SAFARIS in Zimbabwe are among the most affordable in Africa.
At Matobo National Park🐾Wildlife sightings aren’t marred by hoards of other tourists.
Thanks to thick 🌿🌱vegetation and abundant water, the Matobo Hills support a high population of animals and birds.
According to Dambari, a non-profit conservation and research organisation , the last full count of animal species in the Matobo Hills in 2011 totalled 110.
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We’re almost done with the field work for our mammal count project to estimate population sizes of large mammals in Rhodes Matopos National Park (RMNP). So far we’ve accounted for 26 different species either through visual sightings or else by spoor, dung or using our camera traps. (Just to put that number in some context – since 2011 our camera traps have recorded 56 larger mammals and the full count of all mammals including rodents, shrews and bats in RMNP is around 110.) Here is a full list of the species seen so far: African wild cat Banded mongoose Black rhino Brown hyaena Bushbuck Bushpig Common duiker Common reedbuck Eland Giraffe Green (vervet) monkey Grey-footed (Chacma) baboon Hippo Impala Klipspringer Kudu Leopard Meller's mongoose Serval Slender mongoose Spotted hyaena Steenbok Warthog Waterbuck White rhino Zebra #matobo #matobohills #dambari #wildlife #conservation #research #zimbabwe
1. Black and White Rhino
👉The Matobo National Park is home to the country’s largest population of white and black 👌rhino and the game park is designated an Intensive Preservation Zone for their protection💂.
The white rhinos here are one of largest and heaviest land animals in the world.They are endowed with an immense body and large head, a short neck and broad chest.
Females weigh 1,700 kg and males 2,300 kg .The head-and-body length is 3.4–4.5 m and a shoulder height of 160–186 cm.
WITH each day that passes, hundreds of visitors pull over at the Matobo National Park gate to register their arrival.
This is Zimbabwe’s oldest national park, one in which the republic’s history comes alive.
The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site and Cultural Landscape – a 3 100 square km area which has the most tangible links to mankind’s pre-historic and modern past.
Bushmen Caves, Magnificent Balancing Rocks, and Wildlife – are major draw cards for travellers of all ages.
However, in addition to the above, Zimbabwe’s millennials are listing the world’s-away appeal and affordable luxury accommodation as the fundamental reason of visiting the Matobo Hills.
VISITING THE MATOBO HILLS
Yolanda Chitsinde, a 25-year-old from Harare drove twice to the Matobo Hills in July 2019 just to “turn – up” with friends.
On her debut trip to the Matobo Hills, Yolanda and squad had visited Bulawayo for a couple of days. They then decided, on their last day, to spend a couple of hours somewhere quieter, having a braai.
Just like that, Yolanda and crew ended up in the Matopos as Matobo is called by some, chilling at Rhodes grave before heading back to Bulawayo to dance their last night away.
Exactly one week later, Yolanda was back in the Matobo Hills to see more and do more with another set of three friends.
This time Yolanda and the three debutants spent the night at Matobo Hills Lodge and were treated to private guided tour of a stunning ancient cave, one of the many in the area that keeps attracting travellers from all over the world.
“Matobo is such a nice place, it’s a really spiritual place and historic, very important and amazing, Yolanda said.”
DISCOVERING NSWATUGI CAVE
“We went to the Nswatugi Cave, where the bushmen used to live, Yolanda recounted.” We saw a lot of rock paintings it was really beautiful art and it was a lot of history; it was a really nice experience – it was like I’m living in the past.”
Yolanda and friends marvelled at a Cape Zebra, giraffe, kudu and traditional wedding ceremony that were illustrated inside the walls of Nswatugi Cave.
One of Yolanda’s friends, Laura Masaraure described what she had seen inside the cave as amazing.
“It’s really fascinating where they [San Bushmen] learned this level of artistry,” said Laura in disbelief. “These are very good and elaborate paintings. There is so much interesting stuff to learn here, like how they actually made these paintings.”
Rumbidzai Mubvuta another friend of Yolanda was happy that the six-hour drive from Harare to the Matobo Hills had been worth the time.
Rumbidzai said she the whole crew was “tempted to spend the night in the cave because it was just beautiful, and they could not get over it.”
