MATETSI Safari Camp, which was closed at the beginning of political disturbances that rocked the tourism industry in 2000, is now being refurbished at an estimated cost
of US$250 000.
The safari camp is set to reopen in July next year.
Lovemore Chihota,chairman of Conserva-tion Corporation Zimbabwe (CCZ), the owners of Matetsi Safari Camp and Matetsi Water Lodge in the Victoria Falls area, said refurbishment was already under way.
“Matetsi Safari Camp was closed in 2000 when the tourism industry collapsed,” he said.
“We are refurbishing it, and we expect to be fully operational by July next year. We are targeting our traditional overseas markets in the US, Europe, Australia and new ones in Latin America, particularly Brazil and Mexico,” Chihota said.
The CCZ was formed in 1994 in a joint venture agreement between Chihota’s company, Chizim (Pvt) Ltd and the South Africa-based Conservation Corporation Africa (CCA) on a 50% apiece ownership.
During the same year, the CCZ and the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) established the Zimbabwe Safari Lodges (ZSL) at a cost of US$5 million.
In 1998, RTG sold its interests in CCZ after buying Touch the Wild Safaris, which left CCZ with a 100% stake in ZSL.
ZSL is the first indigenous-owned safari operating firm in the country.
The CCZ is leasing the Matetsi 50 000 hectare establishment from the National Parks and Wildlife Authority.
Chihota said his organisation’s expansion programmes were being dampened by the continued slump in tourism.
“We were going to expand in other areas but had to put our plans on hold because of the collapse of the (tourism) industry over the years,” Chihota said.