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Wednesday 25 April 2018

'Construction of New Hotel in Vic Falls to Start Soon'

Zimbabwe's world renowned resort, the Victoria Falls will soon have a new five star hotel and a conference centre whose construction is set to begin by mid-year, a Cabinet minister has said.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Priscah Mupfumira told journalists at her maiden interface with the media since appointment last December that the construction of the hotel and conference centre were part of initiatives under government plans to drive new investment under the special economic zones (SEZs) initiative.
There was a lot of interest from investors keen on setting up new tourism ventures in the country since the new government came into office last November, the minister said.
"Because of the new dispensation and engagements we are undertaking, there are many people who are showing interest in investing in tourism. Soon, before the end of the year, or even before our elections, works should have started in Victoria Falls on a conference centre and a five star hotel," she said without revealing the name of the investor.
Zimbabwe is due to hold its elections in July.
Government has designated SEZs in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls under a project meant to ramp up investment in the economy through offering special conditions which allow investors to set up shop in the country with minimum hustle and a wide range of benefits.
Minister Mupfumira said construction of a new hotel would augur well for the economy as the country was in need of new rooms, with the expected influx of tourists.
"We do not have enough rooms in the area (Victoria Falls) with the influx of tourists that we are recording," she said.
"We know by the end of this year, we will almost double the arrivals that we had last year so we need investments in Victoria Falls."
Zimbabwe has in the past few years been averaging two million visitors annually.
Minister Mupfumira said the designated SEZ for the Victoria Falls did not just focus on the resort town only but this stretched from Hwange to Kariba.
She said the ministry was in the process of reviewing the national tourism strategy with a view to addressing some of the bottlenecks and challenges the industry was battling with to drive arrivals and the sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product.
High product prices compared to the region and connectivity were some of the top challenges cited as impacting on performance of the industry.
"We have underplayed the role of tourism where it is placed third or fourth in terms of earnings, we want to be the leader in contributing to our Gross Domestic Product and turnaround of the economy," said Minister Mupfumira. - New Ziana.
Source: 'Construction of New Hotel in Vic Falls to Start Soon' (24/04/18)

Saturday 21 April 2018

Vic Falls Tourist Arrivals Surge 20,7pc

Victoria Falls continues to be dominant as the country's major tourist attraction centre after recording 20,7 percent rise in arrivals during Easter Holidays compared to the same period last year.
Statistics from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks), show that arrivals rose to 6 147 this year compared to 4 877 last year.
International tourist arrivals rose "exponentially" this year to 2 643 from 2 200 over the same period last year. The number of visitors from across the continent, particularly the Southern region, also increased to almost 1 500 from 977 last year.
Due to a rise in campaigns to promote domestic tourism, local visitors to the Victoria Falls also rose to 2 004 from 1 700 last year.
Zimparks public relations manager Tinashe Farawo, told The Herald Business recently that the surge in arrivals at the majestic Victoria Falls has been driven by political stability.
Mr Farawo said there is policy consistency in Government and a strong desire to support the tourism sector, which is seen as central to quick economic turnaround.
"One of the reasons why we have recorded this increase in arrivals is the political stability that we are witnessing in the country, and the willingness of this Government to ensure that tourism is prioritised as a low hanging fruit, as something which can benefit this country," said Mr Farawo.
"We have had a lot of support from the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) himself, the Minister (of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira) to ensure that we record such successes.
"Obviously, we are happy with these figures and we look forward to see the numbers continuing to grow going forward because this Government is speaking with one voice to say, 'let's make Zimbabwe open for business' and be attractive to everyone so that we grow our economy."
Zimbabwe expects tourist arrivals to rise to 2,5 million this year from 2,1 million last year, driven by several factors including political stability and the domestic tourism campaign. Hoteliers are already re-modelling their operations by introducing specials for both food and hotel rooms, as they seek to liberalise access mainly by the low income earners.
In the African context, walking into a hotel, let alone purchasing food and spending a night there, used to be associated with rich businesspeople and foreigners.
But all that is changing now due to interventions by Government.
In the last 18 years, tourist arrivals have plummeted from the peak of almost 2,5 million in 1999 to 1,9 million in 2008 due to bad blood between Zimbabwe and its major source markets, especially in Europe.
Source: Vic Falls Tourist Arrivals Surge 20,7pc (20/04/18)

