Zambezi Book Company

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

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.”

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.

Air transport connectivity boosts Vic Falls tourism

The number of tourists to Zimbabwe's premier resort centre, Victoria Falls, has risen by 21% to 150 000 in the first six months of this year due to improved air connectivity, a survey has shown.

Titled Victoria Falls Gateway, the survey conducted by tourism group Africa Albida shows that the number of tourists is expected to reach 605 000 by year-end compared to 520 000 achieved in 2017.

Since its $150 million upgrade last year, Victoria Falls International Airport is serviced by eight airlines — Air Zimbabwe, South African Airlink, fastjet, South African Airways, British Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Air Namibia and Kenya Airways.

Early this year, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said the rising number of airlines and visitors could help the resort town grow into a regional tourism hub.

The findings of the Africa Albida survey show that Victoria Falls was the third most visited falls globally in 2017 with 500 000 visitors, after Niagara Falls (12 million) and Iguazu Falls (1,7 million), respectively.

The survey investigated tourist visits to Victoria Falls, Livingstone (Zambia), Chobe/Kasane (Botswana), and Hwange (Zimbabwe). Both the rainforest and falls in Victoria Falls remain Zimbabwe's top attractions.

"There was a further sharp increase in visitor numbers to the Zimbabwe side rainforest in 2018 of 26%, but foreign visitor number growth rose 28% vs local 15%. Hotel accommodation stays again grew less than the rainforest visits at 12,5% in 2018 first six months, again reflecting a boom in non-hotel stay on the Zimbabwe side," the report read.
Hotel room stays in the first half of the year totalled 106 183.

"The area is probably on a growth trajectory slightly below the 10% curve (a growth of 10% per annum over the next five years). However, the Zimbabwe side saw compound growth in arrivals exceeding 20% in the boom times of the 1990's for six consecutive years. It is possible that the Zimbabwean side is headed for growth similar to or exceeding the 15% line, which doubles visitor numbers under five years," the report further read.

The survey found that the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls recorded total visitor entries, both local and foreign, of 317 778 in 2017, a 36% increase on two years ago.

About 205 469 of the visitors were from overseas markets from 151 839 in 2016.

The United States was the biggest source of visitors to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side, accounting for 73 803 visitors in 2017, followed by Germany (25 855), Australia (17 023), France (16 092) and Japan (31 702).

However, the findings also showed that Zimbabwe is the most expensive in the region due to the strength of the United States dollar.

A 2015 survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism in 2015 on 145 tourists in Victoria Falls found that 52% of the visitors were spending more than their budget due to higher costs.

Source: Air transport connectivity boosts Vic Falls tourism (02/10/18)

Vic Falls mall ahead of schedule

ZIMRE Property Investments' $13 million Sawanga Shopping Mall, which is currently under construction in Victoria Falls, is expected to be operational by December this year, ahead of the formerly proposed timeline. 

Providing above 5 000 square metres of lettable space, the mall consists of 23 shops of various sizes, banks, concept houses, food courts, restaurants, coffee shops, service station and curios shops. The mall has at present received expression of interests that exceed the space available. 

Zimre Property Investments board chairperson Jean Maguranyanga revealed that the mall could be completed a month before the scheduled timeline and the property company is already overwhelmed with enquiries from potential tenants of the yet to be completed shopping mall. "Letting of the shops is in progress and the expressions of interest received exceed the space available.

"The major tenants are expected to start trading in December ahead of the scheduled project completion date," said Ms Maguranyanga. 

The mall is one of Zimre's major projects as the company has also been converting Nicoz House Bulawayo from offices to student accommodation and could start taking occupants this October. 

Renovations started in January 2018 and the property will provide approximately 194 beds, a canteen and student amenities at the lower floors. These developments come at a time when the company slumped in profits and revenue as compared to the same period last year.

Profit for the year up to June dipped by 68 percent to $197 397 from $613 526 recorded in the prior comparable period whilst the company's revenue decreased by 41,3 percent to $1,5 million from last year's $2,6 million. 

Slowdown in the group's profitability is largely attributed to the refurbishments at Nicoz House in Bulawayo and construction of Sawanga Mall in Victoria Falls which evidently require massive capital injection.

Source: Vic Falls mall ahead of schedule (02/10/18)