Discover Victoria Falls

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Zambian Mealie Meal Floods Victoria Falls

Zambian mealie meal has flooded the resort town of Victoria Falls despite a government ban on the importation of the basic commodity.
The Financial Gazette established that traders were making brisk business selling Zambian mealie meal at popular markets, while others moved around Chinotimba and Mkhosana townships on bicycles selling the product.
Some local shops also had stocks of the Zambian product, which sold for nearly half the price of locally produced mealie meal.
"It is the price and the quantity that matters," said a local trader.
"It all makes economic sense for the suffering residents," he added.
Investigations indicated that Zambian traders brought the mealie meal from across the border daily on bicycles for sale in Victoria Falls.
Some shop owners were now repacking the cheap Zambian mealie meal into smaller packages for resell to impoverished residents for a dollar a packet.
Thembinkosi Ndlovu, the southern region chairperson of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, said Zambian mealie meal was being smuggled into the country.
"This is a violation of the country's laws. This is smuggling and I have alerted my national leadership in Harare. We want to find out how it is finding its way across the border when the government has prohibited the importation of mealie meal," said Ndlovu.
"We have to find out what is happening at that border (Livingstone) otherwise we are in full support of the ministerial ban. Our fear now is that the cheap mealie meal will flow to every corner of Zimbabwe, greatly threatening the survival of local millers. The government's statutory instrument is intended to protect local producers who have been under threat from foreign companies," said Ndlovu.
In June this year, the government gazetted Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which prohibited the importation of a wide range of goods unless under licence granted by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The influx of Zambian maize products comes amid revelations that the milling industry in the southern part of Zimbabwe is in a crisis due to an acute shortage of grain.
The Grain Marketing Board, the sole government entity charged with procuring and distributing grain in the country, is now unable to supply grain due to the scarcity of the product.
Local millers are battling to import grain from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and South Africa and even Europe due to financial constraints.
Source: Zambian Mealie Meal Floods Victoria Falls (22/09/16)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Vic Falls mosquito menace hits tourism

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls

TINY as they are, mosquitoes are reportedly wreaking havoc and scaring away tourists in Victoria Falls, the country’s prime tourism destination.

The insects are a problem at this time of the year and have infested the resort town especially hotels and lodges with clients reportedly raising alarm to operators and authorities to take action.
In response to complaints by the public and tour operators, the local authority says it would fast-track its spraying programme — due to start on Monday next week.

The resort town has also approached its counterparts in Livingstone and Kasane in Zambia and Botswana respectively to harmonise the spraying programme since they are also affected.
This came out at a budget consultative meeting on Monday evening when residents from wards one, two and three, which are all in the low density areas, met to give their ‘wish list’ to council as the local authority consults towards the crafting of the 2017 budget.

Said a resident from Ward 1: “We’ve a challenge with mosquitoes. Clients in hotels are complaining about these mosquitoes.

“The council should budget for spraying of mosquitoes. Firstly, you should make an environment assessment because last year you sprayed but mosquitoes became too many and up to now the situation has not improved. Maybe the chemical you used killed spiders that feed on mosquitoes.”
Participants at the meeting, most of them hotel and tour operator managers concurred that there “were too many mosquitoes in town.”

Last year residents complained to the local authority that Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) the chemical used to spray mosquitoes during the town’s indoor residual spraying (IRS) programme was ineffective.

They alleged that mosquitoes invaded their houses soon after spraying and some households refused to have their houses sprayed. Council’s Housing and Community Services director Mr Lot Siatimbula confirmed receiving reports about the high presence of mosquitoes.

“My office has been inundated with phone calls about mosquitoes. We have been using DDT and people objected and now we’ve changed to an organophosphate chemical as we’re going to start on September 26,” said Mr Siatimbula.

“We’ve checked with Zambia and Kasane so that we spray at the same time because mosquitoes can travel up to 6km hence we have to harmonise our efforts.

“Last year we were doing indoor residual spraying and we’re changing to a three-tier system, which is indoor using an organophosphate chemical as well as fogging on outdoor areas and spraying all breeding areas such as ponds and pools.”

He said last year the council sprayed 65 percent of properties while 30 percent remained breeding places.

“We believe these initiatives will make an impact even though we wouldn’t be 100 percent effective because when we spray water bodies we cannot spray Zambezi River,” said Mr Siatimbula as he warned that the programme will have a bearing on tariffs.

He said officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care visited hotels last week to assess the situation.

Mrs Yvonne Yandles, chairperson of Business Against Crime Forum of Zimbabwe (BAFCOZ), however, expressed concern that the ministry was asking for contributions yet spraying of mosquitoes in urban areas is a preserve of local authorities.

She asked why the Government concentrates on rural areas. Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the local authority would not comment on Government plans.

Source: Vic Falls mosquito menace hits tourism (21/09/16)

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Zuma’s son plans to build hotel in Vic Falls

The son of South African president Jacob Zuma, Selby, plans to invest in a new hotel in Victoria Falls.

