Authorities thinking about Vic Falls theme park

2015-05-23 14:18

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - Municipal authorities in Victoria Falls say they are still assessing the environmental impact of a proposed multimillion dollar theme park in Zimbabwe's top tourist resort and have not made a final decision as to whether the controversial development will be allowed to go ahead.

Victoria Falls Town Clerk Christopher Dube said in a statement this week: "New consultation processes are being conducted and recommendations made to the relevant authorities to aid decision-making."

The planned $18m Santonga Historical and Recreational Park has provoked mixed reactions. 

Opponents, including a prominent columnist in Zimbabwe's state-owned media, say the project appears to be a glorified zoo, and will stop the free movement of game that isn't caged.

Zimbabwe's tourism minister Walter Mzembi denies this. 

Victoria Falls, home of one of the seven wonders of the world, is situated inside a national park. Wild animals often venture into the town, including a herd of buffalo last December. The presence of game delights tourists but can prove a pain to locals, as when baboons caused a three-hour power cut last weekend.

The developers of the park, Africa Albida Tourism, say it will "bombard the senses" and will tell the story of Victoria Falls "from the very beginning, four billion years ago, through its history, people, plants and wildlife”, according to a recent statement from group chair Dave Glynn. 

Reports say the park could be completed by 2017.

But opposition continues. Popular Harare blogger @joeblackzw wrote on Tuesday: "A zoo. In Vic Falls. Which is a national park. So a zoo. Blocking free movement of wild animals in the park to the river. GENIUS."

Tourism executive Clement Mukwasi told a radio phone-in programme that the park, if it goes ahead, "will take the wilderness feel of the Victoria Falls and fuel human-animal conflict," state ZBC reported earlier this month.

Tourism used to be one of Zimbabwe's biggest earners in the 1990s but international arrivals dropped sharply after 2000, when visitors were scared off by reports of food, fuel and power shortages, farm invasions and alleged rights abuses.

Arrivals have been steadily picking up since the formation of a coalition government in 2009, though recently-released figures for last year show the number of South African tourists had dropped compared to the previous year. The power-sharing government lasted for four years.

A first Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the theme park, necessary for all projects of this type, appears to have been carried out around 2007. But the results of that are considered to be no longer valid and the assessment is being updated, town clerk Dube said.

He added: "We advise stakeholders to desist from speculative actions and debate that may jeopardise the internal processes of council by either seeking to pre-empt or influence in any way the decision in favour of or against the [Santonga] proposal."

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  environment  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.