Showcase Zimbabwe: Kuimba Shiri Bird Park

Date July 9, 2014

A brief video showcasing whats on offer from Kuimba Shiri, just outside of Harare city, Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls: Corporate Options

Date November 8, 2013

Zimbabwe has so much to offer any tourist, it is a country with diverse nature and culture. The Zimbabwean people are peace loving, well educated, speak fluent English,  and always willing to help a visitor.

Zimbabwe’s trump card for leisure and MICE tourism is Victoria Falls. This incredible destination shares one of the world’s 7 Natural wonders, a spectacle that needs no introduction.

Victoria Falls has become a growing option for corporates from around the world it is easy to access with daily flights from Johannesburg and Harare. A plethora of transport operators provide logistics and the accommodation options are plentiful with more than seven large 3 to 5 star properties.

The activity and other experiential options available in the Falls are what make this destination, in my opinion, poised to become one of the world’s leading MICE venues. Take for example -

Imagine waking up pre sunrise and being told that your group are going to be the first people ever, to see the Victoria Falls on that particular day.

Collected as a group from your hotel to get to the Rainforest as it opens, at 0600. You are welcomed at the gates by a cultural Headman who places a Nyami Nyami ( River-god of the Zambezi ) necklace on each of you. You then walk with your guides to the edge of the incredible falls and witness the sunrise through the mists that rise from the gorge, a golden curtain wavering up into the sky.

After your walk along cobbled paths and through an ancient Rainforest, visiting view upon view of these Falls, with each point offering a special delight, you arrive at a breakfast set up amongst the trees just for your group. Warm porridge and raisins, honey and tanganda tea or vumba coffee are served along-side the statue of David Livingstone.

Outside the rainforest the group is collected in an open Tram that takes the group onto the Victoria Falls Railway Bridge. This bridge is over 100 years old and the single span arch way design makes for an interesting bridge tour and story which is regaled by a French Engineer. For the more adventurous in your group now is the time to do a Bungi jump or one of the tamer high wire activities.

After a quick visit back at your hotel you are ready for your next excursion and a vehicle collects you taking you on a ten minute transfer to the Helicopter pad. A fifteen minute flight over the Falls offers a new perspective of this marvel of nature and some insight into how it has formed.

Your day continues with Elephant Rides and Game drives followed by a lunch, served beneath a grass thatched Boma and set amongst the ancient forested dunes not far from the town. The menu includes delectable bream fillets, fresh from the Zambezi. During lunch a local but world class raconteur gives you a detailed description of David Livingstone’s travels in Africa, centring on his sighting of the Falls themselves in 1860.

With little time for siesta, your day now takes a journey upstream of the Falls to a shady glade on the banks of the River. Here you will be met by team of paddlers who load you into rafts and after some safety instruction and a little technical detail you all paddle off down the river in 16 foot rafts. No white water rafting for you today as the Upper river is a calmer expanse of water, with small rapids, but incredible bird and other wildlife. You must work as a team here so be sure to follow instruction and group rhythm.

Not far down-stream a large boat is parked on the river bank, or is it an island in the Zambezi ? It becomes clear now that you will not be paddling off into the sunset as you may all have thought. Rather you pull the rafts to the side of the river and climb aboard this luxurious boat.  An icy cold G’ n T’ or frosty beer washes away the paddling efforts as the real sundowner cruise continues.

A majestic sunset would no doubt be in order, and as it darkens the group notices a fire on the river’s bank and the distant sound of drums. The captain of the cruise boat lines up docking the boat along side what looks like the perfect African dinner setting. A night of  delectable food and dancing by firelight  completes the African experience.

Guests wend their way home, exhausted yet exhilarated by an action packed, educational day.  The perfect opportunity for corporates to learn, expand, communicate and bond.

Positive News for Zimbabwe

Date April 14, 2011

From http://bulawayo24.com

ZIMBABWE – International tour operators and specialist tour organisers are taking the bull by the horns and returning to Zimbabwe despite the on-going political uncertainty. They include overland adventure companies, birdwatching specialists, a local author’s tour, and a school’s rugby tour.
Suffolk UK-based overland adventure tour company Dragoman Travel has been “gagging to get back into Zimbabwe for the past two years,” according to its Managing Director Charlie Hopkinson, but was reluctant to do so because of the country’s political and economical instability.