In an interview on the sidelines of the re-launch of The Golden Mile Hotel in Kwekwe at the weekend, Mr Selby Zuma described Zimbabwe as a safe and attractive destination for investment.

He said with his local partner, Mr Solomon Matsa, the new owner of Golden Mile Hotel, they had plans to invest more in the country and create employment.

“I love Zimbabwe and I’m always here. One of my sisters is married here. We are looking at a possible joint venture to construct a hotel in Victoria Falls with Solomon,” Mr Zuma said.

He said Zimbabwe and South Africa will always be there for each other even when the economy is not looking well.

Mr Zuma said all countries have problems but what needs to be done is for citizens to work together, pulling in the same direction for development.

“The relationship between Zimbabwe and South Africa dates back to the liberation struggle. My father and other ANC members were protected here in Zimbabwe. We have a rich history between ANC and Zanu-PF and so things will get better,”he said.

Mr Zuma said investing in Zimbabwe would create employment and develop the economy.

Mr Matsa said he came a long way with Mr Zuma and the two were business partners.

Officially opening the refurbished Golden Mile Hotel on Saturday, Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Government had set aside 378 hectares of land in Victoria Falls for tourism development and the resort town had been identified as a special tourism economic development zone.

Speaking at the same occasion, the acting Minister of Tourism, Cde Makhosini Hlongwane, said the re-launch of Golden Mile Hotel is a major milestone not only to Kwekwe and the Midlands province but to the nation at large in terms of economic revival through tourism.

Despite negative coverage in the Western media, Zimbabwe remains a prime investment destination for foreigners, while locals are gearing to take advantage of the vast natural resources in the country.

Nigerian tycoon, Mr Aliko Dangote, is exploring multi-million dollar investment opportunities in mining and cement production while Russian investors are keen to inject about $4 million into a platinum venture in the Great Dyke.

Delegations from countries that include China, France, turkey and Germany are also eyeing opportunities in sectors like mining, manufacturing, agro processing, tourism and health care.

Source: Zuma’s son plans to build hotel in Vic Falls (20/09/16)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Vic Falls Residents Demand Tourism Revenue Share

Residents of Victoria Falls say they have been exploited enough and want a share of the revenue being generated from the Rainforest and several other natural resources such as wildlife. Speaking at a national budget consultative meeting at Chinotimba Hall on Friday, residents said they want 30 percent of money generated from the Rainforest.

Thousands of local and international tourists visit the magnificent Rainforest and numbers swell during holidays such as the festive season, Easter and school holidays, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars. Other attraction sites around the resort include the Zambezi and Chamabondo parks which are all under Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

There are also tour activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping, sunset cruise, canoeing and game drives among others which are operated by private players who pay a certain entry fee to Zimparks.

“We have the Rainforest but we don’t benefit from it. We want 30 percent of money generated from there to be remitted to the town so that the funds can be used for developmental projects,” said a resident. Victoria Falls Ward 9 Councillor Somvelo Dlamini said besides setting aside a fund for Victoria Falls, government should ensure locals have free access to the Rainforest.

“What pains is that our children learn about natural resources that are on their doorstep from their counterparts from other provinces because they can’t afford the entry fees. Why not have a facility whereby locals are allowed free access,” he said.

It costs $7 for adult locals to access the rainforest while for kids its $4. Foreigners from the region pay $20 while those from outside Sadc and Africa pay $30. A walk with lions, elephant ride, rafting, boat cruise and canoeing cost an average between $50 and $150 depending on season. A majority of people who visit Victoria Falls for conferences or as tourists throng the Rainforest and undertake at least one of the activities.

Tourism is a strategic cash cow for the government, contributing about $1 billion to the national fiscus annually. Government, through its ZimAsset policy, says locals should benefit from resources available in their area.

Source: Vic Falls Residents Demand Tourism Revenue Share (19/09/16)

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Multi-million dollar complex for Vic Falls?

Leonard Ncube, Chronicle Reporter

VICTORIA Falls Municipality has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a South African and a local construction company to build a multi-million dollar complex in the resort town.

The local authority has engaged Manyara and Associates, a local contractor as well as Mud Hut of South Africa for the ambitious project: a civic centre, a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, convention centre and a hospital facility among other structures.

Finer details about the project are still sketchy as Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the deal was still under discussion with the relevant authorities.

“We have a MoU but we can’t talk about it now because we need to report to Government first and then update a full council meeting,” he said.

He said full details on the whole project will be availed at a full council meeting at the end of this month.

According to the latest council report, the MoU has since been signed between council and Mud Hut after councillors okayed the multi-million dollar complex deal.

“Management sought approval from council to sign the MoU which was granted as the local authority agreed to engage Mud Hut and Benbally as funders while Manyara and Associates is the project proponents and CBZ Bank the project advisor,” reads part of the council report.

A tender to do a feasibility study was awarded to Hospitality and Tourism Industry (HTI) consultants of South Africa and the cost was put at $46 000.

The Government is also planning a conference centre between Victoria Falls International Airport and town centre which will house state-of-the-art facilities such as hotels, offices, conference rooms as it seeks to make Victoria Falls the country’s conference capital.

