Victoria Falls Destination Update
What's happening? What's New?
In the last few months, there's been a bit of excitement following the opening up of borders, and changes in
Covid-19 regulations across southern Africa. Travel in the region has picked up and we are happy to see new faces on the streets of Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe and the surrounding countries of
Zambia and South Africa, have
scrapped PCR tests for visitors who are able to present proof of full vaccination, making it much simpler to travel, particularly across borders. Most of these countries have also removed requirements for children under 12 years.
There have been a few updates and new products launched this year. The new Bamba Tram
began running trips in April, just in time for Easter. The tram trips vary from
morning bridge runs to sunset safari runs, and even a dinner under the stars.
The trips are very affordable, and lots of fun for the whole family.
The tram operator also takes group bookings for special occasions. Also, if you're wanting a hop-off hop-on bus taking your group around town instead, Bamba Enterprises can sort that out for you.
The Bamba Tram bridge run
Victoria Falls Flights Update
There have also been developments with flights across the region. In March, Eurowings Discover commenced long haul flights from Frankfurt to Victoria Falls via Windhoek. FastJet launched their Kruger-Victoria Falls flights in April, and will begin their Victoria Falls-Maun flights at the end of June 2022, making it easier to extend a visit to Victoria Falls with a safari in the Okavango Delta.
For local routes, the new Kuva Air launched their Victoria Falls-Harare flights in April as well, and have now began their milk run, linking Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Hwange and Kariba.
Sadly, however, BA Comair have had to suspend their flights until further notice. This is due to financial constraints brought on by rising debt, being grounded by the pandemic, and recent increase in fuel costs. It is not yet clear when or if they will be able to take to the skies.
Comair have announced that they have made an agreement with SA Airlink to accommodate their clients affected by the suspension. Passengers holding tickets for travel from June 3 to 12, 2022 can rebook their flights with Airlink at no additional cost. Otherwise, at the moment, only FastJet are operating the Johannesburg - Victoria Falls route, and they have now added an extra daily flight.
New in Victoria Falls Accommodation
Coming to the banks of the Zambezi River is an exclusive riverside villa, suitable for families, friends or a small group who are looking for a private experience. The luxury villa can sleep up to 6 adults and 2 children at a time in 2 twin/king suites and a family suite that sleeps 2 adults and 2 children.
Private facilities at the villa include plunge pools on large decks, air conditioning in each suite, wifi, exclusive chef's kitchen, private lounge and dining area, and a star bed. The villa opens in July 2022, but bookings are open.
New luxury riverside villa opening in July 2022
The Africa Albida Tourism group have resumed construction of the first destination spa in Victoria Falls, located on the same estate as the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. The project had been put on hold because of the pandemic, but confidence in the revival of the tourism industry has helped recommencement of the project.
Features to look forward to at the spa include manicure and pedicure stations, private relaxation rooms, a cafe serving healthy dishes, a hair salon and change rooms, including one that is wheelchair friendly, and three separate secluded treatment rooms. The spa will be ideal for wellness weekends, Monday to Thursday breaks, couples' and wedding packages where bridal parties can book it exclusively. It is set to
open in October 2022.
Architect's render of the new Victoria Falls Safari Spa now under construction
On the activities side, the water of the Zambezi have started receding, and so Livingstone Island is now open for the island tour (no swimming just yet). Below the Victoria Falls, the white-water rafting is still closed, but expected to resume in mid-June, beginning with the high water run. In Zambia, the Royal Livingstone Express dinner train is now running every Saturday.
Restaurants and Events
Victoria Falls Restaurants that had been closed for a couple of years are now open for customers – The Lookout Café, Shearwater Café, The Boma, Dusty Road Township Experience and Reynardo's. A few kilometers out of the city limits, House of Zulu is located in the communal lands along the airport road. They offer a variety of tasty, bold flavours, including stuffed meatballs, Zulu King sized burger, platters, flame grilled chicken, and varieties of pizzas with names like Nandi Queen Mother, Shaka Zulu (spicey), Cowhorn Formation (beef and more beef).
Annual events that had been put on hold, or held virtually, are now back. The Victoria Falls Carnival took place in April this time around, and was as popular as ever, even though some of the artists did not show up. The Enduro took place on the same weekend, and the town was full!
Still to come are the Victoria Fall Marathon, Zambezi Cycle Challenge, Pumping Legs and the White water Rafting Festival on the Zambian side.
What's Happening in Hwange?
Over in Hwange National Park, an exciting new project by Imvelo Safaris is taking shape, and aims to see the return of rhino in the park after over 15 years. Populations of rhino have been decimated over the last 200 years, but also reintroductions have been successful between then and now. Threats to rhino populations are mostly habitat loss and poaching. In the late 1960's, 35 rhino were translocated into Hwange, and over the years, the population grew steadily.
But by the end of the 20th century, rampant poaching had once again wiped out rhino from Hwange. The Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary, in association with the Cobras Community Wildlife Protection Unit, has already been established and ready for the first two white rhino bulls.
Most existing rhino conservation successes throughout Africa are on private land or government park land. This project represents a massive paradigm shift particularly for white rhino because it is on community land with local communities as custodians. The only other place this has been done is in Namibia with black rhino but this is a first for white rhino.
New in Mana Pools
In Mana Pools National Park, Machaba Safaris have opened Mana River Camp, a classic safari camp located in the heart of park. It is a mobile tented camp, taken down at the end of each safari season, and can accommodate up to 12 guests at a time. Mana River Camp is nested under riverine forest shaded by Trichilia Emetica and Anna Tree. Positioned on the banks of the Zambezi River, on other side of the camp is a water pan which is popular with elephants that enjoy wallowing in the mud.
Machaba have a sister camp in Mana Pools called Ingwe Pan Camp, which is located further inland. Other camps are located in Hwange National Park, Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta.
Mana River Camp along the Zambezi River - Mana Pools National Park
We are delighted to see all the wonderful activities and accommodation open again, as well as the new developments taking place, and very much look forward to having you visit this magical part of the world!
P.S. We still have special offers on accommodation in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia. Check out the links below:
Specials for Internationals
Specials for SADC Residents
Specials for Zimbabwe Residents
Update 22 June 2022
BA's Comair have since applied for liquidation and will not be returning to the skies.
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