Footsteps Through Time

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

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Chief Mukuni rides long

SENIOR chief Mukuni has bought himself a Lincoln Royale Town Car limousine from the US at a cost of US$200,000 (K1.2 million).

He has further ordered a boat also worth US$200,000.

In an interview yesterday at Lumpasa Palace in Mukuni village in Livingstone, chief Mukuni said the limousine was a 2012 make and he bought it three months ago.

He explained that he also wanted to leave a legacy by purchasing a private jet in the next 12 months. Chief Mukuni said the limousine had an inbuilt intercom, a fridge, television, a transparent retractable roof, as well as a state-of-the-art music system. He said the vehicle was not a guzzler and, in fact, consumes less fuel than his BMW.

"My intention is that once I leave (chieftainship), I will donate that (limousine) to the Mukuni Royal Establishment for the next chief to use. It's not for my members of the family. Once I leave, it will remain for the next chief to use," he said.

Chief Mukuni said the left-hand drive, which is driven by his son, Siasiloka, has a 60-litre fuel capacity. Chief Mukuni also owns a Toyota Land Cruiser. He said the limousine was ordered through his close associates in the US. Chief Mukuni said the limousines were in the range of US$200,000 to US$400,000.

He said his subjects were happy with the limousine initiative as it gave them pride.

Chief Mukuni said he was now planning to purchase a jet and another limousine, white in colour.

He said the limousine entered Zambia sometime in January through the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. On tourism investments, chief Mukuni said Zambia needed to take a new approach to tourism development if it was to earn a lot of foreign exchange from the sector.

"There are countries like Seychelles and Kenya; they have no mines, but they are doing better than us because of tourism, nothing else!" he said.

Chief Mukuni also said he intended to expand his tourism business in Livingstone by venturing into boat cruises on the Zambezi River, using a boat and three amphibious buses, which would be driven onto the Zambezi River after game viewing. In addition, he plans to invest in Ghana, using his Mukuni Big Five tourism sanctuary, which offers lion walks, cheetah interactions and elephant rides.

Chief Mukuni said a Ghanaian tourism team, which was in the country recently, had invited Mukuni Big Five to open up branches in that country.

"They (Ghanaians) invited me, and I will be going there in July. I don't want to just invest in Zambia. I want to invest in what I know best - handling lions and elephants. So, I want to spread over and I have also ordered a boat which should be landing anytime from now to be called the 'Lion King of the Victoria Falls'. But the Ghanaians are saying 'Why not bring it to Accra?' " he said.

Chief Mukuni said the 100-seat capacity US$200,000 boat will not only be for sunset cruises, but will also do weddings, luncheons and conferences on the river.

"We are looking more at local tourism. We want to have an African touch to it as most of the boats here have a European touch other than the names," he said.

Chief Mukuni, however, said he was having problems acquiring docking space on the shores of the Zambezi River from ZAWA. "The application that we had done as Mukuni Big Five is that we wanted Mukuni Development Trust to own the docking space. We will build it for them and they will rent from ZAWA, and we would rent from them Mukuni Development Trust... the money will then trickle down to the local people. That is the arrangement, but I'm being told that the application letters are lost. I did others and sent by DHL and they also got lost," he said. <[>Chief Mukuni said he had approached ZAWA to train elephants which could be rented out to tour operators countrywide for elephant rides but that the paperwork for his suggestion went missing too.

"The Ghanaians want me to take lions and cheetahs since they don't have them, and that since they have elephants, they will give me 100, even more, to train and that they would give me 20 for free. So the way to go now is that I want to invest in foreign countries so that I can bring back some foreign exchange," he said.

Senior chief Mukuni said recently, he invited former tourism and arts minister, Sylvia Masebo, so that he could learn more on tourism from her vast experience. <[>He also revealed that the road to Mukuni village had been tarred as payment for the gravel which was being collected from the village by Inyatsi Construction Company.

Source: Chief Mukuni rides long (The Post, Zambia, 12-05-14)

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