This is my favourite line from Joshua Hammer’s recent article in Condé Nast Traveler. Hammer went to Zimbabwe, visiting Victoria Falls, Harare, Hwange, Mana Pools and Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. He spoke to safari guides, lodge owners, politicians and conservationists, interweaving their stories with Zimbabwe’s recent history. He admits that he never would have visited Zimbabwe a few short years ago, but things have changed so much that he’s changed his mind. Read his full article here.
Here are a few of my favourite quotes from his story, saying how visitors make a difference to Zimbabwe’s people and wildlife:
- Many Zimbabweans believe that “Western tourist dollars do far more to protect wildlife and provide employment than they benefit the aging dictator and his friends”.
- “Standing on the banks of the Zambezi River … I wonder if tourism might one day play an even bigger role in Zimbabwe’s recovery, pumping more cash into the game reserves, funding additional conservation and research programs, allowing the national parks to become self-sustaining, and providing more jobs for local people. I can envision the Zambezi Valley, Hwange National Park, and the southern bushveld becoming as lucrative as Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve or South Africa’s Kruger National Park.”
- “Education Minister David Coltart points out that, though Mugabe’s party still controls the Ministry of Mines, Environment and Tourism (which runs the national parks), most tourist revenue currently flows through the Finance Ministry, which is controlled by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).”