Footsteps Through Time

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

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New Dispensation Real Boon for Tourism

Since the coming in of the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe, tourism receipts have dramatically increased and statistics from the Victoria Falls alone, can confirm, captains of the tourism industry have said.
Hotels in the Victoria Falls, it emerged, are now fully booked for September and October, which has not happened in recent years, as Zimbabwe continues to open for business.
In presentations made on the side lines of the Africa Indaba Travel and Tourism Expo, in Durban recently, Africa Albida tourism chief executive Mr Ross Kennedy, Rainbow Tourism Group chief executive Tendai Madzivanyika and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief Executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke, separately acknowledged to boon in tourism.
Mr Kennedy said there was a 48 percent increase in air traffic arrivals at the Victoria Falls International Airport from January to April compared to the same period last years.
"This is not just a percentage. The additional tourist arrivals via the airport are actually 17 680 from last year's figures.
"Although the Victoria Falls Bridge has not done the same in terms of compiling statistics, the border posts around Victoria Falls recorded a 30 percent increase which is 87 000 people in the same period.
"There are now 55 scheduled flights from Victoria Falls each week and if you ask me, what was there last year, you get nothing near half of that. Try and link this to the rest of the country and see the multiplying effect.
"Our industry is driven by perception. One man went to Davos (President Mnangagwa) and things changed. We export more to happen this year," he said.
In a separate presentation RTG chief executive Mr Madzivanyika, confirmed Mr Kennedy's story and said the new dispensation had really opened the fortunes of the industry.
"There is serious recognition of the efforts by the new Government by the international community due to the re-engagement efforts. Indeed the efforts are bearing fruits. In the quarter of this year alone, our hotel occupancy increased by 20 percent.
"Where is the world have you seen such phenomenal growth in four months? It can only be in Zimbabwe. We all now have hope. Hope makes you face up and the moment you face up, you are going forward," said Mr Madzivanyika.
ZTA CE Mr Karikoga Kaseke said he was worried by the capacity of the Victoria Falls to have enough rooms for a boom in tourism.
"There is a an tour operator exhibiting here who approached me yesterday to say he has failed to get accommodation in Victoria Falls for a group of 20 in September. The industry then told me it is full up to end of October. It is going to be worse.
"We must start working on our room capacity," he said.
Source: New Dispensation Real Boon for Tourism (15/05/18)

Chinese, US firms in joint bid for Batoka


Global electrical engineering giants, China Power and General Electric (GE) of the United States have launched a joint bid for a contract to construct the 2, 400 megawatt Batoka Gorge hydropower project being co-developed by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo, while officiating at a Zesa annual risk management awards ceremony on Friday, said the two electrical engineering giants paid him a visit at his offices on Friday and expressed strong interest in the project.

The Energy Minister said that while Zimbabwe had successfully commissioned the Kariba South Extension project, in March this year, which added 300MW to national electricity grid, the country was remained shot of adequate power, adding Harare’s goal was to be energy self-sufficient as well as be a net exporter of power.

As such, Minister Moyo said that he would engage his Zambian counterparts to discuss ways in which the implementation of the Batoka power project, which the two countries urgently need to resolve power deficits in their countries, could be expedited.

The Batoka Gorge sits on the Zambezi River, whose administration the riparian states share.

It also supplies water to the jointly owned Kariba Dam, which the two countries use for power generation, 1050MW for Zimbabwe and for 1080MW for Zambia.

“This morning (Friday), I received representatives from China Power and General Electric (GE) from the US. They have shown great enthusiasm to move into Batoka (hydropower project),” he said.

“I do know my colleagues would want to accept this development. I will consult and we will meet, as members of the Zambezi River Authority to discuss how we can speed up the programme.”

The $3 billion Batoka power station will be situated about 60 kilometres downstream of the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and is expected to improve the two countries’ power supply, currently in deficit and also feed into the Southern African Power Pool.

