It is ironic that the perception of Zimbabwe has become what it has in recent years. The privileged western populace is quick to recall that image which has been dictated to them by the news and the mainstream media about Zimbabwe. We, however, would like to educate our customers and the wider audience, that despite what is being televised and published on our TVs and mobile phones, all is not lost in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe still is and will always remain the country of the magnificent Victoria Falls and the galloping troops of exotic animals. The economic situation has taken its toll on the country but not on its wildlife and the Zimbabwean culture at large.
A Little History
In November of 2017, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was deposed in a brief military coup. President Mugabe was in power for almost 40 years, ever since the country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1980. At the time of the coup, Robert Mugabe was 93 years old, and the talk of succession naturally began to escalate among the influential gentry of Zimbabwean society. After a show of force and with the backing of the military, Emmerson Mnangagwa became the next President of Zimbabwe. President Mnangagwa now faces an avalanche of challenges that include the debilitating inflation of the Zimbabwean currency, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.
Hyperinflation and Protests
The inflation in Zimbabwe is legendary. Before abandoning its previous currency in 2009, the Zimbabwean Central Bank issued a two hundred trillion dollar banknote that was only worth 30 pennies here in the UK. Since then a newer currency has been introduced which is still losing value in the open market. Recently, there has been an escalation of protests in the country. The new government recognises that budget cuts need to be made to keep the country functioning. Therefore, the government has decided to stop subsidising fuel for the masses, which has increased the petrol price by 50% overnight. People affected by this sudden but inevitable hike in fuel price are protesting, as they witness their livelihoods crumble and the economic situation worsens around them. According to the latest news, the internet service has been shut down, and many shops are also closed.
Hoping for a Brighter Future
At this point, Zimbabwe needs foreign capital and investor confidence reestablished in the country. The new government has been dealt with the worst hand, and it has only but few options. Most of the people of Zimbabwe have abandoned their currency, which continues to devalue over time, and have started using the US Dollar and the South African Rand. What Zimbabwe needs now are investors and visitors who can recognise the country’s massive potential and build businesses, creating wealth not only for themselves but also for the Zimbabweans who deserve so much more from life.
Tourism and Travel
Nature is free. The rain continues to fall in the Hwange National Park without taxing any of its inhabitants, be it the humans or the vast array of animals living in the park. Zimbabwe is still rich. Zimbabwe is rich in wildlife and the most beautiful landscapes. It is among those few countries that still have vibrant ecologies which have not been harmed or encroached by the reckless “human development”. The food grown here is organic. Zimbabweans eat what-is-of-the-earth and are fully harmonised with the cycle of nature and transcendence of life. They offer the same natural experience to thousands of tourists who visit their country each year, even during troubling times.
It is not a bad deal overall. The tourists from Europe get a cheap vacation when they visit Zimbabwe and are reminded of the fact that outside our concrete jungles there is a planet teeming with life. The Zimbabweans, on the other hand, get a chance to showcase their culture and earn the much need foreign capital to provide medical care and schooling for the public.
Looking at Zimbabwe differently
As Britons, we need to mend our distorted and lopsided view of Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular. What the news portrays is only one side of the picture. The roads in Zimbabwe are not always choked with protesters. There are days in this country when the Zimbabwean sun is shining bright, and there is nothing much to do except soak the healing rays of the sun. The giraffes are still nibbling the thorny but seemingly delicious treetops, the elephants are bathing in the water hole and coating themselves with fresh mud, and the lions are still eyeing the herd of zebras that scatter at the faintest rustle of the grass. Surprisingly, the fantastic nature in Zimbabwe is not reported as fervently as the burning of tires somewhere in Harare.
Plan a trip to Zimbabwe such that you can interact with the people of the country at a higher level. Purchase food and items from local businesses, and if you can manage, please spend a night or two at a local hotel. It will help the people directly, and you would have a far richer experience of Zimbabwe as compared to spending the night hiding in a luxury hotel, barricaded behind mahogany doors without gaining any insight in the African culture. Zimbabwe is still safer than some parts of the UK and the US where it would be impossible to take a walk around the neighbourhood without getting mugged. We must understand that the news is almost always politically motivated. Doing a bit of research and taking precautions is better than stonewalling the idea of visiting a country like Zimbabwe altogether. Always take into consideration the travel advisory issued by the British government, wherever you are travelling. We wish the reader many liberating travels and hope that you too will fulfil your dream of having an African vacation this year.