THE STAY AT MATOBO HILLS LODGE
Unfortunately, time was a huge constraint for Yolanda and company.
Sleeping in the cave was not a bad idea at all. It was just not pragmatic for the millennials who had a six-hour journey ahead of them and more importantly had to get back to adulting (work on Monday).
Instead, the closest they could get to living like the ancient hunters and gatherers was eating game meat. The crew arrived at Matobo Hills Lodge just in time for dinner and were delighted to find Impala and Warthog among the choice of entrees on the menu.
In Yolanda’s words, that ‘got to her’.
“The Impala meat that we had when we arrived here. It was really nice,” elaborated Yolanda. “It was my first-time having game meat and they prepared it really well, it was really nice.”
Over and above that, Yolanda was surprised by how vast the Matobo Hills area is. She confessed that she thought Matobo was just a small fenced area with Rhodes grave only and a few animals.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN THE MATOBO HILLS
Alas, there is so much to see and do in the area than a single day trip can accommodate. Yolanda and crew’s tour guide, listed so many other attractions that abound in the Matobo Hills, like:
- the Njelele Shrine,
- Mzilikazi’s grave,
- the Game Park which is stocked with Rhino, Zebra, Wildebeest, Antelopes and a host of other species of flora and fauna,
- many other caves,
- the Villages and the villagers,
- the Grain Bins,
- the dams ideal for fishing and picnics
- and 3 000 other registered rock art sites.
The tour guide, Tawanda Maphosa recommended that “to have a satisfactory experience in the Matobo Hills, travellers need to set aside at least two nights to explore the area.”
Clearly, Yolanda and squad will need to go back to the Matobo Hills to discover more.
But until Yolanda returns (most likely with a new set of friends), it will remain ingrained in her heart that the Matobo Hills experience is the G.O.A.T.
That is the reason why everybody is going to the Matobo Hills.
The Matobo Hills are an extesive granite landscape, charactised by a sea of rocky peaks and undulating plains.
The term ‘Matobo’ is plural for rocks and since these rocky hills have been inhabited by man for millenia some of you may be wondering what they are actually called.
Here’s a look at only five prominent granite peaks in Matobo and the meaning behind their names.
The Njelele Hill is the sacred site of the traditional rain making ceremony conducted by locals every August to ask the gods for good rains. It is located outside the south western fringes of the Matobo National Park in the Khumalo communal area approximately hundred kilometers south of Bulawayo.
According to authors Burret, Fitzpatrick and Dupree, the name Njelele is thought to be a corruption of the name of the founder of the Mlimo cult, Njenjema.
Njelele Hill is a granite Kopje that looks solid and similar to several others in Matobo. However it houses the Njelele Shrine and cave in which an assortment of skulls and horns of big game, iron hoes, clay pots containing water, cloth and beads, piles of tobacco, hatchets, and spears are kept.
Malindidzimu Hill is the granite landform upon which Cecil John Rhodes and other leaders from the pre-colonial era are buried.
Malindidzimu means ‘dwelling place of the benevolent spirits’. Rhodes loved the panoramic view at summit of the hill and named it View of The World.
Malindidzimu is one of the most visited sites within the Matobo Hills and has been a source of controversy over the years with some nationalists calling for the removal of the remains of Rhodes and other white settlers.
Inungu Hill is the landmark in the Matobo Hills with a cross on its summit. The Hill lies just outside the Matobo National Park on private land.
The Hill is said to resemble a Porcupine, hence the name.
The Cross on Inungu Hill is a statement of Christian presence within the Hills. Erected in 1982 by parishioners at Christ the King Church in Bulawayo, the cross stands as a memory to a Catholic priest, Father Odlio Weeger who is said to have loved the Matobo Hills and its people, Christian and non-Christian.
The Hill is the landmark upon which the famous Bambatha Cave is perched on.
It is located on the northern flanks of the Matobo Hills just off the main Kezi road.
Bambatha derives from the Zulu/Ndebele term meaning “to caress or stroke with hands”. It is upon this hill that most archaelogocial activity in the Matobo Hills has occured.
Ntunjambila is a hill on the eastern sideo of the Matobo Hill. It’s name means “the split rock” .
