Zambezi Book Company

Zambezi Book Company
Discover the history of the Victoria Falls with the Zambezi Book Company - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Friday, 28 December 2018

Fire razes Victoria Falls’ Lookout cafe

Lookout Café in Victoria Falls was on Christmas Eve reduced to ashes by a fire suspected to have been caused by an electric fault.



Firefighters from the Victoria Falls Municipality were called but could not salvage the wooden and grass thatched structure.
The café which is operated by Wild Horizons, one of the leading tour operating companies in the country, employs 30 people.
Wild Horizons chief executive Mr Gary Archer confirmed the incident.

“At 4:20AM on the 24th of December 2018, Lookout Café Victoria Falls was destroyed by fire. The café will be closed for the foreseeable future,” said Mr Archer.
He said no one was injured.
Mr Archer said tourism activities such as highwire activities were not affected and will continue to operate as usual.
These activities include gorge swing and gorge view, zip line and flying fox.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Victoria Falls fire brigade for their speedy and professional assistance in containing and putting out the fire. Investigations are ongoing while some insurance assessors are also coming to investigate.
“We’ll go through all processes and will communicate after the findings are out but for now we are concerned about this unfortunate incident and what to do with the 30 workers who are affected. We will however start repairs soon,” said Mr Archer.
Tourists preferred Lookout Café to other eateries because it is strategically positioned facing the gorge.
Victoria Falls Municipality public relations and economic development officer Mr Ngqabutho Moyo said: “Our fire fighters attended the scene and investigations are ongoing.
“However, people need to be educated about fires and their occurrence. Some people want to put out fire themselves or drive from the premises to look for help. Residents should use emergency numbers to call the fire brigade or police.” 

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Airlines increase capacity. . .Tourists flood Vic Falls

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
SOUTH Africa Airways (SAA) has replaced its wide bodied aircraft A330-222 with a much bigger 330-300 on its Johannesburg-Victoria Falls route due to demand.
The move comes soon after Ethiopian Airlines also increased frequency from three to four days per week on its route between Addis Ababa-Victoria Falls-Gaborone-Addis Ababa.
The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for the tourism industry, which experienced unprecedented growth in arrivals resulting in airlines increasing capacity.
Regarded as one of the leading airlines in Southern Africa, SAA launched its wide-bodied 222-seater airbus flight to Victoria Falls last year following the completion of the $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport upgrade.
It’s has now further increased its capacity by 27 seats from 222 to 249 as more tourists fly into Victoria Falls.
The new look airport facility can now accommodate wide bodied aircraft and has capacity to handle more than 1.5 million passengers annually.
Airport manager, Mr Ronnie Masawi, said this was a sign of positive growth on the destination.
“SAA started using airbus 330-300 on November 29 as it increased capacity by additional seats. This might look like a small figure but it means increased capacity and translates to huge numbers cumulatively,” said Mr Masawi.
“The year 2018 has seen a very significant increase in numbers where new entrance airlines have also consolidated their services.”
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) representative, Mrs Barbara Murasiranwa, said air travel was becoming more popular with travellers due to challenges associated with road transport.
“This means an increase in business while people are growing more confident in air travel to Vic Falls especially as self-drivers face challenges of badly serviced roads and fuel shortages,” said Mrs Murasiranwa.
“The plane is amazingly beautiful and it’s economy class looks like business class if compared to other airlines thereby bringing luxury flights to Victoria Falls.”
SAA, which also flies to Harare and Bulawayo, will be alternating the airbus with a much bigger aircraft where there is high demand.
SAA is a Star Alliance member and operates in over 40 destinations across the globe, with over 14 000 weekly connections through its global partners’ network with OR Tambo International Airport as the main hub.
It carries over six million passengers annually across the network as it competes with world class airlines.
Other airlines flying into Victoria Falls include Air Zimbabwe, Air Namibia, British Airways, Fastjet, Kenyan Airways and SA Airlink.
The Victoria Falls International Airport has been regarded as a game changer in the country’s tourism and aviation as its expanded 4km and 60 metres wide runway can accommodate wide bodied aircraft such as B747, B777, Airbus A340 and A380 among others.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Victoria Falls mall 65% complete

ZIMRE Property Investment (Zimre) has so far spent $9,2 million on its shopping mall in Victoria Falls which is now 65% complete.

Providing above 5 000 square metres of lettable space, the $13 million Sawanga Shopping Mall consists of 23 shops, banks, concept houses, food courts, restaurants, coffee shops, a service station and curio shops.

Zimre property manager, Stephen Kapfunde, told NewsDay in e-mailed responses that the mall would be operational by end of this month.

"The shopping mall is approximately at 65% completion and we expect the contractor to finish off most of the brickwork and to have the balance of the roof sheets on the mall in two weeks' time from now," Kapfunde said.

"About $9.2million has been spent on the project to date and it is scheduled for practical completion by end of December 2018," he said.

The mall is one of Zimre's major projects while the company has also been converting its Nicoz House Bulawayo from offices to student accommodation.

Kapfunde said the company has several projects lined up, including an office park development in Borrowdale; a townhouse development in Westgate, Harare; Selbourne Park in Bulawayo; an industrial park in Bluff Hill, Harare, and a residential development in Victoria Falls.