Source: The Chronicle, Multi-million dollar complex for Vic Falls? (15/09/16)

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Poachers poison four elephants in Zim

A policeman who was part of a team that ambushed the suspects was killed while chasing the suspects.

Four suspected poachers escaped arrest after killing four elephants by spiking a water pan with cyanide in the Sinamatella area of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe early on Sunday.

In a statement, the Victoria Falls-based Zimbabwean conservation group Bhejane Trust said a policeman who was part of a team that ambushed the suspects was killed in friendly fire after an accidental firearm discharge during hot pursuit.

“Four elephants, plus some small birds, were found dead at a waterhole on the Sinamatella park boundary of suspected cyanide poisoning. Acting on a tip-off, Parks (and Wildlife Authority Management) rangers and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) details set up an ambush for the suspected ivory dealers involved in the poisoning.

“The four suspects fled in a vehicle after being challenged. The ambush team of two rangers and two ZRP details gave chase, but very unfortunately, one detail had an accidental (firearm) discharge which hit the other ZRP detail, who has subsequently died. The suspects obviously got away, but follow-up investigations continue. Bhejane Trust extends it deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased policeman, who died while doing his duty,” the group said.

The incident came four days after four armed poachers were arrested in a counter-operation by police and game rangers in the Tsholotsho communal lands, southwest of Hwange National Park, while tracking two elephants they had wounded in failed poaching attempts earlier.

Source: Poachers poison four elephants in Zim (12/09/16)

Vic Falls operators adopt Rand

Players in the local tourism industry have resolved to adopt a "rand-based" pricing system to cushion their businesses from the prevailing cash crisis. In the context of weakening regional currencies, the use of the strong United States dollar has negatively affected tourist arrivals as the country is viewed as an expensive destination. Recent reports indicate that some tourists wanting to visit Victoria Falls, for instance, now prefer flying into Livingstone in Zambia from where they undertake tourism activities and only cross to Zimbabwe as Zambian clients - prejudicing the country of the precious earnings.

Last week Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa revealed that the approach (rand-based pricing system) has been agreed upon by the Government, players in the hospitality sector and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

"In order for tourism industry to cushion itself from the current liquidity and cash crisis, it is highly recommended that the sector commences the use of the Rand Based Pricing System as agreed upon between the tourism ministry, the hospitality industry, and the Reserve Bank," said Minister Chinamasa in his mid-term fiscal policy review statement on Thursday.

In an interview yesterday, the Catering Employers' Association of Zimbabwe immediate past president Mr Joe Kahwema said what Minister Chinamasa announced was something that was already obtaining in the hospitality sector.

"Anybody is allowed to charge in any of the allowable currencies. If they (tourists) have the rand, for example, I cannot turn them away, I will simply collect the rand and rate it using the prevailing daily exchange rate against the US dollar.

"The reason why hotels in Zimbabwe are not competitive is not about the currency issue but the input costs. The input costs in Zimbabwe are higher compared to South Africa and that has made hotels here uncompetitive," he said, adding that this was also the reason why Rainbow Tourism Group's Beitbridge hotel closed down because it could not compete with the rand rate hotels in Musina.
Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabwe's tourism receipts were averaging over $700 million per annum and the sector has potential to contribute to alleviating the liquidity challenges in the economy. He said the first quarter of 2016 recorded an estimated 450 572 tourist arrivals, up from 387 557 during the same period last year, representing a 16 percent growth.

"All source regions recorded growth except for Oceania. On the downward side, during the first half of 2016, two key Beitbridge hotels — Holiday Inn Express and Rainbow hotel — were closed down in the border town. These two hotels accounted for about 57 percent of rooms in Beitbridge."
Minister Chinamasa also announced that for Zimbabwe to fully exploit its natural resources and tourism sites for the benefit of the economy, the Government was already implementing the National Tourism Policy promulgated in 2014 with the National Tourism Master Plan expected to be completed this month.

"The Master Plan provides an organised and structured framework for tourism development and promotion. Benchmarking exercises were carried out in February and June 2015 in South Africa and Tanzania, respectively. "Field visits to identify Tourism Development Zones were finalised and identification of provincial projects was undertaken during July 2016," he said.

Minister Chinamasa also highlighted that the Special Economic Zones Bill, which has been approved by Parliament and is awaiting Presidential assent, would boost tourism through implementation of the designation of Victoria Falls-Hwange-Binga-Kariba tourism corridor as a special economic zone.
Zimbabwe participated in some "must attend" tourism fairs that provide an opportunity to market the country as a safe tourist destination, endowed with natural wonders, a rich cultural heritage, and investment opportunities. With the rise of globalisation, he noted, every country faces stiff competition from others as they compete for tourist arrivals, and investment.

"The competitive edge that different tourism markets struggle for is a function of how positively or negatively, as the case may be, a nation's brand is perceived both at home and in the international community. "Consequently, the Government in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders is crafting a Nation Branding Concept," he said.

Source: Zimbabwe adopts rand (13/09/16)