“The overriding principle was to head back to Zimbabwe as soon as the economy stabilized,” he said. “Politically Zimbabwe is still under a question mark, but tourists are safe.”
The company believed that the overland experience would be greatly improved with Zimbabwe on the itinerary rather than Zambia. It subsequently rerouted its codeshare trips with Intrepid Guerba Kenya from Nairobi to Victoria Falls, which, being a core section of their Nairobi to Cape Town route, takes in Great Zimbabwe, the national parks of Matobo and Hwange, and Victoria Falls (rather than Livingstone).

“Whether or not it will improve bookings remains to be seen,” said Hopkinson, concluding that the general feeling was that although it was a commercial risk to include Zimbabwe because [of] the uncertainty still prevalent in the country, the passenger experience was greatly improved.”
The first Dragoman truck destined to return to Zimbabwe sets off from Nairobi on April 17, 2011.

Currently touring Zimbabwe for a week is the Independent Schools Barbarians rugby team from the UK. Chris Terry, Chairman of the Barbarians said that a team had been invited out by the schools authority of the Zimbabwe Rugby Union to play four local school teams.
“As intrepid tourists, we like the idea of being the first UK schools team back into Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe does not attract the nicest of publicity. Reading, seeing and listening to the media, you’d form the impression that normal life doesn’t exist there, and although life there is not as it once was, it does go on,” he said.

“The situation in Zimbabwe is delicate, but I personally believe this is a wonderful opportunity to experience a different environment and not one to pass up. We are all very excited by the prospect,” 12-year-old pupil Jacob Poulton from Portsmouth Grammar School said before departure. Chris Dossett, director of sport at the school said: “The chance to play in Zimbabwe on the first schools tour there is an extraordinary and unique opportunity.”

The Barbarians team in Zimbabwe consists of 27 players. Its manager and head of delegation Edwin Doran, formerly of Edwin Doran Sports Travel, was quoted by a local newspaper NewsDay as saying that the aim was to re-establish the friendship between Zimbabwe schools rugby and UK schools rugby so that more UK schools will tour the country in future.
Overland company Explore is also returning this year after pulling out of the country some 10 years ago.

Peter Eshelby, Africa product manager at Explore, said: “Following recent developments, including the formation of a cross-party government and the abandonment of the domestic currency, Zimbabwe has stabilized sufficiently to allow the return of tourists to enjoy its stunning landscapes and wildlife. Once a very popular destination for Explore and a cornerstone in our safari program, this year we are re-introducing our customers to its natural highlights.”

Explore’s new 15-day South East Africa tour of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa departs on July 29, 2011 and includes Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, and the Eastern Highlands and Mutare before heading on to Mozambique.

The rich and rare birdlife dwelling in this Eastern Highlands region had led Birdwatching Breaks based in Scotland to offer a new tour departing August 24, taking in the remote areas of central Mozambique and Eastern Zimbabwe. Citing the reason for return being that the two countries have emerged as tourist destinations again after recent problems, the company has so far experienced considerable interest coming from the UK market, according to Mark Finn, principal leader of Birdwatching Breaks. He said the company had run this itinerary before in 1996 but nothing since.

Participants are expected to see some range-restricted species, and in Zimbabwe will concentrate on the relatively unknown birding area of the Bvumba (or Vumba) Highlands, home to vulnerable species including Swynnerton’s Robin, Blue Swallow, Roberts’ Prinia, and Chirinda Apalis, plus the unusual Buff-spotted Flufftail. Zimbabwe has over 670 recorded bird species, 10 of which are globally threatened.

Zimbabwean author Douglas Rogers and UK-based tour operator Aardvark Safaris have on offer starting May 7 a tour to places described in his book, “The Last Resort,” a frank, lighthearted yet moving true-life recount about his parents and their struggle to keep their backpacker lodge in the Eastern Highlands despite the threat of eviction. The author, now resident in New York, will accompany tour participants who will meet some of the local characters appearing in the book.

“I am under no illusions about the politics in Zimbabwe, but I would like to show that Zimbabwe is not all about Mugabe and an evil corrupt regime,” said Rogers.
“It’s a country full of brave, funny, creative, and inspiring people, doing incredible things despite all the chaos. They are not helpless victims, as much of the media coverage of Zimbabwe tends to end up conveying.”