The hill is home to the Ntunjambila Cave, a sacred cave that is used for traditional rain making ceremonies.
Ntunjambila cave is also the site in which ZIPRA military hardware smuggled from Zambia via Bulawayo was hidden.
Like every other Zimbabwean, Given Ngulube loves to call himself by his totem.
He refers to himself endearingly as “uMkhwebu, uJama, uMabuya”, a personification of the wit and sociability of a swine/pig.
His totem is a pig and it is for this reason that he does not eat pork.
A totem is an animal, plant or natural object serving among certain tribal or traditional peoples as the emblem of a clan.
Upholding such high totemic traditions tells that Given is proud of his Ndebele identity, culture and heritage.
As a proud native of Matobo, he says he chose to work in the hills because he adores the area.
“Matobo has a lot of hills and the views from the summit of the hills are breath-taking,” explains Given.
He is a shuttle driver @Matobohillslodge, the man you can count on to pick you up from Bulawayo City or even the airport and take you to Matobo National Park.
Given was born in Matobo, in the Dula area and attended Matopo Mission School, which is in the vicinity of Mzilikazi’s grave.
Mzilikazi Khumalo ( c. 1790 – 9 September 1868) was a king who founded the Matabele Kingdom now known as Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. His name means “the great road”.
Many consider Mzilikazi to be the greatest Southern African military leader after the Zulu king Shaka. In-fact, Mzilikazi was originally a lieutenant of Shaka but had a quarrel with him in 1823 and rebelled. Rather than face ritual execution, he fled northwards with his followers.
King Mzilikazi’s grave is on the site of his former royal town, Mhlahlandleia, according to the ZimFeildGuide.com. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Herbert Stanley, the Governor of Southern Rhodesia, on 17th June 1941.
The Inscription on Mzilikazi’s memorial reads: “Mzilikazi, son of Shobana, the Matabele hail you. The Mountain fell down on 5 September 1868. All nations acclaim the son of Shobana. Bayete.”
The memorial was built beneath the tree where Mzilikazi held court, met many of the early European travellers to this country and conducted the affairs of state. However, the Indaba tree died because people used to strip off its bark, which they believed had curative powers.
Given opines that Mzilikazi’s final resting place in the Matobo Hills is special, particularly to the Ndebele because “it’s important for people to know where their ancestors lie.”
For Given, it’s imperative for the local community to visit the memorial so that they appreciate the culture of their ancestors.
He adds that, “When travellers visit Matobo, they want to appreciate history of the Ndebele people, that’s where their legacy lives.”
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PREPARE THE FAMILY for an awe-inspiring encounter, where visitors discover the ancient and modern history of Zimbabwe.
Nowhere else can you have a good time and yet still learn a thing or two in archaeology and even bio-diversity.
Located just outside of Bulawayo, south-west of Zimbabwe, the Matobo Hills will take you to a realm of memorable and educational experiences that allow you to see its rich natural diversity and culture that has been preserved for eternity.
1. Visit Rhodes Grave & Historical Sites
Stand in awe of a dramatic granite outcrop that provides a spectacular “view of the world,” as Cecil Rhodes, who is buried there, put it.
There are about 3 other sites; the Shangani Patrol Memorial , graves of Leander Starr Jameson and Allan Wilson and The M.O.T.H shrine, which are great starters of a discussion on Zimbabwe’s history for the whole family.
The burial of European Settlers at the summit of the Malindidzimu Hill is a great source of controversy in modern Zimbabwe as this is considered a sacred place by nationalists and indigenous groups. Malindidzimu, as local people called it, means Hill of The Benevolent Spirits.
2. See Rock Art and Bushmen Paintings
The paintings are evidence of evolving artistic styles and illustrate socio-religious beliefs dating back at least 13,000 years.
There are over 3,000 registered rock art sites, with the main periods of painting being between 320 and 500 C.E.
Combine this experience with a Culture trip to visit the present-day inhabitants of the Silozwe Valley.
The whole family will be dazzled by the modern-day tradition of painting the walls of mud huts. The villagers will be proud to give you a tour of their picturesque traditionally made homesteads.
3. Visit the Caves For A Lesson In Archaeology
If human history and prehistory fascinates you, then a visit to the many caves and crevices of the Matobo Hills will definitely be worth your while.
