The tourism sector is one of the four pillars of the economy, alongside agriculture, manufacturing and mining. Tourism is expected to increase exponentially its contribution to the GDP.. Tourism receipts are expected to increase from US$886 million in 2015 to over $3 billion by 2020.
The Victoria Falls , known as the “Smoke that Thunders” in the local Tonga language, is the largest single curtain of falling water in the world and are one of Africa’s most scenic and enchanting sites. On seeing the falls for the first time David Livingstone wrote “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight” (Livingstone 1857).
The rain forest which has constant rain 24/7 from the never ending spray of the Falls, has a unique ecosystem. It is a botanist’s dream and bird lovers’ paradise. Activities in Victoria Falls include white water rafting, fishing, bungee jumping and wildlife viewing. Victoria Falls boasts of world class hotel accommodation, camping sites and lodges, to cater for all income brackets.
The town of Victoria Falls is situated less than one kilometre away from the Falls. This means that many of the Hotels and Lodges are within a reasonable distance of the Falls. Development on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe has been carefully controlled. Almost the entire stretch of river from Victoria Falls to Kazungula (+/- 80 km) is a pristine National Park filled with wildlife. Victoria Falls is a totally safe destination.
Victoria Falls town is surrounded by National Parks and wildlife areas. This is what makes it such a unique and wonderful place, man and animal do co-exist here. Warthogs, monkeys and baboons are plentiful in the town; they generally will not harm people unless they are cornered or provoked. This is a small town focused primarily as one would expect, on tourists. There is an array of curios shops, arts and crafts, galleries and little boutiques and restaurants around the town. The main shopping centres are Elephants Walk, Trading Post Centre and the Pumula Centre. A visit to Victoria Falls will leave one enchanted forever!
Hwange National Park
Wildlife is the very essence of Zimbabwe’s tourism. Hwange National Park south of the Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve with over 100 animal species and more than 400 types of birds. In this vast game are some of the largest herds of the huge African elephant and buffalo on the continent. Other animals in the park include lion, eland, giraffe, rhino, zebra, sable, kudu and waterbuck.
Zimbabwe also hosts more than 10 other smaller but equally significant National Parks that include a World Heritage Site, Mana Pools which also harbours Africa’s “big five” (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo).
The town of Kariba, built at the site of the hydro-electric dam across the Zambezi River, is a focus for tourism, and provides a starting point for access to the vast Lake Kariba. The little town which developed haphazardly on the hills near the site of the massive hydro-electric dam constructed across the Zambezi River in the 1950s, became known as “Kariba”. The name ‘Kariba’ is thought to be a corruption of a local word ‘Kariva’ which means “little trap”. It is believed when those who wished to construct the dam wall wanted to explain the nature of the project to the locals, they emphasised that they wanted to build a little water trap-Kariva. However, the complex pronunciation of the ‘v’ in Kariva saw the Western constructors produce a sound much like a ‘b’ hence the creation of the word Kariba.
Kariba is a small and spread-out resort town which is the starting point for tourism activities centered on the lake of the same name. Access is by air into the town’s minor airport (from where transfers can be arranged) or by road via a scenic route through the Zambezi escarpment hills about 4-5 hours’ drive from Harare. The distance by road from Lusaka (via either Chirundu or Siavonga) is less, but involves border formalities which can cause delays. It can, however, allow visitors the chance to cross the Zambezi River over the Chirundu Bridge or the awesomely impressive Kariba dam wall.
An area noted for its beauty is the Eastern Highlands, along the Zimbabwe border with Mozambique. The main gateway to the region is Mutare, a city that lies cupped within the mountains. A short drive away is the scenic Vumba, an area of ancient forest, sub-tropic plants and arrays of ferns and flower gardens at the Vumba Botanic Gardens. North of Mutare is Nyanga, a region of mountains, waterfalls and trout streams. To the south of the city beyond the Vumba mountains are the Chimanimani Mountains and waterfalls as well.
Nyanga National Park
Nyanga National Park is situated in one of the most scenic areas of Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands. Rolling green hills and perennial rivers transverse the 47 000 hectare Park. Altitudes between 1 800 and 2 593 meters provide cool weather and fresh mountain air, perfect for rest and relaxation. With its stunning mountainous views, numerous waterfalls, varied activities and unique flora and fauna, Nyanga National Park can provide the visitor with an unforgettable holiday experience. The park is located about 268 km from Harare along a well tarred highway.
The mountainous terrain is home to a variety of animals including the mysterious waterbuck, wildebeest, kudu, zebra, impala, sables, eland to mention but a few .The sparkling fresh water rivers are an envelope of fresh water fish such as the Nyanga trout which is a delicacy to many visitors.
Cool temperatures are usual in Nyanga with summer temperature around 26 degrees celcius and winter cold temperatures of -3 degrees celcius .These are complimented by a wet summer.
There are three rest camps namely Rhodes, Udu and Mare. These Rest camps offer the visitor spacious thatched self catering two and one bed roomed lodges with a fully equipped kitchens. There are exciting camping and caravan sites which are well sheltered by acacia trees where cooking on wood fires draws the visitor to ancient memories of the history of mankind .
Twenty eight (28) kilometres south of Masvingo is a national monument of renown, The Great Zimbabwe, declared a World Heritage site in 1986. The Great Zimbabwe is known for its grandeur, which was made known to the outside world by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Spread over a 720-heactare area is an impressive array of dry stone structures that are divided into three groups: The Hill Complex; The Great Enclosure; and The Valley Complex.
(All pictures Courtesy of ZTA)
Investment Opportunities in Tourism
Increased tourism investment opportunities can be unlocked through the National Tourism Master Plan, Tourism Development Zones and the Trans-Frontier Conservation areas.
Investment opportunities are available in the following areas:
• Integrated Resorts;
• Golf Estates and Casinos;
• Hotels and Lodges;
• Convention Centres and Exhibition Parks;
• Theme Amusement Parks, and
• Shopping Malls and Restaurants.
More information on Zimbabwe Tourism can found on the following Websites:
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
Link to Ministry of Tourism:
Link to Zimbabwe Parks Prospectus:
LINK : INVESTMENT GUIDELINES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN ZIMBABWE