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Friday 30 August 2019

Vic Falls seeks load shedding exemption

VICTORIA FALLS councillors have called for the resort town to be exempted from Zesa load shedding — which has also affected water supplies — and left the tourism hub with no electricity.

The town has gone for weeks without water due to the rolling power cuts, prompting the council to supply water to residents using bowsers.
The situation has affected tourism players such as hotels and lodges which cater for both international and domestic tourists.
Ward 1 councillor Margaret Varley, whose area of jurisdiction encompasses most of the resort town’s tourism players, wrote to the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Gabbuza Joel Gabuza calling for the load shedding exemption.
“As the Parliamentary chair of Energy, we are begging you to help us here in Victoria Falls. No electricity here means no water. Council has made moves to get a dedicated Zesa line for the water take out point on the Zambezi River, the water plant and also the two main reservoirs so that the town water is not affected by load shedding. However there seems to be a lot of talk and not much action,” wrote Varley on Monday.
Valley said Victoria Falls was the face of the country’s tourism industry and there was need to take advantage of tourist activities that brought in foreign
currency, so the town deserved special treatment.
She added that lack of water supplies affected hotels and lodges, schools, clinics and hospitals.
“We are also looking at drilling boreholes around town. Imagine boreholes and water distribution from a fire engine when we live on the edge of one of the
biggest rivers in Africa? All because of Zesa load shedding. Please use your influence to ensure that this matter is treated with the urgency it deserves and a
solution to this water crisis is found before it’s too late,” said Valley.
Ward 6 councillor Ephias Mambume said it was logical for a place of strategic economic importance like Victoria Falls to be exempted from load shedding.
“It’s the tourism capital of Zimbabwe and a special economic zone. The gross domestic product (GDP) of Victoria Falls’ local economy is a significant part of
the national GDP especially in real dollar terms. It generates mostly forex,” he said.
“An outbreak of typhoid or cholera can potentially cost the economy millions of the greenback in terms of tourism revenue and permanently dent the image of the

Saturday 24 August 2019

Wood poachers invade Vic Falls game parks

RECURRENT power cuts and the recent steep tariff hikes have accelerated the deforestation of Victoria Falls’ two major game parks as residents poach firewood, a cheaper substitute to electricity, community leaders have said.

The situation is feared to have ripple effects on the tourism sector, thereby affecting revenue inflows to council and safari operators.
The resort town is surrounded by two parks, Chamabondo to the east and the Victoria Falls Game Park to the west, which are popular for game drives.
However, the two parks are now under threat as residents have resorted to uncontrolled tree-cutting.
Victoria Falls, like most other towns, has been hit hard by endless power cuts lasting up to eight hours.
The situation in the resort town is worrying community leaders and safari operators as the continued cutting of trees in the game parks threatens the town’s mainstay – tourism.
Victoria Falls Residents Association chairperson, Morgan Gaza Dube yesterday said the rate at which the parks were being deforested was cause for concern.
“There has been rampant deforestation of the games parks as residents seek firewood. Actually, the failure to provide electricity by the power utility has already accelerated deforestation. This has been coupled by the recent hike
in tariffs and it’s worrisome,” Dube said.
His sentiments were echoed by ward 6 councillor, Ephias Mambume (MDC Alliance), who said underfunding of anti-poaching interventions had not saved the situation.
“The current load-shedding plus the proposed limits will only exacerbate the already dire situation, where residents are depending on wood as a source of energy for cooking. This is also coupled by the fact that anti-poaching
interventions were severely underfunded. Victoria Falls game parks will inevitably be affected as people poach for firewood,” Mambume said.

$23 million hotel set for Vic Falls

A total of $23 million dollars has been set aside for the construction of a 238-bedded five-star hotel in Victoria Falls which is expected to commence during the fourth quarter, an investment set to enhance the competitiveness of the destination.

An environmental impact assessment report on the multi-million-dollar hospitality property, The Mist Hotel is set to be finalised during the first two weeks of September to pave way for the construction of the five-star hotel in Zimbabwe’s tourism capital.

Environment Guardians Services Senior Consultant, Michael Montana said commendable progress has been made in coming up with the assessment report, adding that the investment project is set to improve the attractiveness of the destination.

“We are 90% is as far as the environmental impact assessment is concerned and we are here in Victoria Falls to engage the critical stakeholders,” he said.

