On-Site Report On Zimbabwe Crisis


Published: September - 2000

Turning to the situation in Zimbabwe, we have followed closely the political turmoil there, not only in these pages but also on our web site. Throughout, we have maintained a cautiously positive attitude toward the crisis, suggesting that booked subscribers cancel their safaris only if their on-the-ground operators advise them to do so. To date, that has been good advice. Literally scores of subscribers have hunted in Zimbabwe this season, with only one hunter reporting a serious problem.

As this issue goes to press, we continue to be cautiously positive about the security situation in Zimbabwe, and we see no reason to alter our previous travel recommendation. The on-site report we just received from long-time correspondent Gary Kramer confirms our opinion. Just be aware that the situation in Zimbabwe continues to be volatile. Certainly, no one should leave for Zimbabwe without checking our web site for last-minute developments. Here is the report Kramer sent us late last month:

"As continuing subscribers know, the so-called farm invasions in Zimbabwe that have created such concern this summer grew out of a government-backed resettlement program for black war veterans. The program called for the government to buy a number of abandoned farmlands and make them available to the veterans. Other lands, principally under-utilized agricultural lands, were designated for resettlement as well. The original idea was looked upon by many as a fair way of compensating black veterans and utilizing marginal farmland. However, somewhere along the line the program took a nasty turn, evolving into an outright government-backed takeover of some of Zimbabwe's best farmland, owned and operated primarily by white farmers. There has been bloodshed. Tensions have been high. News accounts have made the country sound like a war zone.

"I recently returned from a two-week trip to Zimbabwe. Rest assured, the on-site situation is not as grim as you might think. Yes, tourism (second in economic value behind agriculture) is down 50 to 65 percent, with destinations including Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Lake Kariba more like ghost towns than resorts. In Victoria Falls,........(continued)

 
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