Friday 20 April 2018

Plans for 125 MW solar plant in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe-based Southpole Consulting Private Limited has filed an authorization request with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) for the construction of a 125 MW solar power plant in Victoria Falls.
According to information provided to pv magazine by the company, the project has primarily been conceived for self-consumption and, in particular, to supply power to the company’s data center and a commuter rail electrification project.
The facility may also sell power regionally through the grid to the local industrial district via private PPAs, since it will be located in the proximity (18 km) of the planned regional Zizabona inter-connector. The inter-connector aims to increase energy trade between Zimbabwe, Zambia, northern Malawi and north-eastern Mozambique, where the company forecasts substantial aligned investment.
A special purpose vehicle for the project, SouthPole StalwartBuild Zimbabwe PL, has already been approved for US$300 million of initial Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) investment by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA). The financing will be used for the construction of the plant, ICT, road and rail infrastructures within the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Southpole said it aims to build the plant as an independent power producer, with no direct support from the government or other local public authorities. Construction on the plant, the company added, may begin in the second half of this year. “We are already in talks with module and inverter providers, as well as with potential EPC contractors,” company director, Tendai Tidings Musasa said.
According to Musasa, in addition to the aforementioned regional power inter-connectivity, the SEZ offers attractive tax incentives, which have enabled Southpole to attract international financing and technical partners.
The area – offering one of the highest solar irradiation indexes in a country with above average irradiation of 5.7kWh per square meter, per day – is poised to be a strong regional power interconnection platform, thanks to the upcoming 2,400 MW Batoka Gorge Hydro – Electric Scheme (HES) and a planned 1,250 MW PV development for regional consumption over the next seven years, the company said.
According to local newspaper, Chronicle, last year the ZERA issued licenses to nine IPP projects with a combined capacity of 260 MW, including six for solar power plants, two for mini-hydro projects, and one for a hybrid solar-diesel project.
Resorting to IPPs for renewable energy development can be viewed as a necessary move by the government, since it has failed to bring online several hundred MWs of solar capacity through different tenders, and through different policies that promote the adoption and wider use of renewable energy.
In 2014, Zimbabwe’s State Procurement Board (SBP) cancelled a tender for 300 MW of solar, after it judged the prices offered by the three selected developers as too high. Since then, several large-scale solar projects have been announced across the country, although no big solar park has been connected to the local grid to date.
The country, which has a remarkable level of solar irradiation at 20 MJ per square meter per day, is in urgent need of more power generation capacity, as it suffers from chronic energy shortages, due to the current poor conditions of the network.
According to a recent report from the Dutch government, just 21% of Zimbabwe’s rural areas have access to electricity, while this reaches  80% in urban areas. The country’s current total installed capacity is estimated at around 2 GW, of which 58% is thermal and 37% is hydropower.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

AfDB provides support for Batoka Hydroelectric project

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is advising on how funds can be secured for the construction of the 2,400MW Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Project to commence.
Public relations and communications manager at the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), Elizabeth Karonga, stated that the bank is advising the authority on raising funds for the project and it is likely that it will reach financial closure by the end of the year.
According to the Southern Times, Karonga said the engineering and legal assessments for the power plant were successfully carried out in 2016.
“The legal and financial advisory studies were completed end of July 2016. This also applies to the environmental and social impact assessment studies as well as the legal and financial advisory studies,” Karonga said.
Karonga said studies have shown that 6,000 jobs will be created once the construction of the Batoka Hydroelectric Project between Zambia and Zimbabwe commences.
The project is estimated to cost $4 billion. 
Media noted that the project has faced resistance from local communities, who felt that it had the potential of negatively impacting the Victoria Falls.
However, the chief executive officer of the ZRA, Munyaradzi Munodawafa, said feasibility studies undertaken on the site have allayed environmental fears to the Victoria Falls, which is upstream.
“The reservoir will be fully contained in the gorge, no resettlement is required for the dam, but may be required for the transmission aspects of the project,” said Munodawafa.

Batoka Gorge Hydro to hire experts to save falcon bird

BATOKA Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) has resolved to hire ornithologists to help conserve the Taita Falcon birds from extinction along the Zambezi River basin.