Excavations from the floors of Bambatha, Nswatugi and Pomongwe caves include; a human skeleton dating 42000 BC, Stone tools estimated to be about 20,000 years old, several hearths and bone fragments of game animals of various sizes.
These artefacts all reveal that the hills may have been inhabited by man for 100,000 years.
An iron age furnace along the route of Inanke cave is evidence of the arrival of the Bantu / Iron Age people in the area more than 2000 years ago.
4. Hike trails on the granite outcrops
Does the idea of an adventurous expedition with your loved ones spark your imagination? The Matobo Hills provides a myriad of opportunities to to get into nature on foot, amid some truly impressive scenery.
Walking through such an amazing theater of balancing rocks will definitely elicit inquiry into the formation of the landscape and consequently teach you the best geography lesson of your life.
Children and adults will be intrigued by this first hand experience of weathering and erosion that formed the kopjes and whale-backs that characterise the hills.
Doing something a little out of the ordinary , that requires some effort and forces you to explore in a more mindful way is a very rewarding way to travel.
5. Touch the wild.At least figuratively!
Literally attempting to ‘touch’ fauna and flora in the Matobo Hills may teach you the wrong lesson. It may be impossible, outright dangerous or may even get you arrested depending on the species.
You should indeed experience the rich bio-diversity of the area.
There are over 200 species of trees in the area, many types of rare endemic plants , wild herbs and over 100 grass species.
There’s a wide diversity of fauna too. 175 bird, 88 mammal, 39 snake and 16 fish species.
If you are curious about birds, mammals, arachnids (scorpions, spiders, mites), plants, reptiles and amphibians, insects and fungi, there is no better place to see and learn about them than in the Matobo Hills.
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The Matobo Hills cover an area of about 3100 km², of which 424 km² is National Park, 🦓 the remainder being largely communal land and a small proportion of commercial farmland. The game park is 100 km² of beautiful scenery including some amazing balancing rocks and impressive views along the Mpopoma river valley💥.
1. Getting there is easier than you think.
The 32 km journey from the city center of Bulawayo takes way less than an hour.
2. It will open your eyes.
Meeting people from other cultures will teach you that the way you’ve been looking at the world isn’t the way everybody else does.
Moreso, a trip to the Matobo Hills teaches you economy, politics, history, geography in an intense, hands-on way no class will.
You will not learn these lessons in any other classroom in the world.
3. You will create meaningful relationships
If you take your trip with a loved one, you will definitely consolidate your relationship and stay together longer.
If you take your trip solo, you will meet people along the way who may become some of the most valued names on your contact list.
Ultimately these meaningful relationships will inspire you to be a better person. 👌
4. You will develop skills you didn’t know you had
Sometimes it’s only far from home that you realize you’ve got skills you’ve never used.
A trip to the Matobo Hills may bring such skills to the surface and completely surprise you.
Imagine the satisfaction of completing the 12km Inanke trail and realising that you have such an incredible amount of endurance, perseverance and athletic ability.
5. You may learn a new language
Whether you are Zimbabwean or not, a trip to the Matobo Hills is surely going to inspire you to say something in a language other than your own.
Locals in the area mostly speak isiNdebele. It may be satisfying to be able to greet the villagers in vernacular during a culture tour.
Moreover, given the influx of international travelers, you may get acquainted to someone that speaks a language you might have never heard of, and may be tempted to learn it.
6. It will give you the adventure of a lifetime.
Imagine the thrill of hoping into a landrover and watching going about their lives in their natural habitat.
Who knows what you will see on the day. Wild animals hunting, grazing, warring or even mating.
Imagine the thrill of tracking rhino on foot.
A Rhino Safari on foot with a professional guide in the shadows of the Matobo Hills is one of the most iconic safaris in Africa.
Feel your heart pound as you get close to one of the world’s most handsome and endangered animals
7. It will give you cool stories to tell
Think about it for a minute.
Even for folks who can’t tell a story, just the words “last year in the Matopos” can get you instant party points.
A lot of things happen when you are on Safari. Some fun, some weird.
All of the encounters that left a lasting impression on you are likely to have the same effect when recount them to friends and family in nostalgia.
