In a move likely to dent the country’s tourism prospects, Zanu PF youths from Shamva this week invaded Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp forcing booked clients to vacate the r
esort in the middle of the night.
Information to hand shows that on Monday, Zanu PF youths from the Shamva area invaded the camp situated in Umfurudzi Safari Area which falls under government’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management.
The matter has since been reported to National Parks headquarters in Harare.
According to a letter written to National Parks directors Vitalis Chadenga, Brigadier Epmarcus Ka-nhanga and Shamva police, Zanu PF youths aggressively took over the camp and forced an estimated 34 clients to leave immediately.
“Fourteen of the clients were children who were highly traumatised,” the letter says.
“All clients were told to immediately leave and one claims to have left behind equipment worth over a million dollars. The invaders also helped themselves to food and drinks valued at $500 000 bought for the clients.
They had also taken possession of two shotguns that were being used by night guards.”
The owner of the camp Ian Jarvis was forced to hand over the camp keys before he was allowed to leave.
He confirmed that he had been forced out of the camp.
“The invasion has nothing to do with resettlement,” Jarvis said.
“We do not own any land but operate on National Parks’ land. We are however happy that our call for assistance has received tremendous response from the National Parks and we hope to get back to the camp,” he said.
Jarvis said the invasion has disrupted Wilderness Africa Trust projects being supported by the camp. The trust was involved in the translocation of game species from invaded farms.
Umfurudzi Safari Area is a 74 000-hectare game park situated 150 kilometres north of Harare in the Mazowe/Shamva area.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has been engaged in an energetic campaign to persuade international tourists that law and order has been restored in Zimbabwe.