Footsteps Through Time

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

Friday, 26 May 2017

Vic Falls man survives buffalo attack

Leonard Ncube Bulawayo Bureau

A curio vendor in Victoria Falls cheated death after he was attacked by a wounded lone buffalo while relieving himself. Mr Khumbulani Moyo, who sells curios at Sinathankawu Market between the Central Business District and Victoria Falls Border Post, survived by lying flat on the ground, making it difficult for the buffalo to gore him.

The animal reportedly had a piece of wire around its hind leg, a sign that it had escaped from a snare possibly set by poachers.

Mr Moyo had gone to relieve himself behind a shrub near the market on Tuesday afternoon when he almost met his death.

His colleagues rushed him to Victoria Falls District Hospital where he was treated and later discharged.

“I can confirm that a man was attacked by a buffalo and escaped with minor injuries,” said police officer commanding Victoria Falls District Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona.

Zimparks acting spokesperson Mr Simukai Nyasha was yet to get a report on the incident by yesterday.

Mr Moyo said when the buffalo left, he immediately rose and jumped onto a nearby tree, but he had already been injured on the forehead, right side of cheek, mouth, eyes, shoulder and knee.

Last year, a man from Victoria Falls was rushed to hospital with intestines protruding after being attacked by a buffalo near the same area.

Source: Vic Falls man survives buffalo attack (25/5/17)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Zim rangers rescue girl (13) after abduction,

Rangers rescued the girl after they heard her screams while on an anti-poaching patrol in the Victoria Falls.
Conservationists have applauded game rangers in Victoria Falls after they rescued a 13-year old girl who had been abducted and raped.
The rangers were tracking poachers in the area when they were alerted by the girl’s screams.
The Victoria Falls taxi driver was supposed to drive his teenage passenger home from school. Instead, he’s alleged to have driven her to the municipal dump and raped her.
Rangers from the International Anti-poaching Foundation were on an anti-poaching patrol in the area and heard the girl’s screams.
They responded and arrested the driver.
The state-run Chronicle reports that the man has already appeared in court on charges of rape.
On Facebook, conservationists in Victoria Falls and members of the public have applauded the work of the rangers, calling them heroes.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Source of Zambezi River Dries Up

By Paul Shalala in Ikelengi
Originally published: The Zambian Analyst [edited]

It has never happened before, at least in living memory... In fact no one remembers such a thing ever happening. And this has happened at a time when, water levels are supposed to be at their highest on account of the good rains experienced in the past six months...

This blogger travelled over 500 kilometers from his mining town of Kitwe to the border town of Ikelengi in northern Zambia to verify reports that the source of the Zambia river had dried up... Geologists believe that the Zambezi river starts from the Kalene Hills and it flows underground for some kilometers, only to appear in Mukangala area where the official source is.

A dry patch now meets the eye from the spot where the source is, where the Zambezi river used to ooze from. In happier times, that was the first sighting of the river as it creeps from the undergrowth to form a rivulet. And then it disappears and creeps back in visible patches here and there.

It is also the reason why beautiful walk-ways were made for people to easily walk around and see the phenomenal spot.: the source of the Zambezi river This same spot is also the reason why a nice visitor center was constructed by the Zambia government to provide information for tourists.

Even Willy Chiwaya. the conservation assistant who has been taking care of the Zambezi source for the past 10 years has never seen anything like this before. "I have been working here for 10 years and this is the first time ever seeing the source drying. We did not just have enough rains this year that is why it is dry," said Mr. Chiwaya.

And the traditionalists also have an explanation. "The forefathers are annoyed that is why the source is dry. They are annoyed with the white people who have encroached into our land and chased us from the source. We are asking the government to allow us resume the musolu ceremony," said

Senior Headman Mukangala, a local Lunda leader who lives less than two kilometers from the source of the Zambezi river. The source of the Zambezi river is protected by the National Heritage and Conservation Commission. The Visitor Information Center at the source of the Zambezi

The area, which is 36 hectares, has been declared a national forest in order to preserve the source. However, this year has been full of surprises. "The water table has really gone down. We have not had enough rains this year like we have had in the past. But there is still water here, though its 300 meters away from the actual source were we are standing," said Mr Chiwaya.

