Friday, 27 May 2016
The latest development comes a year after the local authority proposed to change the names of Livingstone Way and Park Way to Robert Mugabe Way and Joshua Nkomo Way as a way of honouring the two icons.
City fathers are waiting for the government’s approval to rename the two streets after the country’s liberators.
Town Clerk Christopher Dube said a committee had been set up to spearhead the streets renaming process which is expected to end next month.
He said residents had been tasked through a multi-stakeholder committee to come up with possible names that take into consideration the history of the town and the country.
“We’ve had two meetings so far, the first one being an introductory engagement where we were explaining to people what we intend to do and we asked members of the committee to go and mobilise people to think about possible names and submit to us,” said Dube.
“We’re not concentrating on colonial names. As we speak we’ve 86 streets that have no names while we’ve new suburbs that will be coming soon and all we’re doing is being pro-active and naming all of them.”
Dube said so far only a few names have been proposed by war veterans although he couldn’t be drawn into revealing them.
He said they expect each name proposal to be accompanied by a brief history of the person to be honoured.
The town clerk said once the names have been submitted, the local authority would engage community elders, historians, chiefs and councillors for guidance on historical issues and contributions made by people to be honoured.
Asked whether the council will replace all colonial names, Dube said: “If in the process there are colonial names then we’ll deal with that.
“Already we’ve renamed two streets in honour of our liberation leaders the late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and President Robert Mugabe and we’re waiting for government approval,” added the Town Clerk.
The chairperson of the Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association (Vifacora) Morgan Dube appealed to residents to come up with new names as a matter of urgency.
He said residents were happy that the town would now bear local names they can identify with.
Source: Victoria Falls renames streets (25/5/16)
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
An illegal poacher who set wire snares around Elephant Hills Hotel intending to catch impala and warthogs that roam around the golf-course and grounds has been jailed for an effective four months.
Thirty-one-year old Andrew Chipembere of Chinotimba suburb in Victoria Falls pleaded not guilty to using class one traps for purposes of catching animals when he appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Rangarirai Gakanje last Friday.
He claimed he was wrongfully implicated. “I was just walking towards the river for fishing when the anti-poaching team said I had set wire snares. I always go fishing to raise money for my children,’ said Chipembere in his defence.
The magistrate, after hearing that Chipembere had been convicted twice in 2010 and 2012 for similar offences, sentenced him to four months in jail.
“The accused came up with a story to exonerate himself from a crime he committed. It can’t be coincidental that he is found in a restricted area where wires had been set.
“The state managed to prove its case beyond doubt and he is sentenced to four months,” said Gakanje.
In September 2010, Chipembere was jailed for one month while an additional month was suspended for five years with conditions.
In 2012, he was sentenced to two months in jail and the suspended one month was invoked and he ended up serving three months.
Prosecuting, Takunda Ndovorwi said Chipembere took to his heels when he was spotted by a team from the local Anti-Poaching Unit setting wire snares at the Elephant Hills Golf Course.
He said the team comprising Tanyala Ncube and Godwin Tshuma removed the snares and laid an ambush the following day upon which they arrested Chipembere when he returned to set the wires again.
Source: Hunter sets Impala snares around Elephant Hills Hotel, caged four months (22/05/16)
Friday, 20 May 2016
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
By Sydeny Kawadza
Source: All Africa
A debate between Zimbabweans and Zambians rages when they compare each other's side of the Victoria Falls. It's a typical David and Goliath story.
On one side are the best of hotels and other infrastructure which match world class standards, the other is a pale shadow with nothing to write home about in terms of magnificence and glamour; or to use the anatomical figurativeness, regarding the majestic Seventh Wonder of the World, the Victoria Falls, of a woman facing Zimbabwe and having her back to Zambia.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi made that hilarious comparison in 2014. It is the case of Victoria Falls in the former case and Livingstone, across the river in Zambia.
Zimbabwe could do well to maintain its place as the better of the two sides, having all the ingredients of a world class tourist destination yet a combination of economic factors and decisions are threatening to turn the tables.
