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Zimbabwe: is tourism back on track?

The problems experienced in Zimbabwe over the last decade, with Mugabe’s brutal attacks on political opponents and food and fuel shortages, wreaked havoc on the country’s tourist industry. Most European and Commonwealth tourists wisely chose safer African destinations for their wildlife and safari holidays.

Now it appears that British tour operators, safari specialists and travel agents are beginning to re-engage with Zimbabwe, reports the Daily Telegraph. W&O Travel and Aardvark Safaris have recently announced programmes and tours for 2011 and more operators are expected to follow suit. The hype is that the new coalition government is supposedly taking the country into a new era of prosperity and freedom.

But is Zimbabwe really ready to receive European visitors? Whilst it’s true that the infrastructure of this once prosperous country has deteriorated over the past 10 years, it is still no worse than in most other African countries, and experienced travellers claim there is nowhere friendlier or more beautiful in Africa. It boasts the majestic Victoria Falls, magnificent wildlife and the medieval ruins of the Great Zimbabwe, and tourists are unlikely to experience any danger.

With the Zimbabwe dollar abolished, the economy is more stable and food shortages have ended. There is good reason for the tourist operators to put Zimbabwe back on its books. If you visit this wonderful African country, struggling to survive after years of political oppression, you will see largely unspoilt wilderness and meet wonderful people.

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