Experience Zimbabwe Blog

Our blog will let you know about all of the new and exciting tourist developments that are happening in Zimbabwe. We welcome your comments!
Posted on 11th Jul 2012

British tour operators are starting to feature Zimbabwe in their brochures again. Graham Boynton, who grew up in Bulawayo, considers whether it is right for tourists to return. Zimbabwe: is it time for British tourists to return?

Victoria Falls www.telegraph.co.ukVictoria Falls continues to astonish after countless visits Photo: ALAMY

Within hours of landing in Zimbabwe I found myself standing round the back of the Bulawayo Museum next to Cecil John Rhodes. Well, actually the John Tweed statue of Rhodes that for nearly 80 years stood on a plinth in the centre of Bulawayo proudly surveying the pretty, civilised city he was instrumental in founding.

These days colonialism is a dirty word. Indeed, the minute Robert Mugabe was sworn in in 1980 and Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, that statue was torn off the plinth and dumped out of sight – and so to show any attachment to Rhodes, his vision or indeed his statue is dramatically politically incorrect. But that is just what I was doing.

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Posted on 11th Jul 2012

Cox & Kings is reintroducing holidays to Zimbabwe this summer after a 10 year break.

The upmarket tour operator feels the African country has stabilised sufficiently since the 2008 elections and political power sharing agreements and is offering escorted group tours and tailormade travel.

Zimbabwe has previously been racked by economic and political upheaval since President Robert Mugabe"s controversial white farm seizures began in 2000.

Trips to Zimbabwe were last offered by Cox & Kings in 2002.

A spokeswoman said the move was in response to staff visits and demand from clients.

She said: " It"s not going to change dramatically until a Government change but things are stabilising."

Cox & Kings" Africa product manager, Louise Stanion said: "We have chosen to work with partners who help their local communities and ensure that the vast majority of the money earned from tourism goes into the hands of the people who really need it."

The operator said tourism hasn"t reached its pre-2000 levels but safari-goers are beginning to return in significant numbers.

It added that in an attempt to get Zimbabwe back on the map, the lodges and camps are offering prices of exceptionally good value.

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Posted on 29th Jun 2012

Emirates has announced that its Dubai-Lusaka-Harare route will become a daily service from October 1st.

The linked service, which currently operates five times a week, has performed strongly since its launch on February 1 and has to date carried over 43,000 passengers.

“This latest boost to Emirates’ African network is testament to the continuous upward growth in demand for our flights to and from the continent,” said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa.

“A daily service to Lusaka and Harare will mean greater choice for customers, while an increased cargo capacity of 40% will facilitate more export business opportunities for both countries, forging greater trade links and increasing access to key trading partners in Asia and the Middle East,” he continued.

The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare service is operated by an A330-200 aircraft in a three-class configuration, offering 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and 183 seats in Economy Class.

The flight departs Dubai at 09h25, and arrives in Lusaka at 14h35. The service departs Lusaka at 16h20, and arrives in Harare at 17h20. The return flight will leave Harare at 18h50, and arrives in Lusaka at 19h50. It departs Lusaka at 21h25 and lands in Dubai at 06h40 the next day.

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Posted on 22nd Jun 2012

It’s the week Victoria Falls Safari Lodge “magically” unveils its fresh NEW African safari look!

Guests at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge will this week experience the “magical” transformation of the award-winning lodge’s public areas! Work teams have quietly slipped into place and when the last guests retire for the night on Wednesday 20 June the command will be “ACTION STATIONS.”

The teams will work as quietly as possible, and mostly throughout each night for several days so that guests arriving for breakfast each day will be greeted by the unfolding new-look so dramatically created by one of South Africa’s foremost interior designers, Carol Cornwall, from Durban.

Areas being attended to include the MaKuwa-Kuwa dining room, the Buffalo Bar, the terrace, activities desk,  reception, library, internet cafe and TV lounge.

Watch this Space as we intend to showcase the developments via daily photos.  Designer Carol Cornwall promises “a fresher, African safari look with a contemporary modern twist.”  She has chosen a wide range of natural colours from creams through to chocolate, with dramatic accents of bright African colours.

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Posted on 22nd Jun 2012

The Elephant Camp was nominated as Best New Safari Camp in Africa. The 2012 Safari Awards Finalists were announced in Durban on May 11th. Shane and Jonathan attended the ceremony and were extremely excited as The Elephant Camp was named a finalist! The award winner will be announced in November this year. Well done to the team at The Elephant Camp for this prestigious nomination!

Three new suites at The Elephant Camp will be ready for guests from June the 29th 2012. The new suites, to the west of the camp, have amazing views of the gorges and the spray of the Victoria Falls. The suites boast all the luxury amenities of our existing rooms. The additional rooms will bring the capacity of the camp to 24 guests in 12 tented suites.

