Footsteps Through Time

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

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Huge Boost for Vic Falls As UAE Investors to Build World Class Hospital, Motor Racing Course, Shopping Mall and a Hotel

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says Victoria Falls will soon become the best world destination following a visit by investors from United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have expressed interest in developing state-of-the-art medical, grand prix, hotel and shopping mall facilities.
A technical team from UAE was in the resort town on Tuesday where it held a meeting with ZTA officials and Victoria Falls Municipality to assess the state of affairs in the country's prime destination.
Coming out of the closed door meeting, ZTA chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke, said the delegation was happy with what it had seen and was ready to pour in a huge investment.
"We met them when we went to Dubai with the Minister (Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira) and they expressed interest in investing in a tourist destination. Their choice was Victoria Falls which is why they are here," said Kaseke.
He said the investment, whose amount is still under wraps, would be towards developing a state of the-art-hospital to be used as a world referral centre, a motor racing course, a shopping mall and hotel.
Kaseke said as ZTA they were buoyed by interest shown by investors from different countries who want to invest in Zimbabwe especially in tourism destination centres.
Victoria Falls was designated as a special economic zone (SEZ) focusing on tourism and financial services.
However, the destination still lags behind in terms of world class facilities that can be of choice to tourists.
Some tourists prefer to land and book in Zambia or Botswana and cross into the country by road before going back because of lack of five star hotels, with the few available deemed too expensive for their standard.
The resort town has a room deficit of about 2 000.
Concerns have been raised about unavailability of sporting and recreational facilities which could boost sport tourism.
On a number of occasions, some tourists have been airlifted to Johannesburg or Bulawayo after being involved in accidents because there are no properly equipped medical facilities.
Source: Zimbabwe: Huge Boost for Vic Falls As UAE Investors to Build World Class Hospital, Motor Racing Course, Shopping Mall and a Hotel (01/06/18)

Vic Falls: Black market fuel hub

ARRESTS and prosecutions are not enough deterrent factors for illegal fuel dealers and the law has somehow failed to curb the vice.
It is a risky and fast business for Victoria Falls’ Mbongeni Dube (29) and his peers who call it a “permanent” job and are ready to die for it.
The residents too, have a huge appetite for the market mainly the taxi drivers as they claim that the precious liquid smuggled through our porous borders is purer than the local one.
Some of the smuggled fuel is sold on the streets, bush and houses in the high-density suburbs of Victoria Falls, while some finds its way to Hwange, 100km away.
“It is a risky trade; people have lost lives and property after smuggled fuel went up in smoke, but what can we do when they are no jobs,” Dube quizzed.
“It’s survival of the fittest and we are always ready for anything and day in, day out, law enforcement is after us, but we find a way to get away,” said Dube who plies his trade in the cover of the bush along Kazungula road.
“We are many of us and we give ourselves a target of about 3 500 litres minimum per week and it is paying off. We buy our fuel in Kazungula [Zambia] or Kasane [Botswana] and we find a way of smuggling it into the country through ungazzeted points in small gallons. It is not easy though, but one has to find means to survive,” another fuel dealer added.
“Upon arrival, we sell it in gallons, for example five litres goes for $7,50 cash and $10 when fuel stations are dry. We prefer Botswana fuel over Zambia because it is cheap. A litre goes for less than 80 pula while local fuel stations, like Zuva, sell a litre for $1,47 and Petrotrade for $1,42, so we make a lot of profit and we now have our regular clients,” Clive Chitsa explained.
A survey revealed that many local taxi drivers prefer black market fuel which they top up on credit and claim it does not damage their cars.
However some said they no longer trust, the dealers as they also sold ethanol-blended fuel.
“They only want cash and buying from a garage ends up better and we have realised that these people top up at service stations then lie to us that the liquid is pure. So it is a win-lose situation, but they always come in handy when there are fuel shortages in town like last week,” Macloud said.
According to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, smuggled fuel costs the country over $1 billion in undeclared levies.
In 2017, Zimbabwe and the Botswana Defence Forces officials launched a joint operation to curb the smuggling of fuel from the neighbouring country, but unregistered fuel dealers still evade arrest.
Fuel supplies have been dwindling in the country, with government officials blaming foreign currency shortages.
Source:  Vic Falls: Black market fuel hub (01/06/18)

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)

Chinese, US firms in joint bid for Batoka


Global electrical engineering giants, China Power and General Electric (GE) of the United States have launched a joint bid for a contract to construct the 2, 400 megawatt Batoka Gorge hydropower project being co-developed by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo, while officiating at a Zesa annual risk management awards ceremony on Friday, said the two electrical engineering giants paid him a visit at his offices on Friday and expressed strong interest in the project.

The Energy Minister said that while Zimbabwe had successfully commissioned the Kariba South Extension project, in March this year, which added 300MW to national electricity grid, the country was remained shot of adequate power, adding Harare’s goal was to be energy self-sufficient as well as be a net exporter of power.

As such, Minister Moyo said that he would engage his Zambian counterparts to discuss ways in which the implementation of the Batoka power project, which the two countries urgently need to resolve power deficits in their countries, could be expedited.

The Batoka Gorge sits on the Zambezi River, whose administration the riparian states share.

It also supplies water to the jointly owned Kariba Dam, which the two countries use for power generation, 1050MW for Zimbabwe and for 1080MW for Zambia.

“This morning (Friday), I received representatives from China Power and General Electric (GE) from the US. They have shown great enthusiasm to move into Batoka (hydropower project),” he said.

“I do know my colleagues would want to accept this development. I will consult and we will meet, as members of the Zambezi River Authority to discuss how we can speed up the programme.”

The $3 billion Batoka power station will be situated about 60 kilometres downstream of the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and is expected to improve the two countries’ power supply, currently in deficit and also feed into the Southern African Power Pool.

Zimbabwe and Zambia’s demand for energy are forecast to more than double by 2035.




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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)