This was revealed last week by BGHES engineer, Christopher Chinsense, indicating that scientific environmental evidence has been carried out and proved that the avifauna birds existed, but was fast disappearing due to human activity in the Zambezi River.
He said the general decline in the population of Taita Falcon since 1995 has been attributed to flooding of reservoirs.
“Batoka Gorge area is listed under Important Bird Area (IBA) of the continental significance by Childes and Mundy 2001 based on the on the presence of breeding Taita Falcons (Falco fasciinucha), a threatened and range restricted species.
“And that being the case, we will have minor challenges, but mitigatory measures are being put in place. The Taita Falcon has been enlisted and the most delicate species and fast disappearing in the world and we have been strongly cautioned against being contributors of it disappearing,” he said.
“We have put up measures to implement the Taita Falcon monitoring programme and ornithologist specialists will be fully involved in experimental creation of artificial nestling facilities for these few birds on the dam wall and in the cliffs in suitable areas that do not jeopardise natural nestling habitat.”
The project’s chief executive, Munyaradzi Munodawafa said approximately two million jobs will be created during the seven-year construction period and priority will be given to locals sin the Zambezi River environs.
He added that international, regional and local contractors had since sent their application forms and vetting process was underway.
BGHES was proposed back 1992 by Zimbabwe and Zambia with a memorandum of agreement signed in 2012 to pave way for its development which is likely to begin next year at an estimated cost of $3 602 858.

Victoria Falls villagers survive on selling cow dung

VILLAGERS in the drought-prone Chief Mvuthu’s area in Victoria Falls have resorted to selling cow dung manure and firewood to eke a living after most of their crops were destroyed by wild animals from the vast Hwange National Park.
Most of the affected villagers are from Monde, Chidobe, Ndlovu and Lupinyu.
“The business is done even by those who do not own livestock because they collect manure in grazing pastures and put it in compost before selling it. However, some villagers clash when one encroaches into another’s territory,” one of the villagers said.
“We won’t be looking for money, but we prefer to do barter trade. For instance, a 20-litre bucket is equivalent to 1kg sugar or half bar soap or a child’s dress. I can sustain my family. It has become a business that even my children go out to pick the dung in the morning while I am trading.”
Another villager, Pankaj Ncube said: “We have nothing to harvest as is always the case. The elephants are maliciously savaging our crops and we have given up on crop farming. The lions and hyenas are also killing our livestock and nothing is being done. The chief has a record of 1 334 livestock that have been killed since last year June and it is very painful.”
Linkani Dube, another villager, who sells goat manure said: “We sell nearly eight buckets per day to residents in Chinotimba and Mkhosana. A bucket fetches $1 and we raise about $60 per month.”
Other villagers have also resorted to selling firewood.

Monday 16 April 2018

Drunk man survives plunge into croc-infested Zambezi River

Nozwelo Hadebe, Chronicle Reporter

A 26-YEAR-OLD Victoria Falls man is lucky to be alive after he jumped into the infested Zambezi River in a suspected suicide attempt while in a drunken stupor.

An alert barman took a dive after Mr Tinashe Ronald Chigiya (26) of House Number 985 Aerodrome and rescued him.

Witnesses said he started hallucinating while claiming that his late brother was calling him into the water on Friday.

Police confirmed the incident which occurred at Zambezi House Restaurant and bar, located on the river bank.

Mr Chigiya was drinking beer with friends when he allegedly suddenly left the bar and headed for the river and jumped into the water.

Witnesses said he told his friend Mr Geneva Museka that he was seeing visions before heading for the river.

“He has Zambezi House barman Mr Themba Satsha to thank or rather blame for foiling the suicide mission, after the brave bartender timeously took a suicidal dive into the water and fished him out,” said a witness.

Police officer commanding Victoria Falls District Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona said Mr Chigiya was rushed to Victoria Falls District Hospital. He could not give more details.

“I can confirm that we received such a report and investigations are going on,” he said.
A police source said Mr Chigiya was attended to and discharged after being stabilised from intoxication.

A source narrated the incident: “Tinashe was drinking beer with friends at Zambezi House when he suddenly jumped into the water at around 1.00AM. An alert barman quickly dived into the water and pulled him out risking his own life in the crocodile and hippo infested river.”

Mr Chigiya was lucky not to be charged for attempting to kill himself as it was considered that he acted under the influence of alcohol, said a police source.

