US writer says it pays to visit Zimbabwe to see the “ground truth”


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New York-based writer Colin Nagy says Zimbabwe is not as bad as the press is making it, so it pays to visit the country to see the ground truth.

In his end-of-year article on his blog: why is this interesting Nagy says: “Most people aren’t looking to spend their hard-earned dollars visiting a place that is, to the outside world, seemingly chaotic and with some of its storied attractions like Victoria Falls running dry. (For the record, the falls are back.)

“But all is not as it seems. And sometimes it pays to go see the ground truth, outside of what you’re reading in the press. Much of Zimbabwe’s splendor persists.

“Despite the chaos of the weather and financial environment, there’s incredible hospitality, some of the most stunning scenery in the world, and natural parks where animal populations are growing thanks to the hard work of conservationists.

“The Malilangwe trust is a very strong example, with a surging population of protected Rhino.

“And, perhaps more so than your usual destination, tourism dollars make a disproportionate amount of difference here.

“By visiting, you’re contributing to a vital part of the economy, giving work to outstanding guides and bringing much-needed capital into the country. I couldn’t recommend it more.”

Nagy’s article comes on the heels of comments by US actress Grace Byers who was recently at the Victoria Falls and tweeted: “Zimbabwe – we’ve never seen anything like this rainbow. Or these falls.  Look at God. Thank you for bringing us joy.”

Below is the full write-up

Why is this interesting? – The Zimbabwe Edition

On tourism, nature, and climate change

Colin here. Today’s end-of-year dispatch comes to you from a small airstrip in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, close to the Somalisa camp. It’s been a very interesting trip. I’ve been on game drives in the park and managed to spot elephants, ostriches, hippos, buffalo, kudu, wildebeest, jackals, painted dogs, and countless other animals and insects (shoutout to the scorpion and termites). I even had a near-miss with a cobra as I was walking to the lodge with a guide at night.

One of the more tragic elements of the trip, however, was the countless carcasses of young elephants littered around the park. Zimbabwe has had a brutal drought, and many of the animals were felled due to malnutrition, or weakened and then killed by the countless amount of predators. The food chain here is alive and real and made more severe by changing weather patterns. Thankfully there’s been rain and the ecosystem has started to thrive again. There are elephants splashing themselves with mud in water pools and green vegetation.

Why is this interesting?

Seeing the strife matters. It’s important that this wasn’t just some all perfect, made-for-Instagram trip. Zimbabwe is very much on the front lines of climate change with disruptions to weather patterns spelling hardship and famine for the country. One missed crop can have sizable knock-on effects that can ruin farmers, leading to food shortages and eventually famine. Markets and the movement of goods are disrupted.

When you layer that on to the economic instability and insane inflation the country has dealt with post-Mugabe, it makes the optics required for a strong tourism economy quite difficult. Most people aren’t looking to spend their hard-earned dollars visiting a place that is, to the outside world, seemingly chaotic and with some of its storied attractions like Victoria Falls running dry. (For the record, the falls are back.)

But all is not as it seems. And sometimes it pays to go see the ground truth, outside of what you’re reading in the press. Much of Zimbabwe’s splendor persists. Despite the chaos of the weather and financial environment, there’s incredible hospitality, some of the most stunning scenery in the world, and natural parks where animal populations are growing thanks to the hard work of conservationists. The Malilangwe trust is a very strong example, with a surging population of protected Rhino.

And, perhaps more so than your usual destination, tourism dollars make a disproportionate amount of difference here. By visiting, you’re contributing to a vital part of the economy, giving work to outstanding guides and bringing much-needed capital into the country. I couldn’t recommend it more. (CJN)

(146 VIEWS)

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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