Minister Mzembi and other authorities have long called for the arresting of the situation especially with regards to pricing regimes in Zimbabwe which is exacerbated by macro-policies such as the mandatory Value Added Tax.
Take nightlife in the two neighbours for example and one will see how Zimbabwe could end up disingenuously losing out. Victoria Falls is getting quieter by the day. Across the bridge, Livingstone is slowly picking up. Having visited Victoria Falls close to three years, the change is palpable.
One can only reminisce when nightlife competed with the mighty Victoria Falls. The tourist activities in the resort town are just too many, but so exhausting that a night out for a cold Zambezi Lager could cap a good and worthwhile day.
It is this life that was the highlight of a visit to Victoria Falls. It is the night time that the small town would be alive when tourists hop from one bar to the next.
"That life is long gone, my brother! The small number of tourist you see now are in town for the food which is slightly cheaper from the hotels or for those trying something different," Marcelo Ndlovu, a taxi driver said. "By 10pm everything will be quiet and most of the people would be sleeping."
Indeed, Victoria Falls sleeps shortly after 10 o'clock. A reveller would alternatively seek solace in Chinotimba or Mkhosane suburbs, but it's a long shot to "ecstasy". The shops at Sinemane Centre are run down and no "joy" is guaranteed.
At Busi Shopping Centre, the effort is there, but besides the few revellers joined by vendors targeting the late night travellers waiting for Harare and Bulawayo-bound buses, no "joy" is guaranteed.
"Everything has changed from what we had been used to. Even in town it is so quiet and unbelievably so. Victoria Falls was so vibrant, but everything is in the past," Chenai Teguru said.
In the 1990s, DT Club was the place to go, then there was, the Explorers then wooed the "joy-seekers" and even the Victoria Falls Club drew a sizeable crowd.
"Everything is gone. We understand the other bar is going to close down so the hotel can turn it into a casino. It is sad and that should explain the silence that has engulfed the town," John Tshlolani said.
A one night stay in Livingstone proves quite the opposite from Victoria Falls. The tourists are teeming and the town is the liveliest between the "twins".
One of the night spots, 7/ 11 draws the largest crowd since the band Lloyd and The No Parking Band trekked "down south" to Livingstone where it is all happening.
The band will be based at 7 /11, a modest restaurant and bar to Zimbabwean standards, for the next six month.
In Zimbabwe, no live band has dared to move to Victoria Falls since the days of Mandebvu and Harare Mambos.
That explains a lot, doesn't it?
Josiah Phiri, a foreign currency dealer, acknowledges that Livingstone has stolen the thunder from Victoria Falls.
"We admit there are better hotels, infrastructure and other goods in Zimbabwe, but they are very expensive that even Zimbabweans travel to Zambia for basic commodities," he said.
Phiri admitted that the forex business is not that lucrative as the US-Kwacha exchange rate is always fluctuating.
However, the tourist influx is huge. On average accommodation is between US$16 to US$70 for a budget traveller.
On average, accommodation in Victoria Falls is US$90 for a single bed and breakfast booking. The food in Livingstone is relatively cheaper with a quarter chicken and chips costing US$3,50 compared to US$5 in Victoria Falls.
A Mosi Lager sells for US60c compared to US$1 for a pint of Zambezi Lager in Victoria Falls. A pint of beer can go up to US$4 in Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls-based businessman Tonderai Mutasa believes Livingstone has an advantage after Zambia devalued their Kwacha.
"The devaluation of the Zambian Kwacha has made their destination cheaper in all facets. Foreigners are also allowed to buy their goods in local currency and this gives them an opportunity to get more than what they can in Zimbabwe with the same United States dollars," Mutasa.
He said Livingstone Airport has more direct flights compared to Victoria Falls Airport and that also contributes to the numbers going up.
"The Zambians are aggressively marketing the Victoria Falls and this could be the reason why Livingston is getting more tourists than Victoria Falls," he said.
Employers Association for Tour and Safari Operators president Clement Mkwasi said Zambia had a weak currency at the moment.