A fortnight ago, a drunken man lost an arm and sustained multiple fractures after he was attacked by three domesticated crocodiles when he jumped into their pool at a restaurant.

Mr Collin Peter Stewart Miller (21) from Lusaka, Zambia, was airlifted to South Africa following the attack at The Victoria Falls River Brewing Company. — @nonoe_hadebe

Source: 'Drunk’ man survives plunge into croc-infested Zambezi River (16/04/18)

Saturday 14 April 2018

State to relocate villagers for Batoka power project

HUNDREDS of villagers living along the Zambezi River banks are likely to be displaced soon to pave way for the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) being initiated by Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This was revealed by Zambezi River Authority chief executive Munyaradzi Munodawafa during a tour of the project site on Wednesday.
Villagers who are most likely to be affected are from Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kamativi, Gokwe and Kwekwe, a 500km stretch.
“With that being the issue and in terms of land in Zimbabwe, we are not certain how much land we will be allocated, but we are going to have a major challenge. As you know that when you are developing a huge project the law says it should be 40km away from settlements. But now when we are envisaged to start our project there are villages that are 2km away, which means that if we are going to follow the 40km provisions, there is going to be massive removal of the villages to new settlements in both countries,” he said.
“Those affected are those living near our transmission lines. For instance, in Victoria Falls it will be people from Jambezi.”
Munodawafa said the environmental impact assessments were underway and that villagers will be compensated through provision of decent homes and grazing lands.
“What is going to happen to those villagers is we look at what each individual has. There is a threshold — the minimum for compensation, like if you almost have nothing we give you a three-roomed house with few amenities there, but if someone has put investment in it, we will put more or less equivalent to that. We need to conclude our feasibility study for the transmission lines and when it comes out it has to be done before the end of year.”
Situated 54km from Chidobe turn-off in Victoria Falls, the dam wall will be 181 metres long to allow water rafting activities to continue in the low flow season.
The project, commencing in the last quarter of next year and funded by the African Development Bank Fund, will see twin power stations built on either side of the Zambezi River, with all-weather access roads, residential housing and social amenities.
The expected annual energy production is 10,215 gigawatts.

Friday 13 April 2018

Batoka Gorge power project construction to start next year

The long-awaited construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station is finally set to begin next year after Zambia and Zimbabwe secured funding partners for the massive plant, which is expected to produce 2.400 megawatts at its peak.  
Elizabeth Karonga, the public relations and communications manager for Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages the Zambezi water, said the African Development Bank is advising the authority on raising funds for the project and it is likely that it will reach financial closure by the end of the year. The project is estimated to cost US$4 billion.
Karonga said the engineering and legal assessments for the power plant were successfully carried out in 2016.
“The legal and financial advisory studies were completed end of July 2016. This also applies to the environmental and social impact assessment studies as well as the legal and financial advisory studies,” Karonga said.
Karonga said studies have shown that 6,000 jobs will be created once the construction of the Batoka Hydro Power Project between Zambia and Zimbabwe commences.
Several challenges had stalled the construction of the massive power project. Besides scouting for financial partners, the project had faced resistance from local communities, who felt that such a project has the potential of negatively impacting the Victoria Falls, a UNESCO world heritage site.
However, the chief executive officer of the Zambezi River Authority, Munyaradzi Munodawafa, said feasibility studies undertaken on the site have allayed environmental fears to the Victoria Falls, which is upstream.
“The reservoir will be fully contained in the gorge, no resettlement is required for the dam, but may be required for the transmission aspects of the project,” said Munodawafa.
Munodawafa said the 2,400-megawatt project would help ease the rising demand for electricity in Zambia and Zimbabwe. He expressed satisfaction over the project’s financial support, saying the interest from financers was huge.
A project overview document prepared by the ZRA states that plans for the development of a hydro-electric power scheme on the Zambezi River started way back in 1904.  
More extensive work with regards to a potential hydro-electric power scheme on the Zambezi River downstream of Victoria Falls began in 1972. However, when suitable sites for the development of such a scheme were investigated, and where, as part of this study, the Batoka Gorge, Devil’s Gorge and Mupata Gorge sites were specifically identified for further study. 
The 1972 study identified the Batoka Gorge as the most suitable site for a potential hydro-electric power scheme, although engineering and geological investigations were undertaken at the time identified a site some 12 kilometres downstream from the site now identified as the most suitable location for the proposed Batoka Gorge hydro-electric power development.