8. You will taste something you have never had before.
You’ll be very surprised at the unsurpassed levels of Zimbabwean cuisine.
The way food is prepared in this part of the country might astound you.
It could be very well different from the way in which you prepare it.
9. It will help you to move forward
If you’re between jobs, schools, kids, or relationships, taking a Safari to the Matobo Hills can be a perfect way to move from one of these life stages into your next great adventure.
A Safari in Zimbabwe will give you a chance to reflect on the most important things in your life.
10. You will discover who you are!
All the challenges and opportunities that travel lays at your feet will help you discover who you are.
Your preferences and tastes will become apparent
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Matobo Hills Lodge is an authentic Zimbabwe safari lodge located within the Matopos National Park.
Getting to the Lodge from Bulawayo is fairly easy. You only have to make the choice to either drive or be driven.
As you leave the City of Kings, the temptation to enjoy the open road is strong. The road is fairly smooth compared to most in Zimbabwe nowadays.
However, the smartest thing to do on the single carriage-way leading to the Matopos National Park is to religiously follow the all the road rules and regulations, particularly the speed limit of 80km/hr.
Zimbabwe is cattle country, that means there is a lot of livestock that stray onto the main roads. It is imperative to be alert and cautious whilst driving.
WHERE THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
30 km along Matopos Road, after passing lake Matobo, the route curves to the right and on the drivers’ side you will see a fence, fields and many old buildings. This is the old estate of Cecil J Rhodes, now an agricultural research facility.
As you continue you will see gum trees on your right, immediately turn left opposite these trees towards Rhodes Matopos National Park (it is well signed), down a single track tarred road that leads to the National Park gate.
The national park entrance fees are pegged at US$3 per person for locals, US$10 per person for foreign nationals and US$10 per vehicle.(March 2019 rates)
This is where the all fun begins.
After entering the national park, it will just be about 16km before arrival at Matobo Hills Lodge.
As the road gets narrower the ravishing rock scenery increasingly becomes a pleasant distraction. It’s better to stick to the 60km/hr pace.
At this point, it’s not the livestock that you have to be mindful of, it’s the Zebra, the Wildebeest, the Baboons, the Warthogs, Klipspringer and Banded Mongoose that might run in-front of you!
By the time you have to take a right detour onto the gravel road leading to the lodge, you will have traveled 10km from the gate. You will see from afar, the granite hill on which Cecil Rhodes was buried and a mysterious cross on one of the Mountains.
The 6km of dirt driving towards the lodge feels nothing like a rally drive. The road is smooth and well maintained, just a little bumpy on one or two spots.
When you reach destination Matobo Lodge, our friendly staff will be ready to add to your already amazing experience, giving you a warm welcome and serving you the best food and cocktails in The Most Incredible Location.
The rest that happens after that will probably be the best adventure you will ever have, but hey, that’s your story to tell.
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Walking the Inanke Cave Trail is a trip for the intrepid traveler who really wants to get off the beaten track.
This spectacular Matobo Hills Hike offers one of the best one-day treks in the world and has all the ingredients of a rugged adventure.
The Inanke trail starts and finishes at Toghwana Dam in the south of the Matobo Hills, whilst taking in the grandest, most majestic cave in all of Southern Africa.
This is a real trek, where you’ll truly be out in some of the most ravishing wilderness Zimbabwe has to offer.
Inanke Cave is the highlight of the trail that is littered with historic sites. Along the route of the hike are several rock paintings and an Iron Age furnace.
When hiking the Inanke trail – it’s important to be realistic about your physical abilities.
The walk is a 12km round trip through an untouched granite wilderness. It is for those with an adventurous spirit, who are in fairly good shape and want to hike for a longer period of time.
THE TRAIL OF LIFE
Hiking to Inanke Cave is a beautiful representation of life.
All of us want to reach a summit of some kind. We all have goals and visions for the future.
Everybody has a timeline in mind, and all we want is to reach the top. We can feel how amazing it will be when we reach that point of self-actualisation.
But Make no Mistake. The climb is hard.
On the trail, vast swathes of savanna and granite give way to magnificent rivers and wildlife.
The walk takes in such a varied array of scenes, from fresh, running streams and waterfalls, to thick dense jungle tracks that you almost need a machete to pass.