Zimbabwe and Zambia’s demand for energy are forecast to more than double by 2035.




x

Baboon Mauls Baby

A Victoria Falls woman has told of her shock after she found a baboon mauling her one-year-old baby after it caught her playing with her sibling at home.
Jean Gama said she did not believe the girl would survive the vicious attack by the usually friendly primate a fortnight ago, which left her with huge scars on her head and face.
“My daughter was playing outside the house with her 12-year-old brother, while I prepared breakfast for them at around 9am,” she told The Standard.
“Suddenly I heard her scream like someone who was in severe pain.
“I rushed outside and found the baboon had sunk its teeth on her scalp and face.
“I hit it with a huge stone and that’s when it finally loosened its grip on her before fleeing.
"Apparently the baboon wanted to take away my daughter’s doll. The baboon’s teeth penetrated her skull and I don’t know what it means for her health as she grows up."
Gama sought treatment for her daughter in Zambia because there was no medication at health centres in the resort town.
The doctors gave the child several injections of antibiotics to prevent any infections. However, the doctors said her scars would take some time to heal.
“When we took her to hospital she was bleeding profusely and was unconscious,” Gama said.
“At the hospital there was another woman whose son had also been bitten by a baboon.”
Chinotimba residents said baboons had become a menace in their neighbourhood as they broke their windows and doors in search of food.
The baboons also attack women and children, but the mauling of the baby was the most violent incident in recent years.
Other areas where baboons invade people’s homes are Aerodrome, Bongoland and the central business district.
“We keep our windows and doors closed all the time because of the marauding baboons,” said Reuben Dube, a Chinotimba resident.

“They take away anything they find in the house and we no longer have gardens because they destroy our crops.
“We have made several reports to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) but they don’t respond.”
Dube said parents now accompany their children to and from school on a daily basis out of fear of attack by the baboons.
However, Zimparks blamed the influx of baboons in residential areas on residents that give them food.
“They must not be given food or anything,” Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said.
“There is nothing much that we can do because they will be moving in their corridors. Residents must take safety measures while we do our part.”
Source: Baboon Mauls Baby (15/5/18)

Friday, 11 May 2018

Victoria Falls council considers imposing tourism levy; govt condemns move

VICTORIA Falls Municipality is planning to introduce a tourism levy where tour operators will be expected to pay $1 for each visitor booking with them either for accommodation or activities in the resort town.
Town Clerk Ronnie Dube said funds raised through the tax would be used for infrastructure development.
However, tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira said it was folly for council to demand a levy from tour operators who are already paying rates.
“The tourism levy is for development and not for cleaning,” she said.
“Operators pay rates to council and we can’t have them paying an extra charge.
“The local authority is mandated by government to develop infrastructure which is why they collect rates, even from the same operators they want to charge.”
This is not the first time the local authority has made the proposal. In 2013 the municipality proposed charging a levy on tourists visiting the rainforest to raise revenue for infrastructure development in the resort town.
Meanwhile, Victoria Falls residents have been calling for free entry into Rainforest, saying they cannot afford to pay $7 entry fees for locals.
The complaint has been at various platforms where residents have argued that they were not benefitting from the resource yet it’s their God-given wonder.
Minister Mupfumira said government is considering allowing locals free access into the Rainforest as a way of promoting domestic tourism.
“I support the idea and agree with locals,” she said.
“People living in Victoria Falls must have a chance to visit the Rainforest freely or pay a small fee because this is their resource.”

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Zimbabwe Is Back With Record Numbers Of Tourists Visiting Victoria Falls

Tourists are once again flocking to Zimbabwe, with the country’s top resort town of Victoria Falls enjoying record numbers, and healthy forward bookings indicating the boom is set to continue, a leading tourism industry figure says.


Hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said monthly measurements across ten hotels in Victoria Falls revealed a 13 per cent increase in occupancy – with more than 5,000 additional rooms sold – over the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year.
“Talking to colleagues in the town it is clear that forward bookings are much stronger than usual for the rest of 2018 and all indicators for 2019 reflect continued growth,” Mr Kennedy said.
“These bookings suggest that Victoria Falls is heading towards becoming a one season destination, so high season all year, with a few short troughs here and there,” he said.
Other indicators included a 25 per cent growth in revenue across the ten hotels over the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year, as well as an 11 per cent increase in RevPAR (revenue per available room), a key industry measurement.
“The number of new rooms either under construction and/or about to open adds further evidence of the confidence that existing and new investors are showing in Victoria Falls as a tourist destination,” he said.
Victoria Falls was not alone in drawing large numbers of tourists, with nearby Hwange National Park enjoying a busy year last year, and, also experiencing significant growth and new investment into new camps and lodges, he said.
“There are four or five new camps and lodges that have opened or are about to open in the Hwange area, as well as two or three new investors into existing National Parks’ concessions,” Mr Kennedy said.
“On the back of this very clear demand for Victoria Falls and the region, airlines such as SA Airlink are increasing capacity on the Cape Town – Victoria Falls route from July 2018.”
Reports from Matopos, Mana Pools and Kariba also suggest that arrivals and interest are significantly up, but air access needs to be improved to these destinations, and the self-drive market – local, regional and international – to return, he said.
“Together with this growth trend the industry looks forward to the day when our national airline, Air Zimbabwe, is flying tourists around Zimbabwe to most of our incredible destinations, with improved access for domestic tourists and visitors alike.”
A reliable and affordable national airline would support the Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira’s initiative for a greater domestic tourism campaign, he added.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Croc attack couple opens up

A WOMAN who lost an arm in a crocodile attack in the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls five days before her wedding has revealed how, before the horrific incident, her only worry was decorating the wedding venue and other associated preparations for their nuptials.

Speaking for the first time in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle in Bulawayo yesterday, Mrs Zanele Ndlovu-Fox and her husband Mr Jamie Fox said their love was enough to overcome the tragedy.

The beautiful story of the two, whose love got an acid test a few days before their wedding, has attracted international media attention as they are living proof that love conquers all.

Mrs Ndlovu-Fox was attacked by a crocodile while she was canoeing in the mighty Zambezi River with her then fiancĂ©’s family.

The surprisingly cheerful Mrs Ndlovu-Fox animatedly described how her husband risked his life to literally snatch her back from the jaws of the crocodile.

“We were canoeing in the upper Zambezi using those inflated rafts. The waters were very calm, we had guides and there were about seven canoes in the water,” she said glancing lovingly at her husband who was massaging her feet that were draped on him on the balcony of the Catholic-run Mater Dei hospital.

“The crocodile just jumped out of the water and bit a chunk of my arm together with the side of the boat”.

The couple said guides had told them crocodiles were rare in that part of the river.

“The canoe started deflating and it all happened so fast. The crocodile bit me again and pulled me into the water. My husband was thrown out on the opposite side so the boat was between us,” Mrs Ndlovu-Fox said.

“Jamie swam over to where I was struggling with the crocodile that was trying to pull me to the bottom of the river. He grabbed my waist and with the other hand he rained blows on the crocodile”.
At this point, the couple gazed into each other’s eyes and burst out laughing.

“It all happened so fast. We have conflicting accounts of events,” said Mr Fox.

They said when the guides saw them battling the huge reptile, they joined in.

“The crocodile finally let go,” said Mr Fox.

Mrs Ndlovu-Fox said her right arm, just above the elbow, was in tatters.

“The pain was excruciating but with my husband by my side, I summoned the strength to fight through it,” said a beaming Mrs Ndlovu-Fox, who appeared unperturbed by her condition.

She said they were rushed to safety and her husband was visibly in shock but tried to calm her down.

A helicopter airlifted them to a hospital in Victoria Falls where she was then transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in the city.

“I get depressed by people who come here and start crying you know. I know people feel pity for me at this moment but being more sorrowful does not help the situation,” said Mrs Ndlovu-Fox.

“I look forward to friends and family who are going to make me laugh and not remind me of what is going on. I actually spend my time comforting my relatives”

Her arm had to be amputated following the attack a few days before their big day.

Defying odds, the two wed in a beautiful ceremony facilitated by Mater Dei Hospital at the hospital’s chapel.

“I spent a lot of time preparing for my wedding day, running around for a venue, decor and so forth. I didn’t know that fate would have me wed in a hospital chapel, with one limb missing. But in all this, I’m not complaining, my wedding was the best, and I have a wonderful husband,” Mrs Ndlovu-Fox said.

The couple could not keep their hands off each other throughout the interview.