“In my bigger imaginings, I hope that ultimately The Last Resort can do for Zimbabwe what John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, did for Savannah, Georgia – spurred an entire tourist industry,” said Rogers.

March 2011 Newsletter

Date March 28, 2011

Greetings once again from the Victoria Falls!

First and foremost, our profound condolences and thoughts are with our Japanese friends at this difficult time! We have been inspired by their calmness and resilience through such unprecedented upheaval and turmoil. It certainly makes our own problems diminish in comparison.

It seems that Zimbabwe continues to “bumble” along politically, whilst its people strive to make good from a difficult scenario, this is particularly the case in our tourism industry where the participants continue to perform shedding off the heaviness of hyper inflation, and dealing now with real time and effect economics. Foreign investment remains extremely cautious and so interest rates are high, however, surprising as it may seem, there is investment throughout the ecomomy albeit muted.

We have seen companies in the tourism industry gather their resolve and use their extremely hard earned savings to begin substantial projects such as the one we see at Azambezi River Lodge (RTG) and the Elephant Camp (Wild Horizions) which was featured in our last News Letter. I think we can compare the Zimbabwean people in some way to the commendable resolve of the Japanese in the face of their disasters. Namely people that are quietly determined to get through the hard times.

Enjoy the news below which includes our opening of an office in Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare, in time with the launch of our exciting “Zimbabwe Revisited” program. There is a brief introduction to the SEVEN Hotels in Victoria Falls and pictures which were all taken this last Saturday 19th March 2011 by Jo and I.

May I wish you all peace and posterity, and for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, a welcome and bright Spring time ( hope it gives you a glimpse of the amazing weather we enjoy so much of down here… dig, dig!)

Kind regards,
Robin

P.S. Please note that our 43352 land line is currently out of order – full contact details can be found at our website www.cansaf.com



LATEST NEWS

Cansaf is proud to announce the opening of their new Harare office,
Cansaf Zimbabwe
Cansaf Zimbabwe is a Destination Management Company that offers Corporate Solutions to local Conferencing, Incentive and Teambuilding Groups in various stunning locations countrywide.

Our new and innovative ideas for conferencing and incentive groups, including unique lunch and dinner venues, have been a breath of fresh air in the industry. Along with our ability to source and recommend specific key-note speakers, and structure creative options for ‘soft impact’, ‘mind and team energising’ and of course ‘physically energetic’ teambuilding programmes.

Beth Carpenter, who used to be an integral part of the company here in Victoria Falls now runs the Harare office, and will be happy to pay you a brief visit if you would like to know more details on Cansaf Zimbabwe, and of course the various options available countrywide.
Beth Carpenter
Beth’s contact details are:
Beth Carpenter – Cell: 0777 605 028 – Send an email from : www.cansaf.co.zw

ZIMBABWE REVISITED!
Cansaf Zimbabwe is about to embark on an amazing adventure, and through photographs and experiences in our blog, we would like you to travel with us – on Cansaf’s mission ‘ZIMBABWE REVISITED’!

In order to discover “ZIMBABWE’S TOP TEN 2011″ We are embarking on ‘Phase One’ of our mission and would like to identify what YOU think are ZIMBABWE’S ‘TOP TWENTY’ venues.

To join the competition, you are required to email Beth (from www.cansaf.co.zw) with a list of your ‘TOP TWENTY’ Venues in Zimbabwe. Regardless of price, and whether you have stayed there or not; these can be the most exclusive of any Hotel, Lodge, Camp or B&B situated anywhere in the country!

Results must be in by 12h00 on Monday 4th April 2011. For each full list returned to us, the sender’s name will be added to a draw where there are some amazing getaway prizes and gifts to be won. ‘Phase Two’ of our mission to follow soon!

EVENTS
On Friday 25th March 2011, Cansaf Zimbabwe will be sponsoring the first green at Royal Harare Golf Club
for the Old Georgians’ Golf Day. At the green, golf contestants will experience a fun taster of a typical creative teaming task used in Cansaf’s teambuilding programmes. This mini competition at green #1 has been supported by fantastic prizes from Wilderness Safaris and Bushman’s Rock Estates.

Details and winners of this event will follow in our next newsletter.



WHAT IS ON THE ACCOMMODATION MENU IN VICTORIA FALLS?

Did you know that we have 7 established Hotels on the Zim side? We went around on the 19th of March and took these pictures for you.

