Situated between Mutare and Chimanimani towns, the women from this area produce gudza crafts for local market and export. Visitors can stop over by the center to purchase a range of crafts including hats, dolls, carpets, room dividers, pot rings and placemats. The center is underperforming due to low tourism traffic to Chimanimani. The unchecked threats to the Brachystegia sp. that is harvested for weaving is also a factor limiting expansion.
Mahenye Ward is situated in southeastern Zimbabwe along the border with Mozambique. The Save River forms the southern and western boundaries of the ward and separates the communal lands of Mahenye from Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park.
Management of the facility: Joint venture partnership between the Shangaan Community in Mahenye Ward and a Private operator. The private operator has the day to day management of the facility. Locals employed on the facility.
Accommodation – 8 thatched chalets on an island on Save River
Access – Accessed 55 km from the off the Chiredzi Mutare highway mostly gravel road.
Amenities – facility provide basic amenities to meet emergency visitor needs. Facility is also covered by mobile phone network.
Attractions – Scenic views, Falls and Pans, Save River, Wildlife and unique flora
Activities – Game drives and walks, scenic drives, bird watching, canoeing
Awareness – Marketed by private operator. Appears on several websites and exhibited at various national and international tourism marketing expos
Main Challenges: Low tourism activity, capital to diversify, Save River siltation, poaching, slow development of tourism in Gonarezhou National Park, a major pull of visitors to the area.
Future Prospects: Enhancing the culture product
Serengeti Five Ecotourism facility is situated 28km on the South West of Rusape Town. It was an initiative of an individual who was keen in conserving the environment involving local communities. The project started in 1991 with funding from Africa 2000, the construction was completed in 1997.
Management of the facility: The project is managed by the founder supported by Administration and Catering and Housekeeping staff.
Accommodation – Serengeti Five offers accommodation and conferencing facilities. 5 spectacular dagga and grass roundavels and one large conference facility provides accommodation to between 15-20 people.
Access – The facility is easily accessible by road from Rusape town where one travels 10km of gravel road from the Rusape Wedza road.
Amenities – Visitor amenities are available from Rusape Town. Local clinic can be of service to the visitors. The facility is covered well by mobile telephone networks. Attractions: Scenic views, Lake Rusape, rural setting/village life, nursery – green belt, caves
Activities –The facility is close to a man made dam used for recreational purposes such as fishing and swimming. Tourist are also attracted by the training in budding and grafting of trees to produce fruits within a year, conferencing, day and night booking and organic growing/farming.
Awareness – Nyathi Travel Company often markets the facility. However the facility relies on word of mouth especially from NGOs who come to Serengeti for conferencing.
Main Challenges: Marketing, shifting seasons hence reduction in dam levels which sometimes dries up. Low visitor inflows and community participation arrangements.
Future Prospects: To develop a large conference facility, increase accommodation capacity and involve more household beneficiaries.
This is a 2010 initiative from locals who are targeting to develop large scale community based tourism in Honde Valley. Bordering the Nyanga National Park the facility operates from Honde Valley Samanga area and the concept is yet to be fully developed. Management of the facility: The project is being implemented by METCOT trust which incorporates local leadership, households and a private sector company already operating accommodation facilities in Mutare.
Accommodation – No accommodation is provided at the moment. There is a site at the base of the falls just outside the National park that has been identified as suitable for camping.
Access – The facility is accessible from the Nyanga Mutare Road, 15km along the Honde Valley Road. The Honde Valley is about 130km from Mutare, or 110km from Nyanga.
Amenities – The Hauna Growth Point provides all amenities including shops, hospital and banking facilities
Attractions – Scenic drive, Mutarazi Falls, Escarpment, Mahwemasimike rock outcrops, traditional and cultural stories/beliefs
Activities – Biking and bird watching Awareness – the event is not well marketed
Main Challenges – Limited opportunities to partner with Parks, seasonal activities.
Future Prospects: construction of lodges and campsite in Samanga Village at the base of Mutarazi Falls mountain range.
Gairezi Ecotourism Project, a CAMPFIRE project, is a beautifully situated on the crystal clear Gairezi River in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. It started in the early 1990s and they are in partnership with Nyanga Downs Fly Fishing Club. This project benefits 304 households from the Dazi and Nyamutsapa Communities, Nyanga.
Accommodation – self-catering set of four-bedroom lodges and a campsite that can accommodate 20 single tents.
Management of the facility: The project is run by a board of 6 individuals and a management committee of four all drawn from the local community. At the moment the management committee and staff are getting management and marketing support from Nyanga Downs’ Club. The community is in a partnership arrangement with the Nyanga Downs Flyfishers Club. A Board of Trustees drawn from the local community oversees the management of the center whilst five staff are employed one as manager, the other as resource monitor and the rest are lodge attendants.
Access – The facility is situated about 30 km on the north west side of Nyanga and about 18km from the Troutbeck resort. The 20km stretch off the Nyanga Nyamaropa road after Troutbeck is a gravel road but is well maintained by the Nyanga Rural District Council. In the rainy season, an all weather rough terrain vehicle is advisable. Amenities – A local clinic in Dazi area is accessible to visitors. The facility is also covered by two mobile networks albeit intermittently. Shops and fuels are available 20km away in Troutbeck.
Attractions – Scenic views of the Nyangani mountain range; Gairezi river; cool weather, pine plantations, unique tree ferns, chief Tangwena – (his Chimurenga history).
Activities –Fly fishing for trout, hiking, bird watching, shopping for local crafts, chief Tangwena story and village visit,
Awareness – The facility is marketed mainly by Nyanga Downs Fly Fishers Club. STEP Zimbabwe website also contains content on the website.
Main Challenges: It was noted during the interview that the project requires intensive capacity building for the employees and the board members for efficient running of the business. Although the partnership with Nyanga Downs has been good in sustaining the operations (especially visitorship) there is no apparent effort towards local community empowerment and gradual handover. In the event that Nyanga Downs draws out of the partnership, the local communities will be left wanting. They need to make their own decisions pertaining to the running of the business. It was also noted that project is operating without being registered as a community based enterprise with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. Some of the issues of the project include, poor capacity of board and members, weak partnership between Nyanga Downs Club, the Board and communities that does not promote transfer of skills from the partner to the community, poor readiness to takeover project despite the years of partnership, stagnant growth in facilities, activities and market. Future Prospects: The community plans to expand the facility by building more lodges along the river that are operated directly by communities. There are also plans for horse riding and village visits into the park and to the Tangwena community.