Restaurant and Curio Shop opening within the Victoria Falls National Park

Environment Africa has been receiving calls in the past one month over the construction of a restaurant and setting up of a curio and T Shirt shop in the core zone of the Victoria Falls National and World Heritage Site.

It is believed that a local tour operator was granted permission by the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to construct a restaurant and start selling curios right in the core of the Victoria Falls rainforest.

The residents, curio vendors and companies that have been calling Environment Africa are very much concerned about the impact that this development is going to have on the conservation status of the mighty Victoria Falls and the livelihoods of more than 100 poor curio vendors and their families who were earning a living by selling curios outside the Victoria Falls Rainforest.

The vendors from “Ema Doyilini”, Busy Island, Sinathankawu and Rainforest are complaining that they have been robbed of a living.

Members of the community are wondering how and why the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority decided to allow such a new operation to take place. “Are we as a nation on the road to commercialising and taking away the natural beauty of the site”? “At what point is the Parks Authority going to stop this precedence that has been set?”.

These are the difficult questions that are being asked as residents struggle to come to terms with what is unfolding in broad day light.

The beautiful angels that David Livingstone talked about when he first saw the falls must be weeping in their flight as they see this beautiful national asset taking its first step towards its demise.

Imagine a restaurant in the great enclosure of the Great Zimbabwe Monument. Yes you can’t believe it. But it’s happening in Victoria Falls. The Lozi, Toka Leya, Tonga
and Nambya speaking people handed it down to our generation undisturbed. Is this the legacy that we want to handover to our children?

If you are among the residents, curio vendors or companies that are concerned or happy about this development please share your views with us by contacting Namo Chuma on eafrica@mweb.co.zw.

The issues that you will raise will be used to plan for a stakeholder forum to discuss the issue and map the way forward so that we reach a win-win situation and maintain a balance between tourism development, sustainable livelihoods and conservation.

You can also have access to the EIA document by requesting it from the Environmental Management Agency and the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Call Mr Banda of EMA on 0913666855. Namo Chuma eafrica@mweb.co.zw

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