THE Kariba Tourism and Business Indaba (KTBI) is excited by budget Airlines airline Fastjet’s decision to commence domestic flights linking the resort town to Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park early next year.
KTBI administrator Cephas Shonhiwa said the flights would make it easier for both local and international tourists to visit Kariba, the world’s largest man-made lake.
The resort town also has the much-sought-after big five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopards and rhino, among other animals.
“We have had cases of international tourists cancelling bookings because of the absence of local connecting domestic flights. This has affected our operations as a sector due to poor, inaccessible roads,’’ Shonhiwa said in an interview this week. ‘
‘KTBI has been in constant contact with airline operators following the pulling out of Kuva Air that had a scheduled flight coming to Kariba. The operator had its own challenges and it left us with no option but to look for alternatives. We are happy that Fastjet will cover the gap next year.’’
Flights into Kariba are scheduled to commence on 27 March 2023. The flights will depart from Harare and Victoria Falls.
Nunurai Ndawana, Fastjet Zimbabwe spokesperson, said these planned additional routes to the airline’s domestic network will offer seamless connections for travellers from Harare and Victoria Falls to Zimbabwe’s top domestic tourism destinations of Kariba and Hwange, with scheduled flight connections using Embraer E120, 30-seater turboprop aircraft.
“We continue to demonstrate our commitment to the growth of tourism and the sustainability of air services in the markets we serve. The addition of these leisure destinations will greatly support our vision. The Embraer E120 is a robust turboprop aircraft designed for domestic operations, offering customers a pressurised cabin with spacious legroom and overhead baggage space,’’ said Ndawana.
He added that they intend to align timings to schedule flights in such a way as to offer customers the flexibility and convenience of multiple frequencies per day.
Fastjet Zimbabwe chief commercial officer Vivian Ruwuya said the company is working closely with industry stakeholders and partners, including the Airports Company of Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
‘‘We are delighted to announce that our new flights to Hwange and Kariba from our tourism hub of Victoria Falls and our Harare base will be supported with onward connections on Mack Air/South West Aviation into the Hwange National Park, the lodges of the Kariba eastern basin and the camps and operations in Mana Pools and the lower Zambezi. Mack Air with South West Aviation will be developing a new hub at Kariba, along with their existing introduction of flights to Kariba and Hwange now allows visitors in Victoria Falls to explore the wonders of Zimbabwe further by visiting both Hwange National Park and enjoy some time on the lake in Kariba with its varied activities of game viewing, boating and fishing,” said Ruwaya.