This trail will fill you with a pioneer spirit.
Firstly, you have to really want to get to Inanke. Even the road to get there will test your resolve but the payoff is worth it a thousand times over.
A THEATRE OF SCENES
The trail to the cave of Inanke begins with yellow arrows from the Toghwana Dam car park. However, if you have not been there before, it is easy to get lost as the arrows disappear at some points along the trek.
You can expect tall grass and thick bushes along your pathless wanderings towards the cave.
Inanke cave is very rarely visited because of it’s location. The majestic cave is carved high into a granite hillside and filled with Masterpieces of ancient bushman art.
Once inside, a granite rock canvas containing some of the worlds most remarkable rock art sits still and patiently in the cool of the cave.
The Cave is undeniably awe-inspiring, a breathtaking mural of ancient life in the Matobo Hills.
The paintings are said to range from about 2000 years to 13 000 years old.
This iconic cave allows you to marvel at the work of people from almost another epoch, it fills you with a sense of perspective and wonder all at once.
by Josh Elliott
A recently published analysis by Africa Sun LTD placed Zimbabwe 117th among the most likely travel destinations on the planet.
When you consider for a moment that our much more dangerous neighbour South Africa is ranked 60th, it really puts into context the enormous wasted potential of the Zimbabwean tourism industry.
The Lonely Planet Guide made Zimbabwe one of it’s “Top 3 places to Visit in 2019.”
“International travelers want to see conservation and preservation not decimation” –Josh Elliott,Managing Director, Matobo Hills Lodge
This recognition really highlighted the massive tourism opportunities the country has at its fingertips. Tourism has the ability to alleviate both the current economic and political instability in Zimbabwe – it just has to be harnessed appropriately.
Tourism has the ability to alleviate both the current economic and political instability in Zimbabwe – it just has to be harnessed appropriately.
To do this we need to restore both international and domestic confidence in our products and in our ability to deliver world class experiences.
Recent sensational stories of baby Elephants being shipped to China and Elephants being shot by rich American hunters might bring a tiny amount of short term gain to the country in the form of capital but in terms of long-term tourism, destination management as well as general goodwill, it is hugely detrimental to all stakeholders in the Industry.
It is not the job of the National Parks to sell off assets that belong to the Zimbabwean people, it is their job to protect them!
International travelers are savvy and aware people, they will not support countries that they see as dishonest, difficult or corrupt.
They want to see conservation and preservation not decimation.
Travel & Tourism made up 3% of Zimbabwe’s GDP in 2017-2018, substantially lower than the world-wide average of well over 8% over the same two years.
So how can we fix tourism in Zimbabwe?
The Victoria Falls Problem
Most travel itineraries to Southern Africa do not include any Zimbabwean tourist attractions beyond Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe is blessed with dozens of incredible tourist attractions from Nyanga to Great Zimbabwe to Matobo Hills to Kariba. Yet a paltry sum of people visit these places.
It is a tragedy.
People just do not know what is out there or what they are missing out on and if they do, they are scared to go, scared that they won’t find fuel, scared the police will stop them on the road and ask for a bribe.
A plan for the whole country – True Value
One Solution to fix this problem would be for The Zimbabwe National Parks to get with the times.Imagine if in addition to getting tickets at the Victoria Falls gate, you could also buy an App.
The “Zimbabwe National Parks” App it would cost say $40 to buy.
Not only would this App give you entry to Victoria Falls, it would for 3 weeks give you entry to all National Parks in Zimbabwe, it would be packed with maps, useful information, up to date news and updates, everything any tourist would need to make a decision to visit the rest of Zimbabwe.
What an incentive!
Tourists have already paid to visit Victoria Falls and now they can visit any of the National parks in Zimbabwe – FREE.
Why not lead the way in giving international travelers true value instead of just being another overpriced tourist trap.
Zimbabwe does not have a great reputation for internal domestic travel.
Being able to effectively connect tourist hubs in our own country is vital if we are to entice discerning international travelers.
To truly compete on the global stage, Zimbabwe will need a reliable and competitive airline and a complete privatisation of the National Rail Services.
Reliable transport infrastructure is what will eventually revive the tourism sector in Zimbabwe.