Ilala Lodge
With a new general manager, and a strong team of experienced staff, this hotel is our pick for the first quarter of 2011. This well run, family owned, Boutique Hotel extends it’s tender loving care through a great crew.
Ilala Lodge
Enjoy an exciting new menu designed by Camilla, the enthusiastic and talented Head Chef. Well appointed rooms give this property its “boutique” status and the personal atmosphere builds on that reputation.

For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

Victoria Falls Hotel
This property continues to offer a great product at very competitive rates. Recently the views from the varandah have been astonishing, with clear skies heralding the beginning of our dry season. The plume of spray that rises out of the gorge beneath the Falls, heading some 3 kilometers into the air and sitting right in front of you is just amazing. This makes it easily the best lunch venue in Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls Hotel
If you wake up early enough it’s also one of the worlds best sunrise venues… the staff will bring you a cup of Zimbabwe’s finest filter coffees whilst you eat a first class pastry by Michael (the Scottish Head Chef). Right in front of you an unlikely cloud of Zambezi mist filters the orange, pink and gold of the rising African sun!
For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
A special mention for a very reliable hotel this month. An elephant was spotted among the many that visit the lodge water hole, with a wire snare attached to his leg. The staff were onto it in a jiffy, they contacted VFAPU (Vic Falls Anti Poaching Unit) and the animal was tracked down the same day and darted by Roger Parry. Before sunset the snare had been removed and a full array of samples taken such as DNA, Foot and Mouth checks and so forth.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
If you If you join the satisfied guests at the bar you may see all sorts of wildlife slaking their thirst at the waterhole – from a pack of wild dog, to the big cats that congregate with the elephant, buffalo and other animals.

For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

The Kingdom Hotel and Casino
The largest Hotel in the area with 294 rooms. The Kingdom hotel has offered good lower level four star accomodation to the series and leisure market, the service offered by Derek Kung and his team is excellent. Like the Vic Falls Hotel and Ilala Lodge the Kingdom enjoys being situated within an easy walk of the Falls rainforest.
The Kingdom
For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

Elephant Hills
Not many people are aware that the Golf Course at Elephant Hills is in excellent condition with a lot of wildlife enjoying this Garden of Eden. The amazing display of indigenous trees along the edges of the fairways are something to behold. Not far from the River ( just some 200 meters in places ) one may be put off on your back-swing by the grunt of a hippo frolicking in the warm waters.
Elephant Hills
The Hotel is a good venue for your larger groups and offers great conference facilities, and the staff are very accommodating on specific group oriented requests.

For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

The Rainbow Hotel
One of our hidden secrets in town is the view from the verandah roof of this interesting property. I was there for sundowners late last month and can safely say this is the best view in town. The little three star property offers good cuisine and comfortable beds in air-conditioned rooms.
The Rainbow Hotel
For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

Azambezi River Lodge
The property is closed for a complete upgrade at the moment. An exciting development that was initiated in the beginning of 2010. The owners are injecting substantial investment to get the property into 4-star shape. I recently had a complete tour of the developments and I was pleasantly surprised at the standard of the refurb.
A'Zambezi River Lodge
This is the only Hotel on the Zimbabwean bank to enjoy actual river frontage and the upgrade will harness the 250 meters of it that the property enjoys. If you are worried that Zimbabwe was struggling to overcome its investment problems in the tourism industry than you should get a look at this.

For more details on this hotel please click here and for a rates enquiry please send us a message.

That’s all for our March newsletter. In our next one we will be focusing on the accommodation menu in Livingstone!

 

The Restaurant Saga Continues…

Date December 30, 2010

Since our News Letter where we announced the launch of a restaurant within the boundary of the rainforest on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls there has been some controversy about the development of the venue. We have kept our ear close to the news and will let you know on fresh developments as they happen. The following is an excerpt from a publication in Zambia that I read recently.

UNESCO endorses Victoria falls rainforest restaurant From Amazing Victoria Falls – The United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (Unesco) has endorsed the restaurant that was constructed at the entrance of the Victoria Falls rainforest, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Sylvester Maunganidze, has said.

The development means that the World Heritage Status of the rainforest is not under threat from delisting. Dr Maunganidze said the endorsement of the restaurant follows a decision by Unesco to send a secret mission into the country on Monday which he said found nothing amiss at the facility. The restaurant has been closed for a month after the National Museums and Monuments (NMMZ) unilaterally took over the control of the rainforest from the long time managers, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA).

