Tuesday, 30 October 2012


What better way to bring in the New Year than with a 3-day celebration with one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls, as the scenic backdrop. The Vic Falls Carnival from 29 – 31 December 2012 offers a dynamite programme of events and a killer line-up of local artists!

Highlights of the carnival include:

The Zambezi Lager Party Express VIP Party on the 29th of December.  Board the Vic Falls Carnival Party Express in time for a spectacular sunset, dressed to the Carnival theme, and enjoy an unforgettable ride on board the Vic Falls Steam Train before disembarking at a secret concert location in the heart of the African Bushveld.

With one of the highest deforestation rates on the planet, help Greenpop make a difference to this exquisite UNESCO world heritage site with the “Day of 1000 Trees at Vic Falls Carnival”.  The Vic Falls Carnival and Greenpop are inspiring a greener tomorrow with a pledge to plant 1000 trees in a day.  Get your hands dirty in support of this worthy project.

Get into the Carnival spirit with the Vic Falls Beer Fest on 30 and 31 December.  Mill around the stalls and play carnival games all while sampling delicious African beers, absorbing great music and the summer sun. 

New Year’s Eve celebrations at the Carnival will see a host of Southern Africa’s best artists performing.  This fantastic line-up includes Zebra & Giraffe, The Graeme Watkins Project, Zahara, Plush, Jeremy Loops and Zimbabwe’s own Oliver Mtukudzi and Chicken Bus. 

For more information visit www.vicfallscarnival.com and get the best accommodation with the GoToVictoriaFalls.com members.  Visit www.gotovictoriafalls.com.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Victoria Falls Safari Club construction complete!

The stylish Victoria Falls Safari Club is open setting a new benchmark in luxury accommodation in Victoria Falls, a top choice tourist destination.

The lavish Club will blend the enchanting power of nature with modern comforts to create an exclusive atmosphere that is distinctly African.  Construction of this superb new addition to the Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) portfolio started in November 2011 and was completed two weeks ahead of schedule.

AAT Chairman Dave Glynn said, ‘We are absolutely thrilled with the way the project progressed. We are now looking forward to welcoming our first guests.’

The Safari Club team, led by Club Manager Claire Wright, is eager to receive the first guests and has been undergoing extensive training in preparation for the opening.

Remarked Ross Kennedy, AAT Chief Executive, ‘Hospitality projects such as these are notorious worldwide for running well over time and budget and thus tour operators and agents are always skeptical. For this project we have good news for them – a green light to book because we are ready!’

Kennedy added that interest in the Safari Club in the build-up to opening has been extremely encouraging with many international tour operators already featuring it in their 2013 brochures, with a number of USA, Australian and European Union operators requesting special launch packages to promote in their markets.

Through the use of local materials such as thatch, gum poles, stone and sand, the $2,7 million development has been in line with AAT’s policy to reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint. During the construction of the new Club wing several trees were trans-located into a nursery and are now being replanted. In addition, contractors were strictly controlled to prevent them from trampling haphazardly over the fragile and precious environment.

Contractor Dale Kiggen commented that it had been an honour to work on the Safari Club project and he was confident that the Safari Club would soon become the number one address in Victoria Falls.

Located adjacent to the award-winning Victoria FallsSafari Lodge, the flagship property of AAT, the Safari Club will boast rooms that are 50% larger than those at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, giving a sense of abundant space. The exclusive club ethos will be reflected in such features as butler service, private check-in and check-out and a multi-functional area that includes a bar, lounge and terrace.

Victoria Falls is gearing up for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in late August 2013 that is expected to attract more than 3,000 delegates from around the world.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


It is becoming very evident that Victoria Falls is the town that both leisure and business travellers are talking about and it is certainly one of the top destinations in Southern Africa at the moment. Victoria Falls experienced the highest number of visitors in several years in 2011 and it looks like 2012 is shaping up to be an even better year for the tourist town. After a decade of low arrivals, Zimbabwe is seeing a huge growth in tourists to the country and the famous Victoria Falls is most certainly seeing this obvious increase in interest.