The multi-million-dollar property will offer accommodation and conferencing services.

The investors have since expressed their long-term commitment to the Zimbabwean market and are confident of the positive prospects of the destination.

Source: $23 million hotel set for Vic Falls (23/08/19)

Sunday 18 August 2019

Multi-million dollar solar farm for Vic Falls

The Victoria Falls tourism industry has endorsed the proposed setting up of a multi-million dollar Solar Farm project as critical in alleviating power shortages and ensuring that the resort town joins the list of other renowned green destinations.

Faced with serious power outages which have resulted in most hotels relying on generators, the Victoria Falls tourism industry has stepped up efforts to come up with a lasting solution to the power challenges.

A recent stakeholders meeting convened by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) saw tourism players throwing their weight behind the setting up of a multi-million dollar Victoria Falls solar farm.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe Representative, Barbara Musariranwa and Victoria Falls Town Clerk, Ronnie Dube stressed the need to support and prioritise the speedy execution of the project.

We are excited by this all inclusive approach in addressing the power challenges and the industry we welcome the proposed solar farm project,” said Mr Dube.

ZTA Acting Chief Executive, Rita Lukukuma highlighted that adoption of alternative and sustainable energy sources for the tourism sector will be critical in transforming Victoria Falls into a green destination.

 “The solar project has a beautiful dimension of enhancing the status of the tourism quality in this town. There are people now who will visit a place just because it is environmentally friendly,” she said.

A local financial institution has already indicated its willingness to finance the solar power project while power utility, ZESA Holdings is working on upgrading the transmission infrastructure around the resort town and completion of the Mkosana substation project which is currently at 50%.

Source: Multi-million dollar solar farm for Vic Falls (17/08/19)

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Another upmarket lodge for Vic Falls

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
A NEW up-market lodge is set to open in Victoria Falls targeting tourists who want a quiet environment and interaction with the wild.
A total of 24 locals will be employed at the 12-bed tented Tsowa Safari Island, which is located in the Zambezi National Park. It is owned by Isibindi Africa Lodges founded by Mr Brett Gehren and offers guests the chance to appreciate the wilderness in Victoria Falls from the comfort of the six tents.
Isibindi Africa Lodges spokesperson Ms Melanie Rosettenstein said the facility strives to also empower locals through employment and affordable rates.
“Tsowa Safari Lodge is an ideal spot from which to explore the area’s many attractions. The target market is the luxury eco-tourists and safari market and as with all Isibindi Lodges, we like to offer a great experience but always keeping our rates competitive so as to exceed expectations,” said Ms Rosettenstein.
She said their rates were affordable even to locals as a way of promoting domestic tourism. The main camp comprises tents, which are about 20 metres apart with a stylish lounge and dining area, as well as two swimming pools and a firepit, all facing Zambezi River. Guests can watch the river glide by or view the abundant wildlife from every vantage point. 
In a statement, Mr Gehren said while the lodge is located remotely, it is accessible and easy to get to.
“It’s a great privilege and honour to have been awarded the concession to develop a camp on Tsowa Safari Island. As with all our lodges, every care and consideration has been taken to ensure our six eco-sensitive luxury tents have minimal environmental impact and blend into the stunning natural surroundings. 
“We’re confident that our guests will be delighted to know that they are journeying with purpose when they stay with Isibindi Africa,” he said.
The lodge is located centrally between Victoria Falls, Kasane in Botswana, Namibian border and Livingstone in Zambia. Isibindi Africa Lodges has other properties in South Africa’s KwaZulu
Natal namely Thonga Beach Lodge and Kosi Forest Lodge, both located in Isimangaliso Wetland Park and Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, all in KwaZulu Natal.
Mr Gehren said Isibindi Africa Lodges prides itself for investing across the region where a number of community programmes have been introduced.
In Victoria Falls the group has launched Isibindi Foundation, to uplift the community through conservation projects. The foundation was established this year to consolidate 23 years of community and conservation projects and to also create a purpose-driven entity to assist community initiatives.
With World Wildlife Fund (WWF) chairperson Mr Vusi Khanyile as its patron, it’s objective starts with allowing guests to be philanthropic travellers and to journey with purpose. 
Its programmes include helping rural schools with feeding programmes, financing additional support teachers and quarterly visits from external educationists so as to improve the resourcing of education institutions. — @ncubeleon