Our beautiful, sometimes controversial, neighbour is slowly but surely coming out of the darkness and with that comes vast opportunities in the business and leisure tourism industries. Meetings SA takes a closer look.
To quote the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority: “Zimbabwe is a song, which, once heard, is never forgotten; a mood to suit the needs of any soul, any time; a spell that binds all those who know her. Her voice brings forth many melodies.”
Welcome to Zimbabwe, a land rich in diversity ranging from low-lying semi-desert to lush highlands strewn with forests and lakes. It is situated on a high plateau in Southern Africa and covers 390 245 km. Its beauty, well that’s unsurpassed. The country is home to, and most famous for, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the majestic Victoria Falls. Locally known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’, this powerful natural phenomenon will, quite literally, take your breath away. So an incentive destination, Zimbabwe most certainly is. But, what about business tourism?
Elephant Hills Resort, part of the African Sun group, is ideally located close to the Victoria Falls with the Victoria Falls National Park bordering the front of the resort, resulting in lots of wild animals often grazing the lawns – a spectacular sight to see.
The resort’s conferencing facilities are contemporary and cutting edge. There are eight conference rooms that can take up to 500 delegates. The Vast Kalala room has been the venue for many top events such as the Sunshine Tour Golf Tournament and Super Model International. The room can hold high volume seating plans and has a great expansive stage in front. Its high ceilings, lavish carpets and soft lighting gives the room a charming ambience. For those looking for more intimate or smaller meetings, the resort has several cosier boardrooms set away from the main conferencing venue.
The food at the resort is delectable and the chefs truly go out of their way to make your dining experience the best one possible. Dishes range from traditional to Western style. The Kasibi Terrace restaurant caters for those looking for a relaxed, informal dinner and the poolside bar is perfect for summer sundowners.
Slap bang in the centre of it all, in the capital Harare, is where you’ll find the well-known Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre. Adjacent to the Harare International Conference Centre, the five-star hotel accommodates guests in 304 en-suite rooms and 67 Towers rooms. When time is tight, as it usually is on an in and out conference trip, the same-day laundry and valet service offered at the hotel is fabulous.
Harare International Conference Centre is undoubtedly one of the largest and best-equipped in Southern Africa. The auditorium can hold 4 500 delegates comfortably and can be partitioned into four smaller halls, each individually sound proofed. As Africa is a multilingual continent with many internationals frequently arriving on our shores, the conference facilities at the Rainbow Hotel offer simultaneous interpretation services for 11 languages. Full secretarial services of the business centre will ensure the conference runs smoothly.
What better place to build a hotel than at Zimbabwe’s busiest gateway, Beitbridge? The Beitbridge Express Hotel opened in the border town in 1998 and is a convenient and moderately priced stopover for business travellers. Deliberately positioned as a minimum service hotel with fast, efficient check-in and check-out procedures, its 104 rooms are equipped with a shower, hairdryer and of course modem connections for the all-important laptop.
Its Mahosi Meeting Room, for up to 15 people, and Venda Conference Room for up to 150, are being put to regular use by business people from both Zimbabwe and South Africa. Conscious of the high fuel prices, instead of holding meetings in either Harare or Johannesburg, they’ll meet half way in Beitbridge.
For something more traditional, you can stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel, popularly known as ‘the grand old lady of the falls’. The hotel is situated in the Victoria Falls National Park, a world heritage site, and is a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World group.
The Edwardian-style five-star hotel, built in 1904, was recently redecorated and refurbished and now combines old world charm with modern conveniences. World class service, and food and beverage choice and preparation second to none, make the hotel a magnet for international and local visitors alike. The opulent Livingstone Room for fine dining and dancing, the Jungle Junction with its famous breakfast and dinner buffets, as well as entertainment in the evenings, offer a multitude of choices. Stanley’s Terrace, with its clear view of the Victoria Falls Bridge that connects Zimbabwe and Zambia, is renowned for its delicious cocktails and afternoon teas. All venues are perfect for smaller meetings or team building activities.
We could spend hours, even days, writing about Zimbabwe but we’d rather let you experience it for yourself. For a moment forget about the doom and gloom and enjoy what this incredible country has to offer.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
Elephant Hills Resort
The Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre
Beitbridge Express Hotel
The Victoria Falls Hotel