But why is this town in land locked Zimbabwe such a popular destination? Other than the obvious spectacular Victoria Falls (one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World) it is also the adventure capital of Africa, continually offering new and exciting activities. Furthermore, it is situated in the centre of a number of world class national parks in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, meaning it is increasingly obvious that the tourist town is the ideal destination for travellers to pass through for a few days, before moving on to explore the surrounding areas.

However, the increase in arrivals that industry players are now preparing for can be attributed to a number of other positive factors.

The Victoria Falls Airport is being modernised and enlarged and a number of international airlines are discussing possible flights into Zimbabwe and the town itself. This is in addition to the recent commencement of Emirates flights into Harare from Dubai, via Lusaka. South African Airways has also dramatically increased its capacity to Zimbabwe by 66%, while Air Namibia has launched a four-times a week schedule from Windhoek to Harare.

The new Victoria Falls Safari Club
Meanwhile the town has become the destination of choice for conferences with the African Travel Association (ATA) hosting their 37th world congress from 18 – 22 May this year, which saw 500 delegates descend upon the town. This is just the preview to what is expected in 2013, when the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly is hosted in both Victoria Falls and Livingstone, with an estimated 3000 delegates from 158 countries expected to attend.

The General Assembly can only mean positive things for the town and Go to Victoria Falls members are extremely excited about how it will impact arrivals into the town.

Roddy Meiring, General Manager of Ilala Lodge says “It’s a unique opportunity which will further develop the town, once again proving that Zimbabwe is back on the map and a safe place to visit”.

Trish Mambinge, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Shearwater Victoria Falls, added that “UNWTO means we shall see more arrivals next year, meaning we will take on more pax on our activities, gaining increased experience and revenue”.

Meanwhile the new luxury Victoria Falls Safari Club 20-room wing at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge looks set to be THE showcase accommodation at next year's assembly. This exclusive facility, including four majestic suites, will open in August this year, a year ahead of the global summit, and construction is well underway

Furthermore, the government is planning to build a new conference centre as preparation, which will not only go a long way in accommodating the few thousand delegates in 2013, but will also cement Victoria Falls’ reputation as a world class conferencing destination.

So with a number of exciting new developments for the town, as well as a more positive attitude towards Zimbabwe as a whole, it’s no wonder the Go to Victoria Falls members are expecting occupancies in 2012 and 2013 to surge, and for the increased interest to result in even further infrastructural developments.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) is thrilled to have new sponsors on board following a recent trip by Travellers Choice Gold Family Group (Africa Safari Co) to Victoria Falls.

The group from Australia met with Charles Brightman, head of VFAPU at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in March, to find out more about what the Unit is doing to help combat poaching in the area. Having been impressed by the efforts of the organisation, five of the Travel Agencies in the Gold Choice Group have committed to a once off sponsorship of a Scout. Bay Travel Services, City Beach Travel & Cruise, Jayes Travel, Jamison Travel and Stodarts Travel & Cruise, have joined together in donating US$ 3420.00 to the cause.

“It was enlightening to learn of the fabulous work being done by Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit” remarked Sue Fessey, Managing Director of Stodarts Travel & Cruise, following her meeting with  Charles Brightman.

VFAPU is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and its natural habitat. The unit protects the wildlife and habitat of the beautiful Victoria Falls area from subsistence and commercial poachers. It also rescues and rehabilitates animals injured by human interference, provides employment for ex-poachers giving them a sustainable income, and educates children at an early age through school and community awareness programs.

 “It is amazing to have donations such as these as it takes some of the pressure off and means that VFAPU gets to live longer”, said a truly delighted Brightman, following news of the generous donation.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Foreign Advisories with regards to Typhoid

There have been a number of warnings released by the Travel Advisories in various countries, including the USA and UK about a typhoid outbreak in Zimbabwe. The US has recommended no “non-essential” travel to Zimbabwe, while the United Kingdom is recommending no travel at all. This has caused a lot of concern for travellers visiting Zimbabwe from these countries.