At the same time parks rangers were also booted out of office. The two Government entities are fighting each other for control of the entrance at one of the Seven Wonders of the World which rakes in about US$7 000 daily and the restaurant was caught in the cross fire.

In an interview yesterday in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Dr Maunganidze said Unesco convened a meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, to discuss the conservation programme at Victoria Falls among other issues “Unesco had picked from the media that there were some fights around the restaurant with NMMZ claiming that the facility should not be there as it was in violation of Unesco protocol and that it was disturbing the skyline of the Falls. “So out of that meeting, Unesco sent a secret mission on Monday to see the restaurant and the mission later reported that there was nothing amiss, adding that it was not interfering with the WHS. “Unesco also had never complained about the restaurant as some elements in the local and international media were claiming,” he said.“Unesco even quoted a local non-governmental organisation that was raising the dust and one wonders on whose behalf they were raising dust. In fact, Unesco concluded that the restaurant was adding value to the Falls.”

He noted that Unesco and his ministry had no qualms over the operation of the restaurant noting that a directive by Vice President Nkomo for the status quo of the facility to remain should be followed. “My ministry gave the operator Shearwater Adventures a licence to operate and would see to it that they re-open soon.“I am taking the matter up to Vice President Nkomo who gave a directive last month for the status quo to remain at the rainforest,” he said.

Trouble started when NMMZ tried to control the Victoria Falls rainforest by elbowing out long-time managers NPWMA.NMMZ also forced the restaurant to close. However, the Government took a position that the management of the rainforest reverts to the parks authority. The battle to control the rainforest has been raging behind closed doors for more than a decade.

Wild Frontiers Zimbabwe Launched

Date November 9, 2010

WILD FRONTIERS ZIMBABWE RECENTLY LAUNCHED

Dear Agents and Tourism Partners,

Wild Frontiers Zimbabwe has recently been launched. The company will be running mobile safaris around Zimbabwe.

There will be two options:
1. A mobile tented camp combined with lodges in certain parks.
2. A Lodge to Lodge option.

This is the first time in many years that a product such as this has been launched and will include some of the lesser visited National Parks such as Chizarira, Matusadona, Matopos whilst also including Hwange, Mana Pools and the Upper Zambezi National Parks.
Tent on the Zambezi Bank
Each safari will be run for a maximum of six clients. The vehicles used are newly assembled stretched Landcruisers that WFZ has imported into Zimbabwe. The same guide will drive the clients for up to fourteen days across the country stopping at points of interest between the parks, and spending a minimum of 2 nights at each park.

Wild Frontiers Zimbabwe invites interested agents to join a short familiarisation stay in a tented camp on the banks of the Zambezi, and have a chance to see the vehicles that will be used, as well as meet the guiding team and camp staff that will be running these trips.

The dates for this famil will be from the 3rd to the 6th of November and the proposed itinerary will be as per the schedule listed at the end of this mail.

You are also invited to request other dates that may suit you better for a chance to experience this new and exciting product.

Please send an email to cansaf@cansaf.com or enquire through our web site for further details and requests.

Kind regards,

Robin

Day One:
Arrive and transfer to the new Victoria Falls Rainforest Restaurant for welcome lunch and briefing.
After lunch, a brief tour of the Falls and new Information Center.
1600, meet your guide and game drive up into the Zambezi National Park.
Drift into camp by canoe.
Overnight at the WFZ (Wild Frontiers Zimbabwe) Authentic Mobile Tented Camp.

Day Two:
Early morning walking safari in the Siansimba Spring area
Breakfast back at camp
Opportunity to do a full day safari combining game drive and canoeing or to go into Victoria Falls for other activities.
Overnight at WFZ Authentic Mobile Tented Camp

Day Three:
Breakfast at leisure on the banks of the River
Game drive into town and transfer out to the Elephant Camp
Overnight at Elephant Camp. (NB. This may change to the Stanley and Livingstone depending on availability)
Dinner at “The Lookout”.

Day Four:
Departure day.

Terms and Conditions Apply.

Travel: A Wonder of the World in Zimbabwe

Date October 27, 2010

Original Article here!

