Zambezi Book Company

Zambezi Book Company
Discover the history of the Victoria Falls with the Zambezi Book Company -

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Tourism partners initiate Victoria Falls recycling scheme

An ambitious project by a local hospitality group is going to make Zimbabwe’s prime resort area, Victoria Falls a green and sustainable city.

Victoria Falls Recycling, an initiative of Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) in partnership with Greenline Africa, Victoria Falls Municipality and PetrecoZim, is working with various stakeholders among them local hotels, lodges, residents and retailers to ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment for future generations.
AAT group operations manager Andy Conn said Victoria Falls Recycling was the result of growing concerns by the hospitality group’s directors that Victoria Falls town, the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was losing the battle against plastic.
“Following some heart-wrenching incidents in which a number of elephants died with traces of plastic in their digestive systems, certain companies and individuals funded the electrified fencing of the municipal dumpsite. The next step was to create a recycling centre,” Conn said.
“Africa Albida Tourism engaged Charlene Hewat to spearhead the Victoria Falls Recycling project, which has played a massive role in eliminating plastic, glass, paper/cardboard and cans from the dumpsite. These materials are baled and removed from Victoria Falls. The goal, however, is to create a local, sustainable industry to manufacture useable items such as bricks and crafts from the recyclable waste that we collect.”
According to AAT, Victoria Falls was growing and it was crucial that as much waste as possible is recycled, thus reducing the amount of litter on the streets and waste landing on the dumpsite.
Victoria Falls Recycling has collected and baled more than 24 tonnes of waste for recycling in its first nine months of operation.
The waste includes 9,4 tonnes of paper and cardboard, 8,8 tonnes of plastics, nearly 3 tonnes of glass, 1,2 tonnes of kaylite, 926kg of cans and 730kg of Tetra Pak packaging.
Moreblessing Ndlovu, a supervisor at Victoria Fall Recycling, said the project had empowered several youth and women apart from improving cleanliness in the resort area.
Ndlovu said hotels separate their waste at source before bringing it for recycling at the centre.
She said every month they produce 10 bales of paper weighing up to 250kg each, as well as up to a tonne of PET plastic which comes from the dumpsite.
Hewat, a prominent conservationist said under the project Victoria Falls should become one of the cleanest towns in the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area.
She expressed concern that Zimbabweans were no longer serious about protecting the environment.
“I remember when we were kids, we were called litterbugs if we polluted,” Hewat said.
“But now we see kids and people in fancy cars throwing papers, including our Parliamentarians who were here in Victoria Falls recently littering everywhere. I am sorry, but if they (MPs) can’t get it right how about ordinary Zimbabweans?”
Hewat said despite such setbacks, Victoria Falls Recycling was working well with the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce among other stakeholders who have adopted areas to clean up.
“There is a buy-in from everyone to make Victoria Falls the cleanest and greenest tourism destination in Africa,” she said.
Hewat said the project has grown rapidly and will relocate to a bigger site to be provided by the municipality soon.
She said waste collected was being send to bigger recycling plants in Harare and South Africa where it is turned into plastic bags, clothing and fuel.
Hewat said they have a holding bay in Bulawayo where processed waste is stored before being exported to South Africa.
“But we will be starting paper recycling here once we get the bigger space from the local authority and we will also look into how to make furniture using waste paper,” she said.
Hewat said Victoria Falls Recycling was also into tree planting to make the resort town greener.
She said the project was looking into making roof tiles using aluminum cans while empty bottles were now being turned into water glasses, chandeliers and candle holders among other things which are being sold to hotels and tourists.
Victoria Falls Recycling was also looking into making artefacts from waste.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Victoria Falls Hotel plans major refurbishment

For only the fifth time in its 115-year history The Victoria Falls Hotel is to undergo a major refashioning and refurbishment programme, starting January 2020 and set for completion by early 2021.