Asked why he had not run for the hills instead of tying the knot, Mr Fox said: “It’s a miracle; there is no other way to explain it. I thought it was some joke and someone was pranking us. It took about five seconds for me to see it was real,” said the groom.

“I love her even more and this incident actually made me feel the deep meaning in our vows. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, that’s just how our love is going to be. I never even at one point had the thought of calling off the wedding.”

“We met in 2016. I had come to Zimbabwe for some programme. I knew then that I wanted to marry her.

“I visited the country a couple of times, but I finally proposed in February 2018 at Antelope Park in Gweru. She said yes. I was at my most nervous as I so much wanted her to say yes. She agreed and I approached her family, paid bride price and we set off planning our wedding. She was responsible for wedding preps and I was sorting out her visa.”

The couple are preparing travelling documents as they will be relocating to the United Kingdom soon.

The wedding had to be conducted at the Mater Dei hospital chapel where a Methodist pastor officiated before an unexpected 60 guests.

Another wedding ceremony continued — in their absence — at Busters Sports Club in Hillside, which had initially been booked for the wedding.

A majority of the guests first heard of the attack at the ceremony.

“Our wedding was blissful. It was perfect and there were so many people in the chapel. We watched the other ceremony on videos and we saw photos. It was beautiful. I really wish we were there but I’m so happy that the wedding proceeded despite all the drama,” said Mr Fox.

The love birds could not stop smiling as they sat on the balcony of the hospital ward while admiring the beautiful scenery.

“There’s always something good about life to celebrate. Just look at how beautiful this view is. Sunshine and green, it’s beautiful,” said Mrs Ndlovu-Fox as her husband continued massaging her foot.

Mrs Ndlovu-Fox was a renowned junior Tennis player. She played for the Dominican Convent School first team, represented Bulawayo province and toured southern Africa playing International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments.

Source: Croc attack couple opens up (08/05/18)

More: Crocodile attacks tourists canoeing in Zambezi River (08/05/18)

Investor keen to bring Grand Prix to Victoria Falls

THE world of motor racing could soon be coming to Zimbabwe after an investor expressed interest in developing the sport’s facilities in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira told the media in Victoria Falls last week that among potential investors that had responded to the Government’s call for partners in infrastructure development under the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, was an interest in bringing the Grand Prix to Zimbabwe.

“We are currently going through proposals. We are looking at having a theme park because activities are limited in Victoria Falls. People have sent their proposals and there is also sports tourism included. Somebody is interested in bringing the Grand Prix to Victoria Falls,” said Minister Mupfumira.

The Grand Prix is held as an international sport in many countries and involves a series of motor-racing or motorcycling contests under international rules.

Government is planning to turn Victoria Falls into its conference capital with state-of-the-art facilities ranging from five to seven star hotels, recreational, banking and sporting facilities.

The Government has since courted some investors with China expressing interest.

The Victoria Falls local authority has also invited investors to partner it in building a one-stop sports facility in the resort town as efforts to develop sports tourism gather momentum.

Minister Mupfumira said work on the ground on some of the infrastructure could start soon once investors are approved.

The Zimbabwe Rugby Union has already engaged council to upgrade Chinotimba Stadium into a multi disciplinary sport facility to be able to host various activities, including the Kwese Sevens Rugby tournament.

Zimbabwe Cricket was allocated land to construct a 10 000-seater stadium in Victoria Falls about four years ago, although nothing has materialised.

All efforts are aimed at developing sport tourism and bringing world events to Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most preferred destinations but has failed to attract world sporting events because of lack of infrastructure.

In August last year, World Chess Federation president Kirsan Nikolayevich IIyumzhinov said Zimbabwe was likely to host the Chess World Cup in 2021.