Tourists are desperate to visit Zimbabwe, they just don’t want it to be difficult. Daily and reliable air, road and rail transport services would alleviate much tourist angst.
The lack of money and a lack of discipline in maintaining basic facilities has seen a real drop in infrastructure standards.
Zimbabwe needs to build a long term tourism policy for the systematic upgrades of all our major tourist hubs.
Whilst that might not seem like a feasible idea from a financial point of view, the government could always provide incentives for substantial private investment that would boost the entire area’s trade and provide employment.
How to Change the Image of Zimbabwe
Have you watched English Premier League football lately?
If you are unfortunate enough to be an Arsenal fan (as I am) then you will see “Visit Rwanda” plastered over the players arm every match day.
If you watch CNN or BBC News you will be bombarded by “Visit South Africa” adverts coming your way every few minutes. You can’t miss it – that’s the point
Let’s get our story out there
Heard much positive news from Zimbabwe lately?
In this modern day and age it is all about exposure, getting the message out and more importantly getting the message to the right people.
A branded Instagram campaign using the right influencers would do miracles for (relatively) very little money.
Imagine paying somebody like Kendall Jenner to visit Zimbabwe for two weeks and share her experiences on Instagram with real stories.
Suddenly in two weeks 100 million young and wealthy Americans would know what a wonderful place Zimbabwe was to visit.
Do it with a dozen or so of the right profile of influencers and you have an entire army of people not only educated and wealthy but excited about the possibility of visiting Zimbabwe.
We need to make every little detail as easy as possible for international travellers
Zimbabwean tourism has unlimited potential, the potential to be amongst the most successful safari destination in Africa but we cannot just build a “seven- star” resort ( whatever that means ) in the middle of Victoria Falls and assume all of a sudden the masses will flock.
Instead of obnoxious theme parks and tacky hotels, let’s be authentically Zimbabwean, let’s focus on what we are best at which is being a friendly, warm people who are caring, smiling, proud hosts.
Zimbabwe should focus on getting every little detail right. From the moment an eager tourist arrives at the airport or the border post we must focus on making that persons experience incredible. Small steps – have friendly staff at the airports with bottled water, maps, information, free caps…whatever.
Let’s face it Zimbabwe comes with a reputation so any tourists who brave all the terrible media they consume to actually come, see and spend money here should be exulted and cherished.
As 2018 turned into 2019, people all over the world celebrated New Year’s Eve in all sorts of fashion.
Watching the Ball Drop in New York City.
And lighting fireworks in Sydney, Australia.
However, Safari lovers who chose to be in the scenic Matobo Hills had a unique experience.
There was serenity, warmth and purity.
Surreal balancing rocks, mood-altering reptiles and multi-coloured lichen all combined to create a scene from another planet.
Connecting with Ancient Culture
The Mbibas, a family of four who drove all the way from Harare, spent the New Year’s weekend hiking, rhino tracking and visiting the caves.
Only one word could describe their stay in the Matobo Hills. Refreshing.
Letty Mbiba said that, “It was beautiful interacting with nature on those hikes and rhino 🦏 tracking!”
Letty’s husband and their two children were also impressed with Matobo Hills Lodge and tour guide Bheki.
“Bheki made our stay at the lodge unforgettable! We all looked forward to our escapades with him,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
We knew the Matobo Hills would be a nice, quiet place to reflect on the year gone by and set goals for the upcoming one
As evening fell, other families, couples and solo travellers joined the clock as it ticked away the last hours of 2018.
All that could be heard besides laughter were deep croaks and ribits of toads in the pool.
Lisa, and her family based in England, together with her friends and their family gathered around a bon fire at Matobo Hills Lodge.
Without music or fireworks – they did a good job counting down seconds to the new year at the top of their voices.
At the stroke of midnight, the two families all raced to take position atop a granite mound, gave a toast to the new year and struck a pose at their very first group photo of the year.
The camaraderie of the group was just contagious.
Lisa, family and friends said that they wanted to do something different and more intimate for New Year’s Eve.
“We came out here just to enjoy the New Year’s holiday as a family. We knew the Matobo Hills would be a nice, quiet place to reflect on the year gone by and set goals for the upcoming one,” said Lisa.