Footsteps Through Time

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

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Meikles to Expand Victoria Falls Hotel

Hospitality group, Meikles Limited, intends to expand its Victoria Falls Hotel in the resort town as it positions itself to capitalise on the anticipated boon in the tourism sector driven by the expected economic growth.
The group is also embarking on massive refurbishment of the hotel and its other properties across the country.
This comes as both the Victoria Falls Hotel and Meikles Hotel have enjoyed growth in occupancy during the first few months of the new financial year.
"A refurbishment programme for the Victoria Falls Hotel will commence before the end of 2018. However, of greater significance is a project to enlarge the hotel with additional accommodation which is currently in the initial stages of planning and implementation which need to be expedited," said executive chairman John Moxon in a statement accompanying the group's financial results for the year to March 30, 2018.
Zimbabwe's tourism sector is on a major rebound buoyed by a change in Government policy that has helped to market the country as safe investment destination. This has resulted in many tourists also visiting the country as buttressed by hotels that have recorded bookings until the end of the year.
The group, however, closed its Mega Market and 'M' stores, partly in the later months of the year and partly in the early months of the current financial year. At an EBITDA loss of $4,2 million, the segment was badly affected throughout the year by the absence of funds to the group from Government, a position which was still prevalent in the early months of the current financial year.
Source: Meikles to Expand Victoria Falls Hotel (17/07/18)

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Captive Victoria Falls elephant used in tourism tramples handler to death

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

A 40-YEAR-OLD man who was employed as an elephant handler by a tour operator in Victoria Falls was trampled to death by an elephant on Saturday while rounding up a herd for penning.

Mr Jorum Ndlovu of 1043 Chinotimba suburb died on the spot following the attack.

His workmates Messrs Misheck Ncube and Nyasha Phiri tried to scare the jumbo away by throwing stones at it but their efforts were in vain, police confirmed. Rangers from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority shot dead the elephant.

Police officer commanding Victoria Falls District, Chief Superintendent Tadeus Madondo said a young bull elephant charged at Mr Ndlovu and trampled him to death.

“I can confirm that an elephant handler employed by Wild Horizons was trampled to death by one of the elephants. On July 7 at 8AM, Jorum Ndlovu, in the company of Misheck Ncube (42) and Nyasha Phiri (23) who both reside at Wild Horizon Camp drove seven domesticated elephants from the pens to the grazing area in the Wild Horizon sanctuary,” said Chief Supt Madondo.

“At around 11AM the three were ordered to drive back the elephants to the stables as there were some tourists who wanted to do a ride. As they are were driving them, two young elephants started fighting and other female elephants joined in.”

Chief Supt Madondo said the two young bulls fled in different directions as the bigger elephants charged at them.In the process, one of the elephants charged towards Mr Ndlovu who took to his heels.

“The elephant charged in the same direction of the handler who fled and it pursued and trampled on him. His two colleagues threw stones at the elephant to scare it away and by the time they got to where he was lying he was already dead,” said Chief Supt Madondo.—@ncubeleon

Source: Domesticated  Victoria Falls elephant tramples handler to death (10/07/18)
More: Victoria Falls Elephant Handler Trampled to Death By Jumbo (10/07/18)

More (external links):
SA’s elephant industry under pressure to end elephant rides (10/06/17)
The truth behind elephant back riding in South Africa (25/11/16)
Can elephant tourism be ethical? (The Telegraph, 02/02/16)
Breaking Africa's elephants (pdf report, World Animal Protection Canada)

More captive elephant incidents (from this blog):
'Domesticated' elephant shot after trampling handler, Victoria Falls (03/02/18)
Captive elephant used in tourist elephant-back safaris kills handler (Livingstone, Zambia) (02/04/13)
Elephant-back Safaris “Simply Accidents Waiting to Happen” Warns Top Tourism Insurer (10/05/17)
Captive Elephant Used In Tourism Safaris Kills Handler In Victoria Falls (19/12/08)

RTG completes Victoria Falls Rainbow Refurbishment

Listed Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has completed refurbishment of the Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel in line with global standards and growing demand for quality accommodation.

Upgrading of the 88-room facility started last year when 46 rooms on the Mosi-wing were given a facelift while the remaining 42 in the Oa-Tunya wing were completed end of April this year after the hotelier set aside $1 million for the project.

Demand for quality accommodation by the source markets has seen RTG upgrading most of its facilities countrywide to meet standards.
Some of the changes at the hotel include an overhaul of floor tiles, repainting of walls with new artistic taste, beds, furniture, curtains, lighting, showers, toilet system as well as a new spa among other developments.
The new-look rooms also have a fusion of international and Afrocentric touch, with international standard sockets and USB cables meant to ensure that no client finds his or her gadgets redundant while booked there.
Staff members now wear “Afro centric” uniform while the picture frames hanging on the walls cater for both local and international taste.
Speaking during a media tour of Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel on Monday, general manager Mr Chris Svovah said the renovations are in line with the group’s taste of freshness and desire to satisfy all clients.
“One of our values as RTG is freshness hence we have invested $1 million to address a lot of issues. We are not ending there, we want to offer total hospitality and we are also going to re-do the restaurant and conference room as we want to be conference venue of choice and the concept is already there,” he said.
Mr Svovah said they will also renovate the Panorama Deck on the hotel’s rooftop, which gives an aerial view of the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls Rainforest as well as a view of Livingstone town across the river.
He said only two months after the renovations, occupancy had risen by 10 percent compared to the same period last year as the market responds.
“Our occupancy was depressed in the first four months of the year because we had closed the section for renovations. But comparing with June 2017 when we had 61 percent, June 2018 we had 70 percent due to the impact of renovations,” he said.
Mr Svovah said the hotel’s market was classified as 85 percent international and 15 percent domestic. He said to promote domestic tourism, the hotel had introduced a winter promotion as well as special packages for schools who also make up a bigger chuck of local tourists.
Meanwhile, the hotel donated part of its old equipment to Ndlovu Secondary School as part of its corporate social responsibility and appreciation of support the school have given to the hotel.
The items included eight toilet units, five basins, three bathroom mirrors and five air conditioners, which were received by the school head Mr Memory Ncube and SDC chair, Mr Alfred Ndlovu.
RTG corporate communications and innovations manager, Mrs Pride Khumbula, said the donated items were worth over $2 000. The hotel will also assist with installation of the items for the school.
A similar gesture was made by the group’s other facility-Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre, which recently donated linen valued at $7 500 to Tariro Children’s home, Rimuka Old People’s Home and Association, Kadoma General Hospital and ZRP.
Mrs Khumbula said refurbishment work was underway at the Kadoma Hotel with more than 90 rooms already done. — The Chronicle

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)