The refashioning exercise focuses on most public areas, as well as the bedrooms and suites, apart from those in The Stables Wing.
It is aimed at the creation of a stylish marriage of the hotel's unique historic heritage and introduction of the most modern amenities and facilities expected by top-end travellers of the 21st century.
The acting general manager of the hotel, Mr Farai Chimba, said guided by a values and features programme devised by Source Interior Brand Architecture of South Africa, Project 2021 would enhance The Victoria Falls Hotel's reputation as one of Africa's most significant travel and tourism assets and break exciting new ground in the Zimbabwean hospitality industry.
"Work will be carried out in low-season periods between January 2020 and May 2020 and between January 2021 and May 2021, removing any need to close the hotel for this substantial elevation of physical infrastructure and visual elements, and eliminating any impact on guests staying in the hotel," he said.
The Victoria Falls Hotel was opened in 1904, at the time of the arrival of the northbound railway development that stemmed from a vision to create a Cape-to-Cairo rail system, and just ahead of the opening of the famous road and rail bridge that crosses the gorge below the falls to link Zimbabwe with Zambia.
In the past 115 years there have been major programmes of redevelopment and refurbishment in the formative first decade, and again in the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s, and this programme will thematically use the inspiration of the Victoria Falls Bridge to link the hotel's illustrious past with its exciting future.
"The programme celebrates the hotel's historic architecture while simultaneously addressing the needs of discerning 21st century international travellers. Room layouts have been refined in all refurbished areas to reflect a rationalised selection of style options:
"Key features of the exercise will be increasing inflow of light, granting greater access to views of the hotel grounds, creating walk-in showers in bathrooms, as well as upgrading lighting, air conditioning and electrical features such as points for using and charging devices in all bedrooms and suites.
"The aesthetic thrust will be achieved with the use of new structural features and in the use of colour, furnishings, ornaments and basic décor. The enhancement will give greater flexibility for group bookings with increased inter-leading capabilities," he said.
After final completion in 2021, the 61 Classic bedrooms -- including two Classic Access bedrooms and seven family bedrooms -- will average 25 square metres and offer dedicated entrance foyer, king-sized bed or convertible twin beds, with lounge setting, bathroom with large walk-in shower, full wardrobe with luggage storage, generous refreshment station and luxurious mosquito net enclosure.
The 25 brand new Premium bedrooms will average 43 square metres with dedicated entrance foyer, separate TV lounge, generous refreshment station, king-sized bed or convertible twin beds, with luxurious mosquito enclosure, walk-through dressing area with large wardrobe and luggage storage, bathroom featuring large walk-in shower.
The 11 suites will each average 72 square metres, with dedicated entrance foyer, separate living room including TV lounge, dining area, generous minibar, separate guest WC, luxury king-sized bed or convertible twin beds, with generous mosquito enclosure and in-room lounge area, writing desk and coffee station, walk-through dressing area with large wardrobe and luggage storage, bathroom featuring large walk-in shower and free-standing bath and double vanity feature.
The existing Presidential Suite features with two bedrooms with king-sized bed or convertible twin beds, large living area with separate lounges and dining room, generous bathroom with double walk-in shower. The 42 existing Stables Wing bedrooms and suites remain unchanged.
Mr Chimba said that elements featuring in the designers' and contractors' plans and work would include enhancements through furnishings and fittings, introducing walls and ceiling drops for effect and the use of colours that are simultaneously contemporary and Edwardian: terracotta, pale green, moss green, ivory, grey tones, burnt amber and dark cerulean.
"This will be experienced through furniture, décor, ornaments, features and facilities, with an emphasis on light, bright, cool and comforting, paying genuine homage to a proud history," he said.
"The highest possible levels of environmental sustainability and convenience will be hallmarks of the hotel, which will focus on capturing the elements of Edwardian and contemporary styles that are essential to The Victoria Falls Hotel."
Source: Victoria Falls Hotel Refurbishment Begins (22/11/19)

