in their room at the lodge.

Katemanyengo and Makuvire pleaded not guilty to theft of the cellphones and malicious damage to property before Ms Lindiwe Maphosa.

They were, however, convicted of theft and malicious damage to property due to overwhelming evidence against them.

Source: Vic Falls Carnival thieves nabbed (01/03/18)

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Vic Falls to anchor proposed tourism hub

President Mnangagwa has directed Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira to lead the process in setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for tourism, a project that will see Hwange, Victoria Falls and Kariba transform into a hub of tourism on the entire continent.
Addressing tourism industry players from various countries at the end of Meetings Africa – a gathering that showcases Africa’s diverse offering of tourism services and products – here yesterday, Minister Mupfumira said her ministry had already placed “expression of interest adverts” in local media and online platforms.
She said the entire Hwange-Victoria Falls-Kariba belt would be turned into a “virtual city”, with world class artificial beaches, hotels and conference centres, among a host of other business opportunities.
Minister Mupfumira said the SEZ will have a bias towards conventional, medical and sporting tourism.
“The Special Economic Zone will come with benefits in the areas of taxation and special concessions,” she said. “We invite investors to take advantage of this opportunity while it still lasts. It’s a first-come-first-served or winner takes all.”
Making presentations during the event that was hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and saw tour operators and other industry players from various countries engaging the minister during a question-and-answer session, Minister Mupfumira said President Mnangagwa “did not mince his words” when briefing her on his expectations from the tourism sector.
“He has clearly said economics and trade cooperation would be his priority in Zimbabwe, rather than politics in order to catch up with the region.
“He has also stated that Zimbabwe was been lagging behind in many areas as a result of isolation for the past 18 years. Now we are saying to the world: ‘Zimbabwe is now open for business’.
“And to do so, he said there is need ‘to look at all the legislation that has been constraining business coming into Zimbabwe to improve the ease of doing business’.
“I, therefore, assumed this task willingly, given the political will to change the way things were being done and the enthusiasm and excitement that we were getting from all major source markets following the new political dispensation that saw Zimbabwe celebrate a peaceful transition.”
Minister Mupfumira hailed South Africa for being with Zimbabwe through thick and thin, saying Government had acted in addressing issues affecting tourism cooperation between the two countries.
She emphasised that such issues were “of our own making”.
“When I met my tourism team for a briefing, it became very clear that as a nation we have been anchored by rivals from this great nation, South Africa,” she said.
“Despite the fact that we have not been performing very well since 2006 due to factors that were of our own doing, South Africa still remains as the key source market for Zim- babwe.
The reception was attending by various dignitaries, who included Deputy Ambassador to South Africa Ms Metani Chauke, Consular-General Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro and ZTA CEO Dr Karikoga Kaseke.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Victoria Falls town to be transformed

TRANSFORMATION of Victoria Falls to a modern tourist resort has started taking shape with the company formed to drive the process now seeking technical expertise to craft a tourism investment and development plan.
Victoria Falls is one of the three areas Government has already earmarked as  Special Economic Zones.
The resort is Zimbabwe’s most eminent tourist attraction area.
Already, Government has spent $150 million towards modernizing and extending the destination’s international airport in anticipation of a tourism boom.
As such, the company is expected to play a pivotal role in the development of Victoria Falls into a special economic zone among other mandates.
Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company has since made a request for expressions of interest with a view to engage experts to develop the business plan.
The company, a Special Purpose Vehicle of the Ministry of Tourism Hospitality Industry,  was set up to mobilise resources for the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2012.
According to Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company, the consultant will draw up a (TIDCP) marketing and competitiveness strategies, list of investment opportunities, projects and viability assessments.
Further, the plan will look at concepts for anchor projects, environment, culture and heritage preservation strategies, service infrastructure and land use concepts.
The consultant will also need to do a “summary of tourism development plan citing other countries experiences”, inception report, detailed work plan, training of staff, training report and technical report.
Government contends that modernising Victoria Falls will alter and add to the colonial legacy of infrastructure and stock of tourism facilities in the resort.
The focus of Mosi Oa Tunya Development Company’s focus would be guided by the National Tourism Master Plan, for organised and structured framework for sustainable development of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry.
Government’s position regarding tourism stems from the fact that the sector is regarded as having potential to turn around the domestic economy.
“The sector offers great potential for creating employment opportunities, generating foreign currency, spreading wealth across the geographical sparse and poverty alleviation.
“The sector is losing out on potential revenue due to limited activity base and tired products and lowered destination competitiveness, which need revamp,” the company said.
Mosi Oa Tunya’s was appointed in May 2015 with the board being chaired by prominent business executive Ms Ruth Ncube who is deputised by Mr Innocent Gwisai, an architect based in South Africa.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority staffer  Reason Machigere, tourism ministry director of policy and research Douglas Runyowa, University of Zimbabwe director physical planning (education), Diana Chimhanda and  Arthur Musakwa, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority regional director, are also part the board of directors.
Other members include Ministry of Finance staffer Fidelis Ngorora,                                  surveyor general Edwin Kuvaza, academic Dr Dzidziso Kamuriwo and Victoria Mugabe.