"It is cheaper to spend in Zambia than Zimbabwe so we really need to revisit our pricing regime by making sure that there is a three tier system. International, regional and domestic prices should be different," he said.
"Our major source market is South Africa. They have been stung by the weakening Rand. It is best that there be a price distinction which is our sensitive to our markets."
Most residents and businesspeople called on Government to revisit the country's visa fees.
Government last year put the KAZA uni-visa system that was popular with visitors to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
The trial run ended in December last year.
The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier uni-visa was an arrangement where a visitor pays visa fees once and enters different countries on different occasions.
According to the Zimbabwe visa regime Category B visitors from UK/Ireland pay US$55 for single entry and US$70 for double entry.
Visitors from Canada pay US$75 for single entry while the rest of the world pays US$30 and US$45 for single and double entries respectively.
The KAZA uni-visa regime costs US$50 for multiple entry between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
All countries in Category B get visas at point of entry and they are the countries targeted by the KAZA.
Minister Mzembi has urged Treasury to consider scrapping off the 15 percent tourism levy on accommodation in Zimbabwe. The tourism industry is one of the key sectors of the economy which contributes an average of $1 billion annually despite the negative economic climate.
The levy has led to a sharp increase in accommodation leading to tourist flight to Zambia.
Source: Adjust or Fall Away - the Story of Victoria Falls (16/05/16)
Monday, 16 May 2016
But now, the addition of a new airport on the Zimbabwean side has breathed new life into the tourist-driven town of Victoria Falls.
The airport is not fully operational yet, but aircraft carrying international travellers descend on the new airport regularly, despite the fact that it is still under construction at some parts.
Chinese tourist dominate custom control, and every other establishment in the area.
Restaurants, hotels and adventure companies, have realised the potential of the Vic Falls anew and started profusely upgrading their offerings.
Here are three exciting Vic Falls developments happening in 2016:
Iconic hotels are upgrading under new management
Following a take-over from African Sun and Legacy Hospitality in September 2015, five of African Sun’s hotels - The Kingdom at Victoria Falls, Elephant Hills Hotel, Hwange Safari Lodge, The Monomotapa Hotel and Troutbeck - have been undergoing improvements in a bid to usher in a new era for tourism in Zim.
Since, the 100-room Hwange Safari Lodge has been completely upgraded on a phased basis into a 4-5 Star lodge with a new waterhole.
The Monomotapa Hotel is planned for a face-lift to all its 240 rooms, with the addition of a new outdoor pool area and additional restaurant facilities. At the famous Troutbeck, it is the intention to retain the unique Scottish Highlands feel and atmosphere, whilst expanding the leisure activities.
The Kingdom at Victoria Falls was built almost an exact replica of the Palace at the Lost City at Sun City in SA. The latter has also gone under extensive refurbishment - amounting to a total of over R1bn.
At the Elephant Hills, extensive landscaping has been done to improve the surroundings of the hotel, and to improve the 18-hole golf course on the estate. This golf course is one of the hotel's best assets, as it is the only hotel in the Vic Falls with this feature.
The food and beverage offering has been improved with a new chef at the properties. Interesting is the addition of many Asian-inspired dishes on the buffet menu, specifically designed to appeal to the great number of Chinese groups in both the Elephant Hills and Kingdom Hotels.
Apart from the old iconic hotels upping their game, new additions to accommodation arena has been announced.
The new Batonka Guest Lodge has announced its arrival in June this year, aiming to provide an environmentally friendly, green tourist experience. According to the website, the lodge has been built with recycling grey water systems in place, and will be solar-powered.
Only 2km from the Vic Falls, it will offer 22 rooms, each with a private veranda overlooking the gardens.
The rooms include one family suite and eight inter-leading rooms as well as one room offering universal access.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe said work was underway to turn the old terminal into a domestic terminal, and refurbishments at the building, which started in March, were only 20% complete.
The commissioning of the airport was supposed to be done in May, but has since been scheduled for the second part of 2016.
Monday, 2 May 2016
Source: Vic Falls cop ‘steals $2k’ (30/04/16)