The Lunda speaking people are the owners of this land - the source of the Zambezi river. The Lundas called the river Yambezhi but the white man opted to call it Zambezi. Actually, the Republic of Zambia derives its name from the Zambezi river.

In the years before the source of the river became a national heritage site, the Lundas considered the area as a shrine. They used to come to this area to perform rituals. And then came the white man. "Where there is a monument, that was some kind of a hospital were the sick were brought for healing. What used to happen is that the ancestors would come here, get few leaves and trees to mix together and give the herbs to the people who were at the camp and they would get healed," revealed Mr Chiwaya.

He further explained about the restrictions which were followed religiously at the shrine. "There are some restrictions which are currently not being followed thats why this place is no longer a shrine. Only circumcised men where allowed here and women who did not have sex during the day time were also allowed to come."

Senior Headman Mukangala lives a few kilometers away from the source of the Zambezi. During the colonial error, he used to be Chief Kabanda but in 1947, he was de-gazette on account of not having enough people in his chiefdom. The British colonial government claimed his villages were scattered and he would not manage to hold his chiefdom together.

Today Senior Headman Mukangala feels the drying up of the source of the Zambezi river is a curse. "The decision to stop us from celebrating the Musolu traditional ceremony at the source of the Zambezi is what is causing problems and the drying up of the source. The spirits are annoyed," said the traditional leader in an interview.

Before the whites started visiting this area in the 1920s, the villagers used to perform a ceremony called Musolu. In this ritual, they prayed asking the gods for good rains. But now they no longer perform it.

"During the ceremony, we used to start by praying to God for good rains. All Headmen under my leadership would gather at the source of the Zambezi. All people would be happy because they would be talking to God directly," he said. The Musolu ceremony, like many other cultural activities of this nature, is performed once a year.

Senior Headman Mukangala now recalls how it was done. Throwing some seeds on the ground, Senior Headman says: "Once we paint our faces with white powder, we would then ask God that whatever we have planted, let it germinate so that next year we can have enough food for your people." But all is not so dry at the source of the Zambezi.

Three hundred meters away from the actual source, there is some activity. A small brook of water coming from an underground fountain, is the first sign that the Zambezi river still runs here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally aired on TV1's Newsline program on 19 May 2017 and the video can be watched here.

Source: Source of Zambezi River Dries Up Due To Climate Change (21/5/17)


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Zim Parks Officials Accused Of Stealing Rhino Horns Granted Bail

Four parks officials in Zimbabwe have appeared in court over the theft of 56 rhino horns reported to be worth up to $3 million.


Four parks officials in Zimbabwe have appeared in court over the theft of 56 rhino horns reported to be worth up to $3 million.
The horns were among thousands kept under tight security at Zimbabwe’s national parks headquarters in Harare.
The state-run Herald is reporting that former parks director-general Edson Chidziya is being charged with criminal abuse of office.
Three other parks officials, including an audit manager, have been arrested.
They appeared in court on Tuesday and are all out on bail of $200.
State prosecutors allege that sometime between 2012 and 2015 Chidziya allowed a breach of security at the strong-room where thousands of rhino horns were kept.
Chidziya was boss of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority when Cecil the Lion story broke in 2015 and he’s the official who imposed a temporary ban on trophy hunting around Hwange National Park in the wake of that killing.

Monday, 15 May 2017

$3 million rhino horns missing at ZimParks

Fifty-six rhino horns worth US$3 million vanished from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority stores in Harare, a board of inquiry has found.

