Mark Nolting of the Africa Adventure Company was recently in our offices singing the praises of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe?!? Place of rampant inflation and starvation? Run by iron-fisted crazyperson Robert Mugabe? We had questions, and Nolting had answers. And, biased though he may be—his wife is from the place, and Nolting’s company has some new and amazing trips there (such as 14 Day Zimbabwe World Heritage Explorer, which is new for next year)—his responses were pretty compelling. Maybe 2010 is the year to get to Zimbabwe, while the getting is good. Here are Nolting’s reasons for going, distilled:
1) No more US State Department Warning–this was dropped about six months ago.
2) The EU is resuming aid to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has met with European leaders and Obama. Plus, Tsvangirai was shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. He’s re-legitimizing the country.
3) Tour operators and camp and lodge companies can import whatever they need for the next two years DUTY FREE. There is huge investment coming in and many, many travel deals to be had.
4) Many camps and lodges that have been mothballed for years are opening for the July-October high season, and many more are scheduled to reopen for 2010.
5) You can have a better, more exciting safari here for less than the surrounding countries. The guides are the best on the continent, and whether walking, canoeing, rafting down class-V white-water, the game experience is unparalleled.
Photo: Africa Adventure Company