Source: Investor keen to bring Grand Prix to Victoria Falls (07/05/18)

More: Is motor racing coming to Zimbabwe (08/05/18)

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Crocodile attacks tourists canoeing in Zambezi River

A DARING crocodile which last week attacked two canoes carrying tourists in the Zambezi River has been put down to save lives after one of the tourists lost her arm in the attack.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Zanele Ndlovu was attacked while paddling down the Zambezi in the company of her husband and two other tourists.
“We started hunting for it on Wednesday and we managed to shoot it on Friday afternoon with the assistance from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) ranger,” a tour guide, Skinner Ndlovu said.
“We were monitoring it and after positively identified it through its bruises and being territorial, we shot it when it was sun basking. Such crocodiles are a danger to human beings, so it was no longer safe to do speed boating at the site,” he said.
Adventure Zone owner Brent Williams and professional guide Misheck Ngwenya told Southern Eye that the problem crocodile attacked Ndlovu on April 30 and cut off her right arm.
“I did a detailed safety briefing and started the trip around 9:30am. We paddled down the river for about an hour with everyone having fun. We went through some rapids between picnic site Number Seven and picnic site Number Six. After this, we were drifting down from picnic site Number Six towards picnic site Number Four when out of nowhere a huge crocodile attacked one of our canoes with two guests inside,” Ngwenya said.
“It attacked the middle of the canoe which resulted in it puncturing both front and back tubes. I paddled to rescue them while calling Zenzele and Norman to come and assist. Ndlovu, who was with her husband, was sitting in the front of the canoe and she fell into the river first, while the crocodile was still holding on to the canoe.
When I got there I tried to pull the lady into my canoe and the croc charged at me, but missed, but punctured my canoe resulting in me falling into the water.
“The crocodile turned on Ndlovu, biting her on her upper right bicep. The croc then attempted the death roll, breaking off the lady’s arm. At this time, Norman managed to pull her into the canoe and paddled to the river bank.”
Brent said Ndlovu was evacuated by the Zambezi helicopter and rushed to a local hospital. She is receiving treatment at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo where the doctors amputated her arm.
Reports are that Ndlovu married her United Kingdom-based husband Jamie Fox on Saturday while in her hospital bed.
Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident and urged Victoria Falls residents and tourists to avoid picnicking at the river banks without guides.
Last Wednesday, a Chinotimba woman was also nearly swept away while bathing along the riverbed while another tourist nearly drowned after diving into the river last month.

Violent baboons terrorize Victoria Falls residents

Frequent raids by troops of baboons which are terrorising children and women have seen growing calls by the Chinotimba residents in Victoria Falls for responsible authorities to intervene and put to an end the destruction being caused by the animals.

“Enough is enough!” -that is the strong message by the angry Chinotimba residents who say they cannot endure the continued harassment and terror due to the regular raids by a troop of baboons.
The baboons, which often behaves like human beings and are very good tricksters, have kept the residents under lock fearing for their lives.

The animals are said to have become more violent, terrorising children, stealing foodstuffs and in some cases slapping as well as biting residents.

“We are living in fear; these baboons have become a big menace. For how long should we continue to be terrorised? Responsible authorities should surely act before lives are lost,” said one angry resident.
Broken windows, damaged cars and body scars will make one think Chinotimba is a war zone.

While there are no casualties so far, the residents feel behaviour by the animals is a clear declaration of war.

For now it seems the baboons are winning the war.

“We feel Zimparks and all the responsible authorities should come to our rescue and save us from these animals,” said another resident.

The community feels the responsible authorities should urgently intervene before lives are lost.

Some residents feel the Zimparks should relocate some of the animals to places where there are fewer baboons such as Harare and Bulawayo.

“If they could capture them and send them to other places where there are no baboons like Harare that would help us,” Another resident said.

The biggest question is whether the Harare mayor and the residents will accept the generous donation?

The answer is likely to be straight forward, “keep your baboons and we will keep our skyscrapers.”

While the residents pray for some intervention, they have devised ways of minimising the attack for instance men are now tasked to buy bread which is then stashed in a satchel while catapults have become a popular toy for the young ones.

“Varume ndiwo vakunotenga chingwa mazuva ano(Men are the ones who are now going to buy bread). We are afraid of being terrorised. If they buy the bread it will be stashed in a satchel to avoid being confronted,” said another resident.

Victoria Falls is surrounded by game parks and cases of human-wildlife conflict are a common issue in the area. As the resort town expands with more properties being constructed close to the animals territories, there are fears of increased cases of human-wildlife conflict.

Source: Violent baboons terrorize Victoria Falls residents (07/05/18)