The board of inquiry wants former ZimParks Director-General Mr Edson Chidziya to account for the loss, and also be investigated by the police for allegedly violating tender regulations. Mr Chidziya was fired for maladministration and abuse of office. The rhino horn trade is prohibited under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, but black markets - especially in Asia - offer lucrative returns.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri confirmed receiving the board's report.

ZimParks board chair Mr Tichafa Mundangepfupfu told The Sunday Mail: "The issue of missing rhino horns is before the ZRP's department of Economic Crimes unit and we are expecting to go to court soon. "On the issue of maladministration, we brought (Mr Chidziya) before a disciplinary hearing and he was found guilty; that's why he was dismissed. In fact, we are in the process of hunting for a new director-general."

However, when asked to comment on the stage of investigations, Police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said, "I don't know what you are talking about."

The board's report reads, "At criminal level, the director-general should be charged with C/S 184 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) 'Criminal abuse of duty as public officer'. (He) exhibited a high level of negligence in the execution of his duties relevant to the matter at hand in that . . .he failed to put in place security and control measures to prevent pilferage of rhino horns."

According to the report, ZimParks had 4 303 rhino horns at its headquarters in 2011, some of which were deposited around 1989. The report says an internal audit in 2014 showed that one rhino horn was missing and the matter was reported to police on Mr Chidziya's instruction. But another audit in 2015 established that 56 rhino horns were missing, and the board queried how the first audit had failed to detect the loss of the other 55 horns and why Mr Chidziya did not report the matter to police.

"When the initial one rhino horn was discovered to be missing, a prompt report was made to the police at the behest of the director-general. However, when a similar and more serious case of the 56 missing rhino horns was brought to his attention, he did not report it to police since July 2015 to date. On being questioned by the board of inquiry, the director-general said that he wanted to get a second opinion to authenticate the quantities before making a report. It was the responsibility of Edson Chidziya to ensure that the matter was reported to the police.

"The authority did not make an internal investigation in this matter with a view of establishing the perpetrator and or circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the horns."

The board says Mr Chidziya did not institute sound inventory and security measures in keeping with standard procedures.

Earlier in 2012, senior parks officer Padgewell Mazoyo - who was in charge of the stores - fell ill and was temporarily replaced by Mr Munyaradzi Nhira. "In the intervening period and contrary to the standing operating procedures, Munyaradzi Nhira did not invite security personnel to witness his entrance into and exit from the ivory and rhino horn stores," reads the report.

". . .That Munyaradzi Nhira had unlimited and unprocedural access into the ivory and rhino horn stores until April 2014 was discovered upon the return of Padgewell Mazoyo who had been on sick leave from December 2012, indicates a serious gap in monitoring and control systems. Upon assumption of office in the capacity of acting director-general on 1 September 2012 before he was appointed on a substantive basis on 1 May 2013, Edson Chidziya did not draw or cause to be drawn an inventory of rhino horn stocks and neither did he cause routine audits to be done."

The board also established that in 2015, Mr Chidziya - outside of tender procedures - authorised purchase of ZimParks uniforms worth US$365 185 and also got a US$127 398 vehicle for himself.

Source: $3 million rhino horns missing at ZimParks (14/5/17)

More: 
Massive corruption unearthed at National Parks (2/4/17)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Tourism sector records increase in occupancy

Walter Muchinguri and Kudakwashe Mhundwa —

The tourism sector recorded a 6 percent jump in occupancy in the first quarter of the year partly due to a boost in arrivals into the resort town Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said occupancy levels rose to 58 percent in the first quarter from 48 percent to the close of last year.

“Last year our occupancy levels were at 48 percent which means that we lost 52 percent but I am happy to say that the ratios have increased partly due to the arrival of new airlines in Victoria Falls,” he said.

Victoria Falls has witnessed increased arrivals since January as some airlines have established direct routes into Victoria Falls, attracted by the $150 million upgrade of the Victoria Falls airport, which has been nicknamed the game changer.