Written by Steve Bergsman

Sunday, 24 October 2010 10:08

Two years ago, when the writer Aimee Lee Ball volunteered to help a group of surgeons working for Operation of Hope in Harare, Zimbabwe, her friends implored her not to go because of the danger. Indeed, in December of that year, the U.S. government issued a Warden Message alerting American citizens about the increased social unrest in the country.

Against this background, however, Ball went off to do her charitable work. Once out of the hospital, her movements were restricted and sometimes she was amateurishly harassed, but she was so intrigued by the country that she returned two years later for a short trip through the western tip of the country and Victoria Falls. I caught up with her in Cape Town before our flight into Zimbabwe.

Several of my friends questioned my decision to go there, as Ball’s had.

“You’re going to Zimbabwe?” they’d ask. “Why on earth would you do that?”

A lot of other travelers to Africa ask this question, too. Should they visit Victoria Falls, one of the great wonders of the world, despite the despotic government, occasional outbreaks of violence, and erasure of law and order?

The answer is definitely yes. Not just to see the scenery but because those Zimbabweans scratching out a living in the tourist trade — or what’s left of it — need visitors to spend their dollars, euros, rands, yuans and yens.

The main reason visitors should come to this country is because of the natural beauty. The mighty Zambezi River flows over a chasm so large that it forms the largest waterfall on the globe. While it isn’t the highest or the widest, at 5,604 feet wide and 360 feet high, Victoria Falls is the greatest sheet of falling water anywhere.

zim2

Seeing Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is worth a trip to this troubled country. Photo courtesy of Steve Bergsman.

Ball, a couple of other intrepid souls and I were met at the Victoria Falls airport by a man in his mid-30s. His name badge read Mtulisi, and he said he would be our guide in the Victoria Falls area. Mtulisi was well-educated and fit, but his mother and sister had died of AIDS. We never asked him about his politics, but he seemed happy. He was the father of three children, one of whom had just come into the world two weeks before we arrived.

Since we only had a couple of days to spend in Zimbabwe, we were on a tight schedule. Mtulisi drove us from the airport, where we had flown in from Johannesburg, South Africa, straight to the parking lot of Victoria Falls National Park. We were insecure about leaving our bags in the car and wondered if we should worry about our belongings.

No, Mtulisi assured us, “This is the safest place in Zimbabwe.”

We looked around with uncertainty at the people meandering between the parked cars. But Mtulisi was right. When we returned from our jaunt a few hours later, everything was just as we had left it.

Mtulisi was just what we wanted in a guide — knowledgeable about the falls, solicitous to our needs and experienced enough to bring along necessities such as waterproof ponchos since anyone who walks to the falls is sure to get wet. That day the water pounded like a thunderstorm and the wind occasionally whipped the drops across our faces and down the insides of our ponchos.

Victoria Falls is so large that we saw it in small sections as we walked around the higher elevations across from the falls itself. At a few points we could actually see its breadth, but those views were often obscured by a thick mist, the natural effect from so much water cascading over rock cliffs. Still, there was no disappointment here. Seeing Victoria Falls is akin to looking down into the Grand Canyon for the first time; it’s an unforgettable sight.

We’d heard stories that the grande dame of Zimbabwe tourism, the Victoria Falls Hotel, was near vacant and staff kept on just as a source of kindness and hope. When our visit to the falls ended, we asked Mtulisi if he could drive us to the hotel for high tea. He did, and we were glad for it. The property, with its colonial-era architecture, was well-maintained and while not exactly busy had enough visitors to require a staff.

zim3

The Victoria Falls Hotel, constructed in 1904, is a World Heritage Site. Photo courtesy of Steve Bergsman.

People come to the Victoria Falls Hotel for the exquisite view of the chasm, the Zimbabwe-Zambia bridge and the falls in the distance. While my companions first sought the view and then sat for a delightful high-tea break of rooibos tea, small sandwiches and sweet tidbits, I took the time to explore the interior of the property and was a little surprised at the wealth of decorations, antiques, hotel collectibles, photos of the colonial era and early 20th century posters.

