Tourism company Africa Albida Tourism has started the construction of a US$18 million education and entertainment Park in Victoria Falls dubbed Santonga.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Construction of the 80-acre eco-park, adjacent to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge began last month. Santonga will interactively tell the story of Victoria Falls through its history as well as culture and nature.
Africa Albida chief executive Ross Kennedy said construction was delayed because of the lack of a conducive economic and lending environment.
He said the construction of the park would take two and half years to complete and create 150 jobs as well as downstream employment benefits.
The park which is expected to draw 120 000 visitors each year is scheduled to be opened in June 2016.
The site is currently being rehabilitated with more than 600 tonnes of topsoil, 6 000-plus indigenous trees and shrubs as well as the construction of a road, waterholes, weirs and a fence.
“Santonga is a product that will appeal to everybody,” Kennedy said.
“The tours at the park will take between four and half to seven hours and could add half a day’s stay in Victoria Falls.”
He said this extended stay would significantly boost revenue inflows.
Kennedy said improved tourism arrivals had been recorded as demonstrated by the increase of room nights sold this year compared to the same period in 2010.
He also revealed that they had carried out a US$1 million upgrade of the 66 rooms of their flagship property, the Victoria Safari Lodge which was completed in July this year.
He said the hotel group was poised to take advantage of the construction of the Victoria Falls airport which was expected to boost tourist arrivals into the resort town.
Africa Albida Tourism has a portfolio of hotels and restaurants in Victoria Falls including its flagship property, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.