South African Airways was the first to break the ice when it introduced its new Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a capacity of 222 passengers, 36 business class and 186 economy class on the Johannesburg-Victoria Falls route on March 1.

This was followed by Ethiopian Airlines’ launch of its inaugural direct flight into the resort town of Victoria Falls from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 26. The airline is using a Boeing 737-800 with 16 seats in business class and 119 in economy class. Kenya Airways also launched a direct flight between Nairobi and Victoria Falls via Cape Town using an Embraer E190, with a configuration of 12 business class seats and 84 economy class seats, at the beginning of this month while Airlink will launch flights between Cape Town and Victoria Falls on July 2.

Dr Kaseke said the arrival of the new airlines should ignite interest in other airlines to introduce flights into the resort town, while predicting that the new airlines which are currently doing a limited number of flights per week will be flying daily into the Victoria Falls come year-end. He added that it was now up to the tourism sector to ensure that they are geared for the increase in arrivals.

“The arrival of these airlines increases seat capacity on this route and this will result in increased demand for rooms.

“As an industry the ball is firmly in our court we need to implement robust strategies to ensure that our visitors are well catered for,” he said.

He commended the Department of Immigration for downgrading 50 countries from category C to category B allowing nationals from those countries to apply for visas at the point of entry.

Tour operators in the resort town are already gearing up for increased numbers by increasing the number of vehicles now stationed within the airport’s parking lot.

“We have had to scale-up operations as you can see there are considerably more vehicles here than before, business has picked up.

“As we speak tour operators are putting in orders for new vehicles in order to ensure customer satisfaction,” said one operator who declined to be named.

Rainbow Tourism Group chief executive Mr Tendai Madziwanyika last week indicated that as a group they were already gearing for growth in Victoria Falls, which would be implemented under various strategies that they were looking at.

“The first is that we want to organically grow the business. We do not need to look outward but inward for growth because for instance right now A’Zambezi is full. A’Zambezi has 87 rooms, we can increase that with the space we have. Victoria Falls Rainbow has 88 rooms we can double the rooms. We are seeing a natural expansion, natural growth model.

“The business is functioning and we are failing to accommodate everyone so there is a natural case for expansion,” he said.

The tourism sector is one of the quick wins in terms of economic turnaround. In the last 24 months the ZTA has registered 28 new restaurants, 17 new guesthouses and 28 incentive travel organisers.

Last year it generated $819 million in revenue as tourist arrivals rose 5 percent to 2 167 686 from 2 056 588 in the prior year. The sector contributes 10,9 percent contribution to the country`s GDP.

Source: Tourism sector records increase in occupancy (12/05/17)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

RTG invests $1m in hotels upgrade

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter

RAINBOW Tourism Group (RTG) has spent $1 million in upgrading its hotels despite 11 percent drop in revenue in 2016.

In a statement accompanying the group’s financial results from the year ended December 31, 2016, RTG chairman Mr John Chikura said the capital expenditure for the refurbishment exercise was secured from internally generated cash flows.

“The company spent $1 million in upgrading its hotels. The capital expenditure was funded from internally generated cash flows. The focus hotels were Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre (KHCC), New Ambassador Hotel and Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel.

“The refurbishment works at KHCC commenced during the last quarter of 2015,” he said adding that as at December 31, 2016 about 40 percent of the rooms had been refurbished with external painting of the hotel completed.

New Ambassador Hotel has refurbished 50 percent of its 72 rooms with a focus on the in-room furniture, floors and bathrooms.

“The refurbishment at Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel commenced in November 2016. A complete facelift of the rooms, which includes replacing furniture, fittings and soft furnishings as well as air conditioning equipment is being undertaken. Half of the rooms have now been completely refurbished,” said Mr Chikura.

During the period under review, RTG recorded a 11 percent drop in revenue from $26,9 million in 2015 to $24,1 million last year.