Mtulisi’s last task of the day was to drive us to our accommodation, a safari lodge called Matetsi, which was about a 40-minute drive from the falls. The transfer might well have been a game drive. Among the animals we saw on the drive were baboons, jackals, warthogs, impalas, a giant eagle owl and even a rare sighting of the highly venomous snake, the black momba.

zim1

A troop of baboons blocks the road near the Matetsi Water Lodge in Zimbabwe. Photo courtesy of Steve Bergsman

Matetsi was run by &Beyond, a South African company that manages safari lodges throughout Africa and India. The lodges are all located in remote settings and are generally very small (rarely more than 10 guest cabins or tents) so as to have a minimal footprint. Nevertheless, they are luxurious. Ball, who knew the &Beyond properties, told me Matetsi was one of its best, but it could easily have been closed for lack of business.

Even beyond the surprising four-star accommodation or the fine cuisine was the setting on the shore of the Zambezi River. On short notice, the resort organized an early morning river excursion that resulted in the thrill of being on the mighty Zambezi and seeing a new day breaking over the lush, rolling hills of Africa.

Despite its problems, I would advise visitors to Africa to take a few extra days and visit this corner of a troubled country. It will fill their souls — and the pocketbooks of all who are trying to earn a modern living in a harsh world.

IF YOU GO

Getting there: We flew South African Airways from New York directly to Johannesburg and Cape Town, then Johannesburg to Victoria Falls: www.flysaa.com.

Where to stay: The Matetsi Water Lodge is a beautiful place in an extraordinary setting: www.andbeyondafrica.com.

What to see: Victoria Falls National Park, one of the natural wonders of the world: www.zimparks.com.

Zambezi Canoeing Safaris…

Date September 12, 2010

A little bit of history: Cansaf Creative Teaming started off life as a canoeing company on the Lower Zambezi River as a part of Sheerwater Adventures. The name “Cansaf” was the radio call sign for the company which was then called “Canoeing Safaris”, the original Canoeing Safaris! Once Robin and Jo Brown bought the company from Sheerwater they changed its name permanently to “Cansaf” and the rest is history.

I just thought I’d mention this because the canoe safaris section has just been updated and there are some nice past and present pictures to check out in the gallery.

Adventure travel at its best, african camping canoe trips in Zimbabwe and Zambia

Canadian canoes on the Zambezi, steep Zambezi Banks provide a home for Carmine Bee-Eaters and other birds and animal life

Ride from Harare to Vic Falls for S.O.A.P

Date August 17, 2010

Craig Foaden’s email about the bike ride for S.O.A.P
———————————————————————————
Hi To all my friends, family and associates,

On the 22 September, 6 cyclists including myself will be doing a ride from Harare to Vic Falls. We are doing it in aid of a charity organization called S.O.A.P (Supporting Old Age Pensioners). This is a charity organization which was started to help all those oldies who lost out when Zimbabweans started to suffer at the hands of Mugabe

Our cycle is approximately 857km, and we will depart Harare at midday on the 22nd September. We will cycle throughout the day and night on both the 22nd and 23rd, and aim to arrive at Vic Falls Primary school sometime on the morning of the 24th. All cyclists will do the entire distance, and there will be no relay system. Our back up will consist of 3 vehicles who will help keep us nourished and hydrated throughout the ride.

Anyone who is close to Vic Falls, then there will be a big party at the Boat Club on Saturday the 25th and money will be raised there again.

I have attached all the information you need to this email as well.

Any donation no matter how big or small will be highly appreciated, and please assist me in forwarding this on to anyone else who might be interested.

You will notice there are bank account details for UK, Zimbabwe, Australia and South Africa so please spread the word. Anyone living in Botswana who is interested in making a donation then please contact me, and we will make a plan.

Please copy me in should you make a donation of any form just so I can be sure to thank you.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you need anything else.

Your support would be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Craig Foaden

General Manager

Into Africa Mowana Safaris / African Odyssey

Tel: (267) 6250659

Cell: (267) 71702230

soap, cycle, old age pensioners, zimbabwe, bulawayo, harare

Cycle from Bulawayo to Harare

Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit: News

Date June 2, 2010

VFAPU – Dear VFAPU Supporters and potential Supporters, Firstly, on behalf of all of us VFAPU, I would like to thank you all for your continued support, which is so vital to our operations against the menace of poaching in our region. You are all playing a vital role in this challenge that faces us.

Please refer to our report below for details on our operation since the beginning of the year to present. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.

