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RBCal May 22nd, 2006 06:57 AM

Current Consular Statement on Zimbabwe

"Victoria Falls is a major tourist destination and visitors are urged to use the same security precautions they would exercise in any urban area of the developing world. Two American citizens were robbed in their hotel room in Victoria Falls in 2004. A number of American visitors have been assaulted or robbed walking in Victoria Falls town."

Roccco May 22nd, 2006 07:36 AM


Sounds almost as bad as Columbus, Ohio! ;)

RBCal May 22nd, 2006 10:01 AM

I am the last person to defend CMH. However, the inflation rate in CMH is not over 1000% as in Zim.
Unforturnately, desperate economic times lead to desperation and crime. No matter if anyone wishes to believe otherwise. If you spend foreign currency in Zim, some of that money will end up supporting the continuation of Mugabe.

Roccco May 22nd, 2006 12:05 PM


Do you really think you are doing a service for travelers considering Zimbabwe?

Do you realize how many tourists have likely been robbed in the USA since the 2004 incident you mentioned in Victoria Falls?

pixelpower May 22nd, 2006 12:10 PM


Someone got robbed here in Belgium, in 2004 too. So I'd stay away! Don't come here! It's dangerous!


RBCal May 22nd, 2006 01:00 PM

Anyone who feels they are doing a service to travellers by recommending they go to Zimbabwe is very, very, very misguided.

Besides seizing farms, Mugabe now has a plan to seize mines. The ZCTU is about to go on strike. A cholera epidemic has hit northern Zimbabwe. The opposition MDC party has had its leaders arrested.

Sounds like paradise. The only reason one might suggest that tourists go there might be if they had a financial interest.

thit_cho May 22nd, 2006 01:06 PM

While I am sure Rocco can adequately defend himself, there are myriad reasons that one may suggest a visit to Zimbabwe. In particular, I am very concerned about the plight of the animals and the parks, and I would prefer to help sustain Hwange or Mana Pools before giving money to lodges in some other well-funded parks. The parks and lodges need financial help -- if ignored, they will perish.

Roccco May 22nd, 2006 01:08 PM


You are sadly mistaken. I have been urging travel to Zimbabwe for some time, long before I started a tour operation. On my own very first trip to Southern Africa, I stayed at what is widely celebrated as the #1 property in the world, Singita, located in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve of South Africa, and I also visited Matetsi Water Lodge in ZIMBABWE, just a few days after Mugabe re-elected himself.

It is unfortunate that you have no compassion for the Zimbabwean people or wildlife and that you crusade against Zimbabwe without ever having seen it or its people & wildlife firsthand.

Have fun in Livingstone, but at the time of year you are visiting, the best views of the falls will be on the Zim side.

RBCal May 22nd, 2006 01:23 PM

Since when does one make travel decisions based on how that will best help the local economy? If that is one's major concern perhaps a fun tour of North Korea would be justified? Maybe go to Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan for a relaxing vacation?
These are also not recommended by the State Department due to safety concerns but I am sure your dollars would be appreciated by tour operators there.

thit_cho May 22nd, 2006 02:51 PM

I do not hold in high regard the US Department of State's travel warnings, and in fact, I have looked into trips to Korea (they are permitting Americans to attend the Mass Games in September/October), and I would like to visit Iran.

I do hope that my travels impact the local population, and for that reason, I prefer to stay in locally owned hotels (or at least those that appear to be locally owned since its not always easy to ferret out that information) and I do not stay in chain hotels (Holiday Inns, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carltons, Hyatts, etc.), preferring local hotels. I also do not patronize chain restaurants overseas.

So, to answer your first question, I have taken local concerns into account since my first overseas trip.

I also do not discount valid travel concerns, and I generally don't value anything said by the current administration.

thit_cho May 22nd, 2006 02:54 PM

first sentence should read "North Korea". I have a friend visiting NK in September, and I would join but its just after I return from a trip to the former Yugoslav nations (one of which, Montenegro, voted yesterday for independence).

I also just now re-read your initial post, and I bet that a substantial multiple of "two" have been robbed in their hotel rooms in NY, where I live and feel safe. I'm sure a number have also been assaulted or robbed.

RBCal May 22nd, 2006 02:59 PM

I have no regard for the US administration either. However, certainly Mugabe's administration is worse and I won't be supporting that administration through tourism.
I am sure that the US consul does not put every incident that occurs on the website and that the incidents mentioned are not the only ones.

thit_cho May 22nd, 2006 03:03 PM

Bush's approval level has certainly sunk when the only compliment we can come up with is Mugabe is worse ;-)

But its a bit petty for them to list two hotel robberies, which likely occur every week in every major city in the world.

RBCal May 22nd, 2006 03:12 PM

From the Australia Consul

" We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Zimbabwe because of the high level of criminal activity and absence of the rule of law, especially in rural areas, resulting from deteriorating economic conditions and the ongoing political tensions throughout the country. Zimbabwe is experiencing chronic shortages of basic commodities, including fuel and food, hyperinflation and mass unemployment. These conditions are creating desperation, and have led to a sharp increase in crime.

Muggings, bag snatching, carjacking, and pickpocketing occur frequently, particularly in urban centres and tourist areas. Theft from vehicles is common. Armed robberies, carjackings, assaults and other violent crime are also common. Security risks are heightened at night, especially on city streets, and in or near parks and the city centres.

Tourists have been robbed and occasionally killed while visiting national parks. A comprehensive indemnity is often required by Safari operators before they accept clients. To help minimise the security risks we suggest that you travel in groups, preferably with an organised tour group, and check the security situation before visiting national parks and farms, including game farms, lodges and hunting areas. "

Roccco May 22nd, 2006 03:47 PM


If you are striving to be elected "Troll of the Fodors Africa Forum", you are running an excellent campaign.

santharamhari May 22nd, 2006 08:13 PM


When the US State dept elevates threat levels at different periods at home......what do you do then? DO you go about doing your every day activities or do you hide in the living room???


santharamhari May 22nd, 2006 08:33 PM


Did you get a chance to read the other thread about visiting Zimbabwe? If you have'nt please do so, as it answers many questions that you may have....on that thread i did type a portion of Ian Michler's recent article from (Africa-geographic magazine) about visiting Zim.


santharamhari May 22nd, 2006 10:40 PM

There are plenty of great game viewing areas to visit. they still hv some camps in some prvt concessions.

couple other nice options.....


matnikstym May 22nd, 2006 10:45 PM

not to mention Somalisa camp, run by Bushcamps, in Hwange. I don't think Bushcamps would spend the money on a new camp if it was not well thought out.

Roccco May 22nd, 2006 11:18 PM

(testimonials from recent guests to Pamushana)

(as already mentioned by Matnikstym)

(Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe country page, featuring their four Zim camps--Makalolo Plains, Little Makalolo, Linkwasha and Ruckomechia)

In any event, I predict that RBCal will prove to be a hypocrite once he is in Livingstone later this year and crosses the border when he sees that by September the best views of the falls will be on the Zim side...NOT that I expect RBCal to confess to as much.

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