I doubt it, not if the reports we are getting from our partners in Zimbabwe are anything to go by.
So why are things looking positive again for the country that went from being the bread basket of Africa to the basket case of Africa?
Most importantly, the economy has been dollarised which means the ‘fifty trillion’ dollar bills that were recently in circulation are now only good for scrapbooks as a reminder of an economy that was previously in freefall but is now stable. At a meeting with a lodge owner recently he commented: “Everybody is happy because you go to bed with a dollar in your pocket and when you wake up in the morning it is still worth the same!” The shops are full of produce, lodges are open for business and there is a real sense of positive anticipation on the ground especially as Morgan Tsvangirai is now urging travellers to visit Zimbabwe to see the progress that has been made.
Steppes Discovery has put together a Journey Idea that incorporates Victoria Falls, Zambezi National Park and Hwange National Park. As well as game drives and game walks, Discovery clients get to join the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit for a morning and gain a fascinating insight into the crucial work being undertaken to preserve Zimbabwe’s diverse fauna and in so doing contribute to the overall recovery of this beautiful country.
By sending clients to Zimbabwe are we inadvertently feathering Mugabe’s nest? As a tour operator, this is the question that bothered me most but I am pleased to say this is not the case. Lodges and ground handlers in Zimbabwe are mainly privately owned and not linked to the government. Yes, taxes will be generated but the money being spent is going straight into the private sector which in turn provides jobs for local people and stimulates the economy as a whole.
Zimbabwe is renowned for having the best guides in Africa. Intelligent and perceptive in the field by day, engaging and witty around the campfire at night time, Zimbabwean guides are proud professionals with knowledge and passion in equal measure. A safari in Zimbabwe led by African’s finest guides is both educational and inspiring and recent reports of game sightings are all very positive with large herds of elephant and giraffe being seen in Zambezi National Park and leopard, cheetah and lion all being spotted in Hwange.