January 2010

Snares located: 42
Persons apprehended: 13 (12 wood poachers, 1 fish poacher)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals found poached: 7
Species: 4 impala, 2 warthog, 1 kudu
Location/s: Big tree area, behind Vic Falls Primary School
Other: One elephant bull was found dead close to the airstrip on the Kazungula Rd, with no apparent bullet or snare wounds. The tusks were recovered by National Parks and Wildlife management Authority staff. One impala found dead by Nyathi Rest Camp as was one warthog found by Wimpy – both presumed to have been killed by vehicles.

February 2010

Snares located: 9
Persons apprehended: 23 ( 8 wood, 4 border jumpers, 3 people illegal entry to the Zambezi National Park, 5 fish, 3 curio vendors
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Warthog male
Location: Caught in a cable snare by Jays Spar car park in Victoria Falls town.
Mammals found poached: 3
Species: 2 buffalo, 1 sable
Location/s: the buffalo were found close to the shooting range off mine field road and the sable was in the Chamabonda vlei
Other: 1 one meter crocodile found off Kazungula Rd with brain removed, possibly to be used as ‘muti’.

March 2010

Snares located: 23
Persons apprehended: 15 (8 wood, 4 curio vendors, 1 man found illegally in the park with a knife,  2 people illegal entry into Zambezi National park
Mammals darted: 3
Species: Warthog
Location: close to rainbow Hotel/railway line
Mammals found poached: 5
Species: 3 buffalo, 1 warthog and 1 spotted hyena
Location: the buffalo were north of shooting range, the warthog was by the Big tree, and the hyena was behind Vic Falls Hotel
Other: 1 female buffalo found in Bug Tree are with no snare or bullet wounds

April 2010

Snares located: 14
Persons apprehended: 12 (1 wood, 2 people illegal entry to Zambezi National Park, 8 curio vendors, 1 man selling illegal game meat)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Kudu cow
Location: Big tree
Mammals poached: 3
Species: 1 elephant bull, 1 female buffalo, 1 female eland.
Location/s: The elephant bull was found 500m from picnic site No 1 in the Zambezi national Park, the buffalo was 100m off Wood Road, the eland was found at Chamabonda salt pan. Other; 1 impala ram found dead at golf course hole no.2 – cause of death unknown.

May 2010

Snares located: 11
Persons apprehended: 8 (5 wood, 2 curio vendors, 1 thief)
Mammals darted: 3
Species: Warthog x 1, buffalo female x 1 , elephant bull x  1
Location/s: Western ridge close to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Hotel
Mammals poached: 1 buffalo cow
Location: west of shooting range
Other: 1 female buffalo found dead at Big Tree  – cause of death unknown
The elephant bull that was darted died during treatment procedure and had serious septic wounds probably caused form being hit by a train or a truck.
1 female warthog hot by vehicle by Sprayview Hotel and the carcass was stolen by passing vehicle.
1 buffalo bull was hit by a vehicle on Kazungula Road by the Victoria Falls Primary School. VFAPU scouts tracked the buffalo for 6 km and on seeing the extent of wounds that were suffered, it was decided to shoot it.
1 elephant bull was reported to be badly wounded with a possible bullet wound and was unable to walk. This bull was seen on Liunga Loop and it is currently being tracked.

On a positive side, there has been a great improvement in game sightings in and around Victoria Falls. From reports received from a variety of people, lions, wild dogs, cheetah, buffalo, herds of 40 plus elephants, plus a general increase of plains game are being seen. Of course, we have the elephant bulls that regularly visit the suburbs and stir up a number of reactions from the public, as they bulldoze through walls and gates to sample various gardens attractions!

VFAPU welcomes the new Area Manager for the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe – Mr Arthur Musakwa. We have already had a number of meetings and it is very encouraging to have his full commitment to continue the strong relationship already existing between VFAPU and NPWMAZ.  We also thank the Zimbabwe Republic Police for their support, as we all work  together to PROTECT OUR WILDLIFE FOR OUR FUTURE AND FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN.

Please spread the word as the more support we can get, the more scouts we can put in the field. VFAPU is looking for further stakeholders to join our ‘sponsor a scout’ programme, so please contact us for more information. Please forward this report to anyone who you feel may be able to help.

Once again, VFAPU thanks each and every donor/supporter who has generously given their assistance through the last eleven years that VFAPU has been able to operate.

“working together to conserve Zimbabwe’s wildlife’

Regards,

Charles Brightman