It should be noted that while there has been a typhoid breakout in the high density suburbs of Harare, this area is 900km away and therefore not a threat to visitors to Victoria Falls.

Foreign Governments are obliged to report on the safety and security matters within each specific country, according to information released by government and the media about that particular country.

In saying this, visitors should always take the necessary precautions and immunisations, as advised by their doctor when visiting Zimbabwe. The best form of protection against mosquitoes and malaria is having a malaria prophylaxis treatment, using repellent and wearing long sleeved clothing in the evenings.

With regard to the Typhoid issue, guests are advised to take the necessary immunization against typhoid as well as follow caution by drinking bottled water, and avoiding eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. Since Victoria Falls is far away from the area where the problem has arised, we do not foresee this being an issue at all for visitors to the town. It is not a 100% guarantee, but if precautions are taken it is very unlikely it will be a problem.

The general feeling by members of the tourism industry in Zimbabwe is that the apprehension is both unjustified and unrealistic.

Thursday, 8 March 2012


A team from The United Nations World Tourism Organisation visited Victoria Falls this week, and we are pleased to announce that so far they are extremely satisfied with the preparations for next year’s general assembly. Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone (Zambia) will be hosting the 2013 UNWTO general assembly and the two countries are very much on track to host the event.
The visiting team also noted that they were inspired by the unity of purpose between the two host nations, and mentioned that they only needed to smoothen their transport system for inter-venue traffic
The visiting team from UNTWO included executive director Zoltan Somogyi, Deputy Director for Africa Mr Helder Thomas and programmes officer Mrs Pearl Blanca. The delegation has advised that they are confident that next year’s general assembly will be an extremely memorable one.
The Zimbabwean government has plans to build a new conference centre as preparation for the assembly. There are also plans to upgrade the Victoria Falls airport. Both projects, together with a number of other upgrades in the area will go a long way in helping to accommodate the expected 3000 visitors from 176 countries.
The towns of Victoria Falls and Livingstone are both sure to see a massive boost in tourism as a result of hosting this prestigious event.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Adventure icon Bear Grylls was recently spotted at Vic Falls and took “the leap of faith” by bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge.

He was quoted as saying “I had to come and test this out for myself since your widely publicised incident” and Victoria Falls Bungee were extremely excited to have the "Born Survivor" star giving them his stamp of approval. Of course he survived and described the jump as an “awesome experience” which is a great compliment from the ultimate adventurer.

Bear has been in Zambia for a little family relaxation and will be returning to his day job of extreme adventures shortly. It was fantastic having such an icon testing out the bungee, especially following the recent negative publicity.

The 111m bungee jump is world famous and was recently voted as one of the top 5 bungee jumps on the planet. Not surprising given the magnificent backdrop of our exquisite Victoria Falls - there can be very few settings that rival it.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Go to Victoria Falls have received the following update from Victoria Falls Bungee:

Further to our previous releases on the incident involving an Australian tourist which occurred on the 31st December 2011 and whereby the bungee cord she was jumping on broke, we now wish to update you as follows;

Firstly we would like to advise that the lady concerned has recovered very well and has now returned to Australia. We continue to wish her well now that she is back home.

Secondly we are pleased to announce that following a thorough investigation into the incident bungee jumping will recommence on the 2nd February 2012.

Since the incident a full and thorough investigation into the cause of the bungee cord failure was conducted which amongst other things included;

  • A detailed safety audit and inspection of the bungee jumping system at Victoria Falls.

  • Subjecting the broken bungee cord to forensic analysis and testing.

During this process of investigation we chose to suspend bungee jumping operations so that the inspectors could carry out their work without interruption and to allow time for the forensic analysis to be carried out. Unfortunately this process took more time than we anticipated due to the availability of the experts..