New Luxurious Hotel for Victoria Falls

From early 2019, the new 19 all-suite establishment will offer a unique and nature-based travel experience for the global, high-end tourist, who seeks comfort and privacy to commune with nature.
Mati Nyazema, a Zimbabwean-born global tourism businesswoman, and the driving force behind Mbano, says the vision is to cater for the top-end of the international market with an upmarket and deluxe offering in Victoria Falls.
"The high-end clients visiting southern and east Africa are currently staying in suites at top hotels, and exclusive game lodges in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique and Tanzania. However, there is limited bespoke, quality product to complement their stay when visiting Victoria Falls (and therefore) we foresee meeting their needs with this new luxury offering," she said.
"We aim to cultivate and safeguard the unique, exclusive and bespoke nature of Mbano... to become the luxury destination of choice. We see a great opportunity to leverage the new-found optimism enjoyed by Zimbabwe following recent positive political and economic developments. Mbano... is ready to unleash the abundant luxury tourism opportunities (in the falls)," Nyazema said.

This comes amind reports that the global luxury hotels market continues to expand, characterised by high-end experiences.
Nyazema noted that Mbano was designed to embrace the latest trends such as responsible tourism, perceptive dining, a simple focus on rest and pronounced sleep experience.
The hotel boasts 18 luxurious standard suites and one presidential villa nestled "within the natural beauty of the surrounding teak forest".
"Nature took precedence in the design of Mbano hotel. Hence, buildings were carefully positioned to ensure minimal disruption of the original forest, dominated by large ancient teak trees," Nyazema said.
Givemore Chidzidzi, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operating officer, said the new boutique hotel's strategic positioning to the Zambezi National Park and at the edge of the Victoria Falls village "gave it the best of nature, and luxury comfort in one setting".
From the majestic falls, to superb safari offerings in Hwange, Mana Pools, the eastern Highlands and Great Zimbabwe monument, the country has so much on offer for the global traveller, he said.
"In Victoria Falls, Mbano's discerning guests will be able to enjoy many exciting activities... including river rafting and safaris, helicopter rides and a plethora of other adventures," Chidzidzi added.

The ZTA boss noted that tourism plays a critical role in the development of the Zimbabwean economy by luring foreign direct investment and the much-needed foreign currency, which results in job creation, improvement of the country's social and economic life or index.
Chidzidzi indicated that Harare had embarked on a review of the national tourism strategy to inform, harness and champion a more centrally focused development, and strategic growth path for the sector.
The new tourism strategy seeks to increase tourist arrivals to seven million from the current 2,4 million and boost sectoral earnings to $7 billion from $1 billion.
"The objectives of the NTSS are to ensure Zimbabwe increases its share of global tourism and convert it into tangible benefits for the economy. It is encouraging to see private initiative harnessing the opportunity and supporting our national tourism initiatives by development of new quality products such as Mbano..," the ZTA number two said.
With a classic chic design, defined by refined countryside architecture, abundant spaces and generous verandas from where to enjoy the rich nature of the setting, rates are expected to hover around $950 per person sharing per night and for suites with old-world comfort complemented by modern amenities, touches of nature and stone.
A cluster of large trees weave through the main building - reception, lounge and restaurant areas, and Mbano also has a curio shop for bespoke local artefacts.
The veranda style restaurant offers formal and informal dining under large trees, with a secluded swimming pool offering opportunities for a cool down in the year-round clement weather.
Each spacious standard suite features high rafters, open ceilings and large windows allowing natural light to flow in and providing a cool interior. The suites comprise a relaxing lounge area, a spacious bedroom, modern best-in-class bathroom, as well as a dressing room.
A generous veranda offers guests the opportunity to relax outdoors, while enjoying the beauty of the lush site and sounds of nature. The suites are equipped with modern essentials, such as air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The presidential villa is located in a private corner of the estate, and boasts its own gardens, plunge pool and individual access. A king-size bedroom is complemented by a separate lounge, a boardroom area with separate access, and a double-volume bathroom area featuring fine finishing and luxury couple amenities. A generous veranda borders three sides of the villa, and a discreet plunge pool allows guests to cool down in privacy.
A local and regional team of hotel and technical experts has worked tirelessly to bring Mbano to life, and deliver small yet great hotel experience. And nature is playing its part.
"At the Mbano site... we delight in daily sightings of wildlife - mostly during evenings - as they stroll past. In under three months of construction, four of the Big Five - lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard - have already paid a visit, curious about the new neighbours," Nyazema said.
Source: New Luxurious Hotel for Victoria Falls (12/04/18)

