The country’s most famous tourist attraction is Victoria Falls, which straddles the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Its largest safari park, Hwange, covers 14,650 square kilometres and the Rovos Rail luxury train passes through Zimbabwe.
Expert Africa managing director Chris McIntyre said the company had clients in Zimbabwe, and some about to arrive, plus a team member on a research trip there.
“Nobody is reporting any problems from Victoria Falls, or the national park – in fact so far everything seems very calm and quiet,” he said. “We’re watching this situation closely, but we’re cautiously optimistic it will stay this way. There seems to be determination from even the politicians that everyone should just carry on.”
He urged clients and agents to “keep in close touch with us”, but added: “Currently we see no reason not to expect Zimbabwe to continue to be a great destination for a safari.”
McIntyre lived in Zimbabwe before he worked in travel and believes its future is looking brighter. “I lived and worked in Zimbabwe’s poor, rural areas for nearly three years in the late 1980s, and we’ve been sending travellers there since the mid-1990s,” he said.
As TTG went to press, the ruling Zanu-PF party was discussing Mugabe’s future after he tendered his resignation on Tuesday.
McIntyre said: “We’re aware of all the many problems of the country’s people – and that many of these stem from misrule by Mr Mugabe and his cronies. Now we’re optimistic that without Mugabe the country has a chance to fare better in the future.”
Another specialist, Rainbow Tours, added: “We’re monitoring the situation closely and our partners on the ground are sending us regular updates, but for now, the situation is contained to Harare, so isn’t impacting Rainbow Tours or any of our customers.”