In the first four months of 2016, RTG experienced steady revenue growth, which decelerated during the second into the third quarter of the year due to exogenous factors in the country.
Mr Chikura said during the period his organisation lost $800 000 in revenue due to direct cancellation of confirmed bookings.

“The net effect of these disturbances resulted in Rainbow Towers Hotel recording a revenue decline of $3.2 million compared to its 2015 performance. This had a negative impact on the company’s overall performance as the hotel contributes over 40 percent to the company total revenues. In contrast, the company’s other hotels recorded one percent revenue growth compared to 2015,” he said.

RTG’s total loss for the year including discontinued operations closed at $4.7 million compared to a loss of $29 000 recorded in the previous year.
Discontinued operations alone posted a loss of $1,6 million, which translates to 34 percent of the total loss for the year.

“Notwithstanding depressed cash flows, the company made significant progress on debt reduction. During the year, the debt was reduced by $2 million (11 percent) from 2015 position of $19 million to $17 million as at December 31, 2016,” said Mr Chikura.

The firm’s negative working capital as at December 31, 2016 was $25.6 million and the amount includes the $13,6 million loan from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and its accrued interest arrears all contributing 60 percent of the negative working capital.

RTG board chairman said during the course of last year, NSSA tabled a term sheet to restructure the $13.6 million loan facility by further seven years at a reduced interest rate of six percent.
The board approved the term sheet in March last year.

“However, the restructuring proposal was not presented before shareholders as it later became apparent to the board during the year that a resolution would not obtain requisite approval at an extraordinary general meeting.

“Subsequent to this, NSSA instituted legal proceedings against RTG in order to recover the initial loan of $10 million plus interest. In December, 2016, the High Court issued a judgment in favour of NSSA for the $10 million facility.

“NSSA is yet to execute its judgment and has allowed the company to focus on alternative ways of restructuring the balance sheet, including the NSSA debt,” said Mr Chikura.

Source: RTG invests $1m in hotels upgrade (8/5/17)

Monday, 8 May 2017

Livingstone Online Builds Partnership with the Livingstone Museum

by Jared McDonald, University of the Free State, South Africa
Livingstone Online has been building a partnership with the Livingstone Museum in Zambia since early 2016. This partnership was strengthened recently when I undertook a week-long visit to the Museum.
The Livingstone Museum is the oldest museum in Zambia, having opened in 1934. Situated in the town of Livingstone, near Victoria Falls, the Museum has important archaeological, ethnological, and cultural artefacts in its holdings. The Museum also hosts a permanent exhibit on David Livingstone. The many items on display include Livingstone’s notebooks, a signed copy of Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, and other personal possessions, such as Livingstone’s raincoat, cutlery, and medicine chest.
The Livingstone Museum is also home to a sizeable collection of David Livingstone’s original letters. Over the last year, Livingstone Online, in collaboration with the Jafuta Foundation, has begun partnering with the Livingstone Museum with a view to digitizing the Museum’s Livingstone manuscripts and other historical artefacts. My visit was facilitated by Jafuta Foundation trustee, Gail van Jaarsveldt, who has been instrumental in forging the ties between the Livingstone Museum and Livingstone Online.
The visit afforded me the opportunity to build relationships with the Livingstone Museum’s dedicated staff and to update the Livingstone Online Digital Catalogue by consulting the Museum’s collection of Livingstone manuscripts. In an exciting development, I identified over 20 previously uncatalogued letters, along with five hand-drawn maps and gathered the information needed to add them to the Livingstone Online Digital Catalogue.
I was also able to discuss the Museum’s needs in terms of the long-term preservation of Livingstone manuscripts with Museum Director, George Mudenda, and other Museum staff, all of whom are committed to the important role the Museum plays in preserving the history and heritage of Zambia and the Victoria Falls region.
Livingstone Online is very pleased to partner with the Livingstone Museum, which is recognized as one of the most important repositories of David Livingstone manuscripts in Southern Africa. In addition to digitizing the Museum’s Livingstone manuscripts, Livingstone Online and the Jafuta Foundation are also planning to assist the Museum with the conservation of the physical letters. Furthermore, the Livingstone Museum will be able to draw upon this partnership to better preserve other collections in its manuscript and artifact holdings.
Along with Gail van Jaarsveldt and the Jafuta Foundation, the Livingstone Online team looks forward to future collaboration with the Livingstone Museum and to continuing to build our developing partnership.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Victoria Falls Airport thieves kept in lock-up