Images from the Mbano Manor website

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Batoka Power Project to create six thousand jobs

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says about six thousand jobs will be created once the construction of the Batoka Hydro Power Project between Zambia and Zimbabwe commences.
This came to light during a high-level meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on accelerating Africa’s growth and development that has been convened by AfDB to scrutinize the progress which it has made in facilitating the development of the continent.
The meeting is also evaluating the results achieved in AfDB supported programmes while at the same time examining plans to accelerate and scale-up programmes.
This is according to a press statement made available to ZANIS by Ministry of Finance, Public Relations Manager, Chileshe Kandeta in Lusaka today.
Mr. Kandeta said Under its High Five Initiative , the AfDB has identified Zambia as one of the beneficiaries from the USD758 million and integrate Africa programme, the USD59 million feed Africa Programme, and the USD2.5 billion quality of life improvement programme.
He said the Integrate Africa Programme is targeted at supporting the construction of a railway link between Angola and Zambia.
Mr. Kandeta stated that once constructed, the link will enhance trade and create an alternative route for Zambia’s exports from North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces.
He noted that the Integrate Africa Programme is also targeted at enhancing the supply capacity of the Southern Africa Power Pool by not only facilitating and galvanizing support for the Batoka Gorge Hydro Project, but also facilitating the completion of the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Power Interconnector.
And Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe has called on the African Development Bank to increase the capacity of implementation agencies in member countries in order to improve their resource absorption capacity.
The minister cited Zambia’s 19% annual absorption capacity of AfDB resources as a scenario in need of redress.
“This is to make sure that access to the benefits of development for the intended recipients are not delayed,” she said.
Meanwhile, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina said there is need to mobilise more resources in order to achieve the development targets of the bank through the High Five Initiative.
Dr. Adesina also announced that the AfDB will this year be organizing the first ever Africa Investment Forum in order to increase the international community’s attention on Africa’s growth potential and help channel resources to the continent.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Abseil Victoria Falls activity opens in Rainforest

Nqobile Sibanda in Victoria Falls

A NEWLY introduced tour activity, abseiling, has become a hit in Victoria Falls with scores of local tourists flocking to sample it to view the majestic waterfall during the just ended Easter holidays.
Abseiling, derived from a German word abseilen, which refers to a top rope down, resembles rock climbing where clients are controlled to descend using a rope.

New tour operator, Abseil Victoria Falls, introduced the activity on Saturday and immediately attracted scores of clients who got a chance to view the Victoria Falls from its base at the danger point.

All along tourists would view the waterfall from the top and now have an opportunity to descend to the boiling point at the bottom of the gorge and take pictures, thereby adding value to the tour of the falls. The company is operating from within the Rainforest thereby giving a double treat to tourists.
For most residents and tourists this will be the first time they are experiencing the activity, which costs $65 per person, although some operators once offered it some years back. Abseil Victoria Falls director Mr Comfort Chinengune explained how the new activity is done.

“We started the eco-friendly activity on Saturday and we are operating from right inside the Rainforest. It involves putting a client on a full body harness and helmet as well as being connected to three ropes for safety. The activity is eco-friendly and clients are assured of 100 percent safety,” he said.

The three safety lines include the main rope controlled by a jump master, safety line which the client can control and is used to pull a person up the cliff.

Clients can go as low as 100 metres down the gorge depending on the water levels. One will be accompanied by a guide who will be monitoring them and ready for rescue in the event of any mishap.

For those with cold feet who may not be comfortable to go down the gorge, Mr Chinengune said there was a ladder that would take them for only two metres for a photo shoot. The activity gives clients a rare treat as it is the only one where one can capture photos with the background of the rainbow.

“The guide is there as a whistle-blower in case anything happens but we want to assure our clients of 100 percent safety because we spent nine months researching on it. The three lines are manually powered and are anchored on a 12-tonne base from where the jump master will be controlling speed.

“One is able to take pictures and can request to stop regularly for a better view and to take selfies. The response has been overwhelming and is already the talk of the town because of its uniqueness,” said Mr Chinengune.