Article by Wild Horizons Wild Times

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Posted on 15th Jun 2012

Victoria Falls Safari Club will soon make Victoria Falls a hot international incentive destination again.

In the mid 1990s Victoria Falls Zimbabwe was one of the hottest incentive travel destinations on the planet…and the pundits reckon it’s heading that way again soon with a new product that will tempt the exclusive VIP groups.

Glen Byrom, founder of the pioneering Victoria Falls destination management company, Green Route, believes the new 20-room luxury wing of The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge will be the catalyst.

Victoria Falls Safari Club

“The Victoria Falls Safari Club wing will bring a new touch of class to Victoria Falls,” he predicts, “and will provide the perfect spot for upmarket international incentive groups. The Club will be the most exclusive and pampered address in town with butler service, rooms 50% larger than the current lodge’s and a great location.”

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Posted on 01st Jun 2012

The Eastern border town of Penhalonga is home to one of Zimbabwe’s best-kept secrets: La Rochelle, a magical cross twixt fairy tale castle and French chateau, surrounded by manicured gardens on the edge of verdant forest-cloaked mountains.La Rochelle is a splendidly unique place with a story book tower and a magical garden filled with rare flora from throughout the world.

Its story began in 1951, as the private estate of a wealthy Englishman of world-wide textile fame, Sir Stephen Courtauld and his wife, Lady Virginia.

Stephen was a quiet, studious man, a generous philanthropist who put together a world-famous collection of Turner paintings, jewels, coins, antiques and rare plants.

Virginia was Italian, gregarious and glamorous; whispers gave her a strangely exotic past. A tattooed ankle, unheard of in immediate post-war Colonial society, caused many raised eyebrows.
They had no children, but together with a pet lemur (buried at La Rochelle) spent most of their time travelling the world in their steamship Virginia or yacht Eunamara.

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Posted on 25th May 2012

ZIMBABWE'S tourism industry is now the fastest growing in the world after China, contributing 8.2 percent to the Gross Domestic Product .

In an interview Tuesday, Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said the latest figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) show that tourism's contribution to Zimbabwe's GDP would average 8.2 percent for the next decade.

"...This makes Zimbabwe the second fastest growing tourism industry in the world second only to China. It is a favourable rating by any standard but we have to work hard to maintain those figures as the test of the pudding is in the eating," said Mzembi.

WTTC is a forum for business leaders in the Travel and Tourism industry who work to raise awareness of travel and tourism as one of the world's largest industries, supporting 255 million jobs and generating 9 percent of world GDP.

Mzembi was elected President of the African Travel Association (ATA) for the next two years at the association's annual conference in Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke said that the conference helped give potential investors a better understanding of opportunities in the country's tourism and hospitality sector.

"The hosting of this prestigious congress by Zimbabwe is another great stride in the right direction as we look to enhance growth and development in the tourism sector," Kaseke said.

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Posted on 25th May 2012

After more than 10 years of political turmoil, Zimbabwean tourism is well on the road to recovery. The dollarization of the country in 2008 has aided a slow and steady recovery, bringing optimism and growth. Despite being forced to sacrifice so much, visitors soon become aware that the people of Zimbabwe are one of the countries’ strongest tourism assets - warm, welcoming, creative and kind.

Colonialism remains etched in all sorts of ways, but local traditions are visible throughout, offering an authentic and beautiful window on  what is real Africa.

Most visitors come to experience Victoria Falls, Africa’s adrenaline capital and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Just a few hours away are the premium wildlife areas of Hwange National Park, Lake Kariba and Mana Pools all simply wonderful places to experience "the true African experience" at its sublime best. It is very possible to enjoy a complete African safari experience within this region, and one that is significantly less expensive then it’s more frequented neighbours.

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Posted on 25th May 2012

MeiklesMEIKLES, one of the country's five-star hotels, has embarked on a US$7,5 million refurbishment programme to give the premier hotel a facelift, in line with international standards.

The hotel last had refurbishments 17 years ago.

Meikles Hospitality managing director, Karl Snater, said refurbishment works started in March, when all 132 bedrooms and suites in the north wing were cleared of fittings and furnishings. They also demolished existing bathrooms.“Renovation work is now well underway and we are expecting to have completed the exercise by the end of November,” he said.

Snater said the north wing was now closed to the public, with the exception of La Fontaine Grillroom, the hotel’s flagship restaurant.

The restaurant will also be closed for refurbishment during the course of the year. “This will further enhance Meikles’s status as Zimbabwe’s premier hotel.” He said

“It is our aim to offer world-class amenities and facilities in keeping with our role as a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World group, which includes in its members, some of the world’s best-known and most acclaimed hotels.”

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