Dete sliding into tourism oblivion


THE festive season is upon us and the same goes for the World Cup fever in Qatar which has also taken the entire soccer world by storm.

Soccer giants such as Ghana, Cameroon, Belgium, Uruguay, United States of America, Spain among others have fallen by the wayside while others continue marching on their quest of being world champions.

Some soccer fanatics have travelled all the way to this Middle East country to watch their favourite national teams in action and on the other hand enjoy holidaying escapades.

Some followers like me have been glued to their set boxes for the past few weeks watching their favourite teams in action.

This is also a peculiar “season” where remote control devices become the most sought after gadgets within any household.

However, the situation is not similar to other homes where scheduled load shedding is now the order of the day due to dwindling electricity generation and this issue is not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone.

The same also applies to Dete which is home to the country's game viewing and safari industry which Yours Truly can safely describe as a nucleus to the country’s revitalised tourism industry.

Dete centre was once described  as an awakening tourism giant poised for growth due to its proximity to Hwange National Park which is considered to be among the largest animal sanctuaries within Southern Africa and is home to The Big Five within travelling and touring circles.

The business centre is located 60km north east of the coal mining town of Hwange whose development is centred on provision of water and electricity which is somehow proving to be as slippery and elusive as an eel.

And at the time of writing this column, there was no improvement on availability of these two precious commodities, which have resulted in Dete and its environs staring water borne diseases with electrical gadgets bearing the malfunctionality brunt.

To the uninitiated, Dete was at one time poised to be the provincial capital for Matabeleland North province as it had all necessary faculties with readymade infrastructure. It was however pipped to glory by adjacent  Lupane.

Yours Truly, has in the past extolled the virtues of this particular place as another Victoria Falls in making due to its location on peripheries of renowned Hwange National Park which has in turn given rise to an increase of lodges, Safari companies, private animal conservancies among others. This is the epicentre of game and bird viewing as well photographic safari.

Tourism-related learning institutions have also been established at Dete centre where some graduates have been employed by local and in neighbouring countries. Thanks to my 'leader' the inimitable Douglas Mpofu one of the tourism doyens in this particular business centre. He is always a phone call away in terms of tourism related issues.

However, such projected improvements might go to waste if intermittent electricity and power cuts are not tackled as a matter of urgency.

Officials from both the power utility as well as from the country’s water authority are in constant communication with residents regarding the above-mentioned issues whose negative impact is currently being felt across the whole Dete spectrum.

Kudos to local officials from the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company as well as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, who at times endure a barrage of questions and enquiries from consumers whenever any form of need arises.

It was going to be ideal if similar utilities in other parts of the country emulate their Dete counterparts on having open door policies in terms of communication and other related issues.

Other entities do provide the so called toll-free numbers which however do not live up to their expectations in terms of communication and information dissemination.

And that is a fact.

After all is said and done, something has to be implemented  in terms of electricity provision whose transmission poles are reported to be in dire need of replacement while vandalism has also been attributed to constant power outages.

However, there has been a clarion call by residents to ensure that there is some form of electricity backup such as solar energy at the Waterloop Aquifer where water to supply Dete and its surrounding area is pumped.

Waterloop Aquifer is situated about 60km northeast of Dete and also services areas such as Hwange National Park Airport, national park, lodges, among others.

Dete will never slide into tourism oblivion.

Till we meet again in the next column.

Comments always welcome on: [email protected]

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