The international qualified IRATA safety auditors who have audited and inspected our system and equipment, have advised that after inspecting all components of the bungee system they found our safety standards prior the incident to have complied with the international standard ( AS/NZS 5848:2000) for bungee jumping. We have been carrying out bungee jumping in accordance with this code from the Victoria Falls bridge for over 17 years where approximately 150,000 jumps have been done without there ever having been a cord failure. 

As safety is of the utmost concern to us, together with the safety auditors we have developed certain new procedures to improve safety standards. With particular regard to the management and handling of the bungee cords, a safety auditor expressed the opinion that the standards we now apply are unparalleled in the industry in all probability industry leading. We are of the opinion that they set a new standard in terms of safety internationally.

The inspection of the cord which broke was carried out by a team of experts  based in South Africa which was lead by two Professors  in Structural Engineering. In their investigations the team amongst other things, compared the rubber used to make the bungee cord that broke against the latest batch of rubbers we obtained directly from our normal supplier. Our understanding of the investigation findings is that the rubbers from the cord which broke were not as strong as they should have been and were weaker than the newer rubbers.  We will be taking this up with the rubber manufacturers. The newer rubbers which we will now use were found to be far stronger than the “Code of Practice for Bungee Jumping” requires.  To ensure as best as possible the strength and integrity of all rubbers we use, we are arranging to have samples from every future batch of rubber tested before being put into service.

In light of the investigations and the opinions of both the safety auditors and the forensic investigators we are satisfied that the cause of the broken cord has been established and that the new standards, testing and inspection methods we have introduced will prevent a recurrence of the incident.

We are therefore pleased to announce that commercial bungee jumping operations will recommence on the 2nd February 2012.

Monday, 9 January 2012


Go to Victoria Falls have received the following update from Victoria Falls Bungee, in response to the bridge incident on 31 December 2011. This follows the official statement released on 2 January 2012.

We remain in contact with the Australian lady involved in the incident who is recuperating in South Africa where she has received expert medical attention.  We are pleased to advise that she has now been released from hospital and although she remains bruised and sore she will shortly be free to return home to Australia.

As a matter of record we wish to highlight her bravery and survival skills, which contributed significantly to her own rescue and her continued positive disposition and strength of character has been an inspiration to us all.

It goes without saying that we deeply regret the incident, which has come as a huge shock to us.
Despite the experience of the crew and parameters and procedures, which have successfully guided the operation for 17 years and over 150,000 jumpers, we were unable to prevent this accident. We take this exceptionally seriously and our objective now is to learn from this incident and review every component part of our operation to determine where we can further minimize the risk of bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge.

To this effect the following preliminary measures have been implemented:

  • We have removed all bungee cords from the system, which were made with the same batch of rubber as that used to make the failed cord. These have been retained for further testing.
  • An entirely new set of bungee cords have been installed on the system. These have been extensively load tested and inspected thoroughly and we are satisfied that they are safe to jump on.
  • The entire bungee system has been thoroughly inspected and checked and we are fully confident that everything is safe to jump on.
  • In addition to our normal checks and procedures we have instigated additional daily and intermittent checks on the bungee cords and we are fully satisfied that these checks and procedures are more than sufficient to ensure our clients safety.
  • Our own crew are conducting test jumps before the commencement of daily operations and throughout the day.
  • Experts in South Africa have been contacted and we expect them to be on site next week to help us with our ongoing investigations as to the cause of the incident.
  • The broken cord has been carefully stored and will shortly be sent to South Africa for forensic testing.
  • A qualified river guide with first aid certification and necessary safety and recovery equipment will be positioned in the gorge below the bridge.
In light of the above Victoria Falls Bungee are entirely satisfied that everything humanly possible has been done to ensure the safety of our clients and bungee jumping operations have now recommenced without further incident.