By Isdore Guvamombe
Victoria Falls town
has largely remained a natural and remote vestige, making this world
class tourist attraction one of the Best World Heritage sites. Tourism
and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has declared that the
falls must remain so natural that if the first European to visit, David
Livingstone who died in 1863, and the Tonga men Suzi and Chuma who
showed Livingstone the place were to resurrect today, they would easily
find their way around.
It is the unadulterated nature of Victoria Falls that has kept it
ticking so much that any new project to be implemented must be carefully
Of late there has been an attempt by Africa Albida to implement a
$3,5 million zoo, disguised as an amusement park, on an animal corridor
between Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and the Crocodile Farm, opposite the
swathe of land between Elephant Hills Hotel and A'Zambezi River Lodge.
Dubbed Santoga, the project's main feature is a zoo, where wildlife
will be displayed, while replicas of all tourist attractions in the
country from Great Zimbabwe to Kariba will be erected.
"There will be shows throughout the day and lots of interaction with
wildlife and hi-tech elements. The project is expected to bring major
benefits to the Victoria Falls community, with spin offs to include the
creation of more than 1 500 jobs," said Dave Glynn, AAT group chairman.
While job creation and new projects are welcome but wildlife is the
mainstay of Zimbabwe's tourism and tourists the world over come not
because we have the best hotels but parks where wildlife roam wild and
Several questions have been asked about how the game-drive industry in Victoria Falls, will be affected by the Santoga project.
Questions are being asked about how the blockage of the animal
corridor that has been giving wildlife access to the Zambezi River, will
deal a blow to the teeming wildlife.
Those who have driven along the road past Elephant Hills towards
A'Zambezi River Lodge will testify to the amount of wildlife traffic,
especially the impala and elephants that have left that corridor a
stunted Mopane bush shrubbery. To block such a corridor is not only
insensitive to the plight of wildlife but is utterly disgusting to
The Victoria Falls Municipality and all and sundry in the town must
have been sleeping on duty to allow the project, whose layout,
infrastructure, design and content plans are very well advanced with
completion set for July 2016.
A zoo is certainly not the best thing for Victoria Falls, never.
Not this time. Any project that drives away wildlife from Victoria
Falls or unjustifiably violates wildlife rights is not suitable for a
place like Victoria Falls.
The Santoga project needs to be reviewed and re-designed to ensure
that it does not deface or soil the World heritage status of Victoria
Source: Santoga Project an Insult to Vic Falls