Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Mana Pools under threat again

Mana Pools under threat again

16 Thu, Aug 2012

Members of the tourism industry have joined forces to protest the threat of 
opencast mining in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park with the launch of a 
Facebook Community Page, ‘Save Mana Pools’. In 2010, a similar campaign led 
to Protea Hotels having to abandon its plans to develop a hotel on the banks 
of the Zambezi across from Mana Pools.

Two major mining companies, Habbard Investments and Geo Associates, have 
recently expressed interest in mining heavy minerals in Mana Pools. They 
received a prospecting licence at the end of last year. According to 
industry players, the proposed sand mining could have a severe impact on the 
tourism appeal of Mana Pools as well as on the riverine vegetation, as it 
would involve excavating the river to least 100m on each side of the bank.

Alan Dryden, spokesman for ‘Save Mana Pools’, says: “Mana is not for mining. 
We have drawn a line in the sand. This opencast form of mining has been 
notoriously destructive in other natural areas worldwide and, if permitted, 
would irreparably scar the World Heritage Site and destroy the wildlife and 
ecological resources that belong to all indigenous Zimbabweans.” He says 
Mana Pools will be worth much more as a tourism employer and a pristine 
wilderness in 20 years than it will be as “a scarred and ecologically 
deserted ruin”.

Besides the imminent mining threat, there are two tourism developments that 
are of concern in Mana Pools. Construction has already begun on Mana Pools 
Safari Camp, which is allegedly not intended to be a tourism venture but a 
private holiday home consisting of six double chalets and staff quarters to 
house no fewer than 24 staff members. The other lodge, Nyamepi Lodge, is 
currently undergoing an Environmental Impact Assessment.

UK Spokesperson for Advancing Tourism To Africa, John Berry, says mining the 
river as well as any further tourism developments in the area could taint 
the pristine image of the area. “Mining within the World Heritage Site will 
eclipse the threat of two over-zealous tourism developments in Mana. The 
international travel trade will receive an immediate negative message about 
Zimbabwe, just as we’re looking forward to a recovery but, more so, the 
developments will have a permanent effect on Mana’s appeal as a 

Dorine Reinstein
Tourism Update 


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