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The climate change threat to Victoria Falls

Receding water levels at Kariba Dam have meant the two countries that generate electricity from it have to look elsewhere for power supplies. But if climate change has its way, the two countries might lose another key economic contributor and major tourist attraction - Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe and Zambia both generate most of their power from Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River, which is on the border between the two countries.
The Kariba Dam has towered over one of Africa’s mightiest rivers for 60 years, forming the world’s largest reservoir and providing reliable electricity to the two countries.
But as drought grips the region, flow on the Zambezi river has dwindled to a third of what it was a year ago, limiting power generation.
While both countries have looked to South Africa's Eskom as well as the Southern African Power Pool for help, another disaster is looming.
The Victoria Falls, also found along the mighty Zambezi River, and a major tourist drawcard for both countries, is running dry – threatening millions of dollars generated from tourist visits.
At the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge of the falls into a gorge over one hundred meters below.
But without much water, as is the case now, the falls become just another gorge.
Zambian president Edgar Lungu has laid the blame squarely on climate change. 
Using his twitter handle  the statesman bemoaned the impact of climate change on the falls. Attaching pictures showing large sections of the world-famous waterfall completely dried up, he tweeted: "These pictures of the Victoria Falls are a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment and our livelihood.
"[There is] no doubt that developing countries like Zambia are the most impacted by climate change and the least able to afford its consequences."
He added that now is not the time to play "politics with climate change". "We must come together and provide solutions around mitigation and adaptation."
He quoted Republican Political Consultant Whit Ayres: "Denying the basic existence of climate change is no longer a credible position."
Climate change has been found to be the biggest cause of extreme events such as drought and floods, according to the UN expert panel on climate change.
And if indeed the Victoria Falls continue to suffer, it will be a heavy blow. Holidaymakers have long made the journey to see Victoria Falls in its full glory and majesty: the mist, the rainbow and the thunder.
So any disruption caused by climate change on water discharge at the waterfall will be most damaging to the tourism industry in particular, and the two countries' economies in general.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Africa’s Biggest Waterfall at Risk From Drought

The flow at the Africa’s biggest waterfall is at its lowest since 1995, highlighting the threat posed by a drought to tourism and electricity generation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Flow has slumped to 109 cubic meters-per-second (3,850 cubic feet) at Victoria Falls, a 1.7-kilometer (1.1 mile) curtain of falling water at the peak of a normal wet season, according to the Zambezi River Authority. The falls on the Zambezi river straddle the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and the flow of the watercourse fills the Kariba Dam, the site of the two countries’ largest power plants.
The drought threatens to deter tourists from visiting the site, could curtail a lucrative white-water rafting industry in the gorge below the cataract and may see the power plants at Kariba shut down, worsening power cuts in both countries. Elephants at nearby game parks are dying of hunger, further damaging the tourism industry.
“Some of the tourism products that we boast of can be a thing of the past if climate change and global warming are not quickly addressed,” said Godfrey Koti, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Key among Victoria Falls’ attractions is a rain-forest fed by the spray of the thundering waters. That spray gives Victoria Falls’ its local name - Mosi Oa Tunya - The Smoke That Thunders.
“Rafting activities and visits to the rain-forest have declined,” said Clement Mukwasi, president of the Employers Association for Tourism and Safari Operators. “There isn’t much that we can do except for us as an industry to promote awareness of climate change.”
The flow at the falls is volatile. The lowest on record is 99 cubic meters-per-second in October 1996 while the record is 6,172 cubic meters-per-second in April 1977, according to the authority.
This year’s paucity, which has left Kariba 15% full, has already cut power generation at the Zimbabwean plant to just over a 10th of its usual output.
”We are dangerously close to a level where we have to cut off power generation, “ Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s finance minister, told lawmakers in Victoria Falls town on Thursday.
Rains in Zimbabwe normally begin in November and end around April.