"The land for all these developments has already been acquired and the projects are at different stages of implementation. Some are at design stage, some are awaiting approval."

Source: Victoria Falls mall 65% complete (2/12/18)

Sunday, 2 December 2018

American tourist injured in hippo attack

AN American tourist is lucky to be alive after she was attacked by a hippo as she canoed with her husband on the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls Saturday morning.
Christine Yaldor, 37, was rushed to a private hospital in the resort town where she was treated for leg injuries, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management authorities said.
“The couple was attacked by a hippo when they peddled closer to it. The woman sustained injuries on the leg and was rushed to hospital after being rescued by tour guides,” said a source who witnessed the attack.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that an American woman was attacked by a hippo while canoeing. She sustained some injuries on her leg but she has been since treated and the wound dressed,” he said.
“Our message remains the same, we urge tourists to be vigilant and extra careful. Never underestimate these animals. Simply stay away from them. Let us be careful and avoid unnecessary deaths and injuries.”

Saturday, 1 December 2018

New cruise boat for Vic Falls

By Leonard Ncube
Shearwater Adventures has acquired a 100-seater up-market cruise boat to cater for executive tourist clientele. The two-deck boat was manufactured by a Bulawayo company at a cost of about $500 000 and is already in Victoria Falls ready for use on the Zambezi River.

Shearwater spokesperson Mr Clement Mukwasi said the development was a response to demand by the market in the wake of renewed interest in destination Zimbabwe.
“This is a 100-seater boat but we’ll use it as a 60-seater because the facility we are providing is not an ordinary cruise. We’re doing an up-market luxury cruise whose price and target market is different from the ordinary market,” he said.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

New book on the history of the Victoria Falls

Life and Death at the Old Drift, Victoria Falls, 1898-1905, by Peter Roberts


The Old Drift holds a unique place within the story of the modern development of the region, established in 1898 and marking the main crossing point on the Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls for European travellers and traders heading north into the Kingdom of Barotseland (Western Zambia). Below the Falls the river, trapped within the deep gorges, presents a natural barrier to travellers for hundreds of kilometres.

A small settlement of evolved on the north bank and from 1898 to 1905 the crossing was a focal point in the transport of goods and people across the river, despite earning notoriety for the high mortality rate, with many settlers dying of malarial complications known as blackwater fever.

The arrival of the railway from the southern Cape to the banks of the Zambezi in mid-1904, and the construction of the Victoria Falls Bridge - crossing the river just below the great waterfall and opened in 1905 - shifted the axis of activity away from the Old Drift, and the ramshackle gathering of huts was abandoned to the bush in favour of the new town of Livingstone. After only a short number of years the days of the Drift were over, leaving only the graves of those who died and the memories of those lucky enough to have survived. Close by a stone cairn, erected by the Zambian National Monuments Commission in 1952, marks where the ferry pontoons arrived and the wagons once came ashore.

'Life and Death at the Old Drift' presents a detailed history of this brief but pivotal period in the recent human history of the Falls. Quoting extensively from contemporary references and sources, the story follows the growth of this small European community and some of the colourful characters drawn to life on the banks of the Zambezi - despite the risks.

Fully illustrated with over 90 archive images and photographs. [60,000 words, 189 pages]

First published in March 2018, copies of 'Life and Death at the Old Drift, Victoria Falls (1898-1905)' are available to order online through either amazon.com (US site) or amazon.co.uk (UK site) for payment in US Dollars or UK Pounds.



Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Passenger volume at Vic Falls International Airport surges

Passengers volume at the upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport surged by 25 percent during period January to August according to latest figures from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) with calls for the tourism industry to position themselves to benefit from the continued influx of tourists.
Dubbed ‘The Game Changer’ the upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport which is a gateway to the majestic and legendary Victoria Falls continues to witness an influx of tourists.
Statistics from the domestic aviation body show that during the period under review, passenger volume at the airport stood at 264 525 compared to 211 379 during the same period in 2017.
The increase in passenger volume has raised hope that the country is on course to surpass the country’s 2018 tourists’ arrivals target of 2.5 million.
Employers Association for Tourism and Safari Operators president Mr Clement Mukwasi said the passenger volume is encouraging adding that operators should position themselves to benefit from influx of tourists.
“We are excited as an industry by the continued surge in passenger traffic at the upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport. This obviously means more business for the operators and the clarion call is for all players to position themselves to meet the increased demand for services,” he said.
There are currently eight airlines serving the Victoria Falls route namely South African Airlink, Fastjet, Air Zimbabwe, South African Airways, British Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Namibia and Ethiopian Airways.
Meanwhile, a survey titled ‘Victoria Falls Gateway’ conducted by tourism group Africa Albida, shows that the Zimbabwean side of the majestic Victoria Falls recorded total visitor entries of 317 778 in 2017 which translates to 36 percent compared to those recorded in 2016.
The upgrading of the Victoria Falls International Airport resulted in its passenger handling capacity being increased from 500 000 to 1.5 million per annum.
Analysts say though the recent growth in tourists’ traffic is commendable, stakeholders need to double efforts to ensure that the assets is fully utilised to reach the 1.5 million passengers per annum.