CRISPIN Chimvuri is new general manager of Harareâ€™s Cresta Lodge Hotel, on transfer from Crestaâ€™s Churchill Hotel, Bulawayo.
When I saw him soon before his move back to the capital city (he was previously at Harare Club and Cresta Jameson) he was almost a full time clerk-of-works on Churchillâ€™s multi-trilllion dollar extensions, improvements and refurbishment: a project a little bird whispered to me is now on the back-burner due to dollarisation.
One of Crispinâ€™s first duties at Msasa was to oversee St Valentineâ€™s functions: which reportedly went smoothly.
Long-term (I suspect) his challenge will be to re-market Cresta Lodge as a destination of choice for discerning diners and drinkers â€” like its sister operation Cresta Lodge, Gaborone, Botswana â€” rather than an after-thought.
The Botswana city-centre hotel is run by Jonathan Cox, formerly of Cresta Jameson, via top-drawer Tanzanian beach hotels.
Delightful Danielle Hartman â€” having been the driving force behind launching her familyâ€™sÂ blue@2 wine and tapas bar, 2, AberdeenÂ Road, Avondale â€” has taken an impromptu â€œgap yearâ€ to teach English as a second language in China and work on her professional photographic portfolio.
Danielle studied photo-journalism in Australia. The bar, which operates as a private membersâ€™ club, will be run by her parents, Hennie and Daryl Hartman, dispossessed Doma tobaco farmers, during her absence.
Kevin Fry has joined Ilala Lodge, Victorial Falls, as deputy general manager.
Formerly Victoria Falls Hotelâ€™s food and beverage manager for 30 months, he was previously at Cape Townâ€™s Mount Nelson whilst studying. Fry graduated with two diplomas in hospitality management, a chefâ€™s diploma andÂ diploma in advanced wine studies.
Michelle Clipston is the lodgeâ€™s new guest relations manager. She recently returned from USA, where she worked in guest services for two Relais & ChÃ¢teaux properties, a year on Nantucket Island, the second in Aspen, Colorado.
Previously she worked at Pamushana Lodge in the Lowveld whilst studying, graduating with a hospitality management diploma and credit in City & Guilds wine and spirits.
While Zimbabweâ€™s civil servants wait to hear how the new government plans to pay wages in coming months, National Park officers have, for several months been literally unable to buy food with their monthly pay.Â Their only option was to find alternative sources of food, which given that they live in fauna- and flora-rich national parks area could be detrimental to wildlife.
The Zambezi Society stepped in to aid, and with funding from the British Embassy, Harare, is sourcing and delivering emergency fuel and food to stations in the Zambezi Valleyâ€™s two most remote parks, Matusadona and Mana Pools.Â
The first monthâ€™s delivery was carried out in February; the programme will run for the next three months.Â Â
The societyâ€™s prompt reaction to this humanitarian and wildife crisis was welcomed by the director-general and board of the Parks and Wildlife Authority.Â
The society is now urgently asking other conservation organisations working in the area to seek funding to help assist field officers in other stations throughout the country. Â
At the same time some restaurants seem to reduce prices, other restaurants are so popular the owner is not ashamed to increase by 30%!
I liked 40 Cork Road for the airy green atmosphere and the occasional hour at the PC, but not all NGOs employees are of the wealthy-fancy-cars-thick-wallet-type and can afford to pay these prices â€” so sad!
A German from a Charity NGO
After six years on the committee of Harare Club, the last 18 months as chairman, IT practitioner Mike Lear has stood down.
Incoming chair is Emmanuel Munyukwi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Bryony Acutt, formerly with CABS Platinum Club, is new group marketing manager with Africa Albida Tourism.
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) hosted their annual International Destination Expo (IDE) in South Africa this week with side trips to Zimbabwe.
ASTA is the worldâ€™s largest association of travel professionals.
From March 8-11 Sun City hosted a programme of educational seminars, networking trade show and festivities aimed at ensuring visiting American agents become specialists in selling South Africa.
Under the theme â€œStrike Gold in South Africa!â€ the 2009 IDE is the only US industry event dedicated to destination training which empowers agents with resources to sell South Africa as a lucrative destination. Â
â€œThe fact South Africa was chosen as the 2009 IDE host is a tremendous endorsement from ASTA. It speaks to the credibility of the destination, and confirms our position as a serious player in the US market,â€ stated Sthu Zungu, president, South African Tourism, North America.
â€œThis is an opportunity to showcase South Africa to an important audience of agents responsible for the bulk of our arrivals from the USA, while helping them grow their business to the destination.â€
Thanks to favourable exchange rates, South Africa currently offers American travellers unbeatable value for money. Agents attending the IDE saw the destination first hand and personally experienced its affordable luxury proposition, making it that much easier for them to recommend and sell South Africa.
SAA, as official airline partner for the IDE, made travel to South Africa extremely affordable by providing exclusive roundtrip fares especially for this event.
The provincial tourism authorities added their weight to this yearâ€™s IDE by providing a wide range of very affordable pre-and post tours to each of the nine provinces, showcasing the best of South Africa. Â
Delegates planned to visit VictoriaÂ Falls from both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides and from there go to Botswanaâ€™s Chobe National Park.
Four of Zimbabweâ€™s best known safari lodges have teamed up to offer local residents incredible six and eight-night fly-in or self-drive packages.
The packages feature the multiple award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge on the Upper Zambezi 80 km from Victoria Falls, The Hide in game-rich Hwange National Park and Camp Amalinda in the spectacular Matobo Hills National Park.Â
The first three are members of the Africa Albida Tourism Group, which owns, markets and or manages exclusive resorts in the region.
A choice of two fly-in (staying for six nights or eight) and one eight-night self-drive option are on offer. Â
â€œWeâ€™re presenting bona fide Zimbabwean residents an opportunity to experience the most iconic properties in some of the most spectacular regions in the country at a great discount,â€ said Africa Albida marketing executive Wendy Bourne.]
The packages are distributed via travel agents throughout Zimbabwe and run until June 30.
BY DUSTY MILLER