THE KINGDOM HOTEL
The Kingdom Hotel Zimbabwe has 294 rooms reflect its target market of families, groups, couples and singles. There are four suites; 112 rooms have king-size beds; 102 queen-size; 34 have king size and bunk beds; and 40 have twin beds and bunk beds. The Leambe conference room can hold up to 80 people and the Thuli boardroom is designed for smaller business groups of up to 14. Stunning architecture, which echoes the Victoria Falls but draws on the ancient Kingdom of Munhumutapa, with great domes, pillars, and bridges over the many water features, belies the fact that the resort is run on very traditional African Sun lines, with no compromises on the highest levels of products and guest service.
The project was established in 2002 under the leadership of CAMPFIRE which mobilised the Mayambara community and collaborated with the local council. The main role of the community was to conserve all natural resources encompassed on the site.
Accommodation: Five lodges are under construction all at the roof level.
Activities: Nature walks, picnicking, village tours, boating and fishing
Amenities: Reception, restaurant at roof level, borehole sunk with water pump and pipes already connected. A water storage stand made of steel in place to cater for large water tanks. Electric transformer and the cables had also been connected to the 5 site. A durawall and fence surrounds the site.
Challenges: Progress in construction has stalled since the death of the business partner. There is poor security on the site and the water pump, electricity transformer, main gate, door frames and window frames have all been vandalized. Facility is in need of a new investor. Destruction of vegetation in and around the site is rampant – limited resource and organisational capacity of leadership and Trustees to keep degradation under check.
Future prospects: Secure business partner to recapitalise the project and complete construction. There is potential for the development of a jetty at the river to cater for some water related activities such as boating and fishing.
Established in 1998 by the CAMPFIRE programme, the facility is located in Hurungwe District, on the boarders with Gokwe District, on the shores of Sanyati river just after the confluence of the Chiroti and Sanyati Rivers. It is 71 km from Hurungwe along Bumi hills road.
Management of the facility: The project constitutes of four villages of 2400 households and two representatives from each village constitute the ward committee, chaired by the councilor. The resource monitors also seat in the committee which has seven members. For a number of years the facility was managed in partnership with a private operator who conducted both hunting and photographic safaris. From 2010, the operator withdrew and the community is now wholly responsible for managing the camp. The camp staff is made up of six workers, camp attendant and 4 resource monitors. The Hurungwe RDC Natural Resources officer is also responsible for overseeing the management of the site.
Accommodation – Sanyati bridge camp has camping facilities and 4 self catering chalets (round thatched huts).
Access – Accessible by road, 71km from Hurungwe RDC on the Bumi Hills Road. Needs rough terrain road.
Amenities – Mobile telephone network coverage, no electricity on the camp. There is a kiosk at the site, which normally offers cold beers, soft drinks, cigarettes and other smaller things. The kiosk is currently not functional.
Attractions - the camp offers visitors attraction in the form of a variety of wild animals and birds. Sanyati River itself has attractive gorges namely, Mahwindo and Manyenyedzi. The buffer zone offers beautiful scenery from the green vegetation.
Activities – Tourist can also enjoy fishing, camping, canoeing, safari hunting and 4x4 game drives
Awareness – Appears on the CAMPFIRE and STEP Websites and also promoted by the Hurungwe RDC.
Main Challenges: The facility dilapidated after an operator Hurungwe safaris withdrew operations from the facility. The project used to be assisted by CAMPFIRE and Hurungwe RDC for its marketing and promotion of the attraction especially when it was used as a base camp for hunting safaris. From the interview it was noted that the community lacks management skills which is the core for any successful business. Future Prospects: The facility requires a number of renovations noted as follows:
The Last Destination center is situated at the Chiunye Village in Chiunye Ward some 30km from Kotwa Growth Point in the Western direction. Kotwa Growth Point is in Mudzi District some 200km from Harare along Nyamapanda Highway. The project represents one of the best and live culture preservation sites in Zimbabwe that survived the last 10 years of economic decline. Preservation of culture is done through the collection and production of traditional artifacts (wooded, pottery and basketry), maintaining live traditional homestead that show cases day to day lives in a rural homestead, performing traditional dances to visitors and holding traditional ceremonies amidst the charm of well preserved natural environment. The project was designed to benefit 200 individuals in the village. Management of the facility: The facility is managed by a Board drawn from the Chiunye village of 20 households. Day to day management and service provision to visitors is by volunteers from the Chiunye family.
Accommodation – Two roundavels and a camping site can accommodate over 20 visitors within the facility.
Access: The site is accessible by road, 25km off the main Mutoko highway is well maintained gravel road. The highway is well serviced by public transport and visitors will need to organize transport between main road to the site. Amenities – Facility is serviced by mobile telephone network. Other amenities (shops, medical services, curios) are available from Kotwa business center, 30km from the facility.
Attractions: This is a cultural and historical village offering fascinating samples of historical battle fields, homesteads , graveyards, and a hunting area featuring Binga village, traditional foods ,wild fruits, traditional artwork and culturally inclined crafts.
Activities –Cultural dances, music experiences, annual bira (cultural festival) for Chiunye village, demonstrations of traditional rituals that used to be conducted long ago in the event of drought, illness, death and burials.
Awareness – Facility is not actively marketed. Mostly patronized by private schools and culture enthusiasts.
Main Challenges: Limited wider community buy in and ownership, political conflicts, facility needs repairs, a number of restoral projects have not been completed, communities harvest firewood and forest resources in the 10hac facility; poor marketing strategy. Some of the constraints include political tensions in the area, poor marketing and thinning clientele, disintegrating cultural artifacts that need refurbishment. The facility is not registered with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
Future Prospects: reconstruction of some of the sites that have been destroyed by harsh weather or stray animals, construction of overnight facilities and crafts center. At the moment the project requires funds to renovate the village and training the members in proper business management. Exploring partnership with Mudzi hotel to access more clientele.
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
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.
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.
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.
Situated 12 km off the Vic Falls Bulawayo Road, about 2 km along the Gorges road, the place located just outside the Vic Falls National Park offers a typical live traditional village life.
Management of the facility: Mr Ndhlovu the coordinator and owner of the village works with his extended family are involved in the day to day operation of the business.
Accommodation – The village has huts than can accommodate 10 overnight visitors and shelters where a maximum of 20 people can be sheltered overnight.
Access – Easily accessed by road from Bulawayo Vic Falls road. The 12km off tarmac can be travelled using 2x2 vehicles. Tours in hired buses are regularly organized from Vic Falls by tour operators.
Amenities – Ablution blocks, clean water, curious available on site. Other services are readily available from Vic Falls
Attractions: The village structures, traditional cuisine, crafts, scenic views of the Vic Falls, Masuwe gorge
Activities – cultural dance, storytelling, herbal solutions, live and stage made traditional wedding parties. The village also allows local craft makers to sell their wares to tourists who visit the village.
Awareness – At the moment the village is working closely with Victoria Falls based tour operators for sale, packaging and marketing of the product. Main Challenges: The facility lacks a proper framework for private – community partnership. Pricing of the product and packaging is an area that needs improvement. Future Prospects: As a social responsibility, the village has donated books for the schools around within the community, facilitated the maintenance of the roads and the famous KoMphisi soccer trophy. Above all the village is facilitating the water project for the community.