He said the “low” price was meant to cater for everyone. Those who go for the activity also have to pay entrance fees into the Rainforest to access the Abseil point. Locals pay $7 for adults and $4 for children to enter the Rainforest while international clients pay $20 for those from the region and $30 from other countries.

Mr Chinengune said they were planning on planting some trees around the site as he urged other tour operators to go green. He said the company was “here to stay” and hopes to contribute towards growth of the tourism sector. Lately, tourists would get to the bottom of the gorge near the Victoria Falls Bridge using some steps on the Zambian side.


Source: New tour activity a hit in Victoria Falls (04/04/18)

Website: Abseil Victoria Falls

Friday 6 April 2018

Wild lions put Vic Falls under lock down

VICTORIA Falls residents and tourists have been urged to stay indoors, particularly, at night for security reasons, after prides of stray lions were recently spotted roaming in the resort town.

Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo said the lions were straying from the surrounding parks.
“We would like to advise our tourists visitors mainly to avoid walking nor cycling at night, be it in town. These lions are all over town and if one is not careful, there might be injury or loss of life. Residents too, must avoid walking at night,” he said.
“Victoria Falls is surrounded by parks and these lions migrate at night in search of prey, but our rangers are monitoring the situation.”
Prides of lions have been spotted in different areas of the resort town, posing a threat to the lives of residents and tourists.
Australian tourist, Stephen Fullard confirmed the development yesterday.
“We were cycling towards Elephant Hills Hotel yesterday at around 8:30pm and we saw four lions crossing the road. Luckily, a car flashed and it stopped for us and they ran away after the driver sounded the hooter. It is very unsafe, but we did not know, as we are visitors here,” he said.
Lions are often spotted at Elephant Hills turn-off, Mkhosana turn-off, Cresta Sprayview Hotel area and Victoria Falls Primary School turn-off along Kazungula Road, although no casualties have been reported so far.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Zambia, Zimbabwe to Start $4 Billion Batoka Gorge power plant construction in 2019

Zambia and Zimbabwe plan to start construction of a $4 billion power-plant complex that will supply both nations next year.
The African Development Bank is advising the Zambezi River Authority on raising funds for the Batoka Gorge power plant and it’s likely that it will reach financial close by the end of the year as planned, Zambezi River Authority Chief Executive Officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said in an interview Wednesday in Kariba, about 400 kilometers (249 miles) northwest of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
The 2,400-megawatt project will be located downstream from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River that straddles the two countries.
Batoka will help meet rising demand for electricity in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which is expected to more than double by 2035, according to EY, an adviser on the project.
The countries will operate separate power plants.
“The interest from financiers is huge,” Munodawafa said. “This is going to be one of the fastest-implemented projects in the region.”

Call for Vic Falls land-use re-zoning and relocation of industrial area

STAKEHOLDERS who attended a recent planning meeting towards implementation of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Victoria Falls have recommended re-zoning of the resort town.

If adopted the move would likely see the industrial site being relocated to the proposed Ndlovu Satellite Town as part of measures to de-congest the town.

ZTA chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke called for collaboration among stakeholders in coming up with a combined master plan for the country’s prime resort destination.

“We also want to zone the town. This is an exercise where we decide what type of activity and development or project goes where. I call upon you all to move fast towards the success of the project,” he said.

Participants said once adopted, the re-zoning of Victoria Falls will see some sectors especially in the industrial area being relocated to Ndlovu Satellite Town, which is set to be built about 40km outside the resort town.

The initiative is being discussed in the context of opening up space for development of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) model and maintaining a tourism friendly environment. The proposed Ndlovu Town is expected to help ease congestion in Victoria Falls.

Participants also recommended that in terms of employment opportunities, a quota be retained for locals and that tour operators should take responsibility of human-wildlife conflict issues, resettling of communities that will likely be moved, preservation of animal corridors and national heritage sites among others.

Other facilities would also be moved to a convention centre whose construction is on the cards near Victoria Falls International Airport. This week a taskforce will be set up to spearhead the programme.
The meeting drew representation from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, tour operators, the private sector and other Government departments. Its aim was to gather stakeholder input into the implementation of the SEZ concept in the resort town.

Source: Call for Vic Falls re-zoning (03/04/18)