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

FOUR villagers from Lupinyu near Victoria Falls International Airport who broke into a compound at the airport and stole household property worth $6 600 yesterday appeared in court facing theft and housebreaking charges.

The villagers allegedly cut the perimeter fence at the airport to gain entry into the compound, which houses workers and management of the Chinese company, China Jiangsu that upgraded the airport.
Dalubuhle Kona (32), Ceasemore Nyoni (25), Khulumani Ngwenya (30) and Nkosiyazi Kugedera (23) all from Lupinyu BH114 under Chief Mvuthu were convicted on their own plea by Victoria Falls resident magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa.

She remanded them in custody to today for sentencing. The four accused committed the crimes between April 13 and 17. The complainant in the matter is Mr Simbarashe Gomo, an engineer who had been left in charge of the premises in the absence of his workmates.

“On April 13 at about 3.30PM the complainant left for Bulawayo after closing all windows and doors. During the period April 13 to 16, and during the complainant’s absence, the accused persons forced open a bedroom and toilet window to gain entry,” said the prosecutor.

The court was told that on April 20, Mr Gomo returned from Bulawayo and discovered that his cottage had been broken into and made a report to the police.

From his house property worth, $4 967 was stolen while the rest was stolen from two other houses.
The stolen property includes laptops, plasma TV sets, beds, clothes, electrical gadgets, tables and chairs, kitchen utensils and blankets among others.

Following the quartet’s arrest property valued at $6 480 was recovered. Mr Listen Nare is appearing for the State.

@ncubeleon

Source: Victoria Falls Airport thieves kept in lock-up (03/05/17)

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

More arrests over Victoria Falls visa fraud

THREE more immigration officers have been arrested in Victoria Falls, bringing to 10 the number of officers arrested for altering visas for visitors at ports of entry.

Billy Nyasha (31) Shepherd Nyabanga (28) and MaClean Nhunge were arrested at Kazungula Border Post after allegedly pocketing a combined $840 thereby defrauding the State.

They appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa on Friday charged with fraud.

Ms Maphosa released them on $200 bail each to May 10. They were ordered not to interfere with witnesses and to reside at their given addresses.

Allegations are that the trio, acting separately, attended to British and Canadian visitors who should pay $55 and $75 respectively for a single entry visa.

Nyasha, Nyabanga and Nhunge allegedly recorded lesser amounts on receipt books and pocketed the difference.

Their actions allegedly prejudiced the State of varying amounts of money, all amounting to $840.
For the State, Mr Takunda Ndovorwi said the crimes were committed between April 21 and April 23.

"Nyasha attended to one British national who he recorded as an American. The visitor paid $55 but the accused only receipted $30 which he also didn't remit thereby prejudicing Government of $55," said the prosecutor.

Nyabanga allegedly prejudiced the State of $430 after misrepresenting on the nationalities of tourists entering the country, while Nhunge is alleged to have defrauded the State of $355 after doing the same.

The three join Promise Miti (37), Maboreke Enock Takura (29), Nonhlanhla Nyathi (39), Aron Mamvura (40) and Patience Chivi (31) as well as Kushinga Goremusandu and James Marowa whose ages were not given who appeared before the same court last week for similar crimes committed at the Victoria Falls International Airport. The seven were also remanded to May 10 on $200 bail each.

Source: More arrests over Victoria Falls visa fraud (02/05/17)

More: 16 immigration officers nabbed in one month (16/05/17)