Mashudu Netsianda, Deputy News Editor
BEITBRIDGE is mostly known for handling a huge volumes of both human and vehicular traffic in transit, yet it has magnificent tourist attractions that are worth visiting and can drive the country’s tourism industry.
One such attraction is Nottingham Estate Resorts, an untapped tourism gem worth exploring which is tucked deep in the south western part of Zimbabwe, about 30km west of the bustling border town on the northern banks of the Limpopo River.
The resorts, owned by the Knott family, comprise of Kuduland Lodge, Fishing Camp, Fly Camp and a scenic citrus plantation, an oasis in a semi-arid district.
Nestled on the banks of the Limpopo River, on the outskirts of Beitbridge Town, Kuduland Safari Lodge, is an ideal place for family or group outings, honeymooners and weddings among other events.
The resort is also an ideal overnight stop for exhausted travellers either before crossing into South Africa or on their way back home.
Officially launching the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy in August 2020 in Victoria Falls, President Mnangagwa said the tourism and hospitality industry is one of the key foreign currency earners in the country and employs thousands of people along the value chain.
The National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy is anchored on Zimbabwe’s vision to be a prime international tourist destination based in the judicious and sustainable exploitation of the unique assets of nature, culture, heritage and the built environment.
The strategy is informed by the Government’s Vision 2030 to become an upper middle-income economy characterised by increased investment, decent jobs and populace free from poverty and corruption.
The high growth target of this strategy, which seeks to achieve a US$5 billion tourism economy by year 2025 is ambitious, yet achievable.
Beitbridge has tourism attractions that can help drive the country’s tourism targets, with Nottingham Estate Resorts contributing much in the district.
The place offers a serene and peaceful environment, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
“We have six air conditioned chalets, each accommodating two people.
On the other side, we have five others, which can accommodate four people each. Each side has their own pool with magnificent views of the Limpopo River,” said Ms Bridget Gamuchirai Tsuro, Nottingham Estate Resorts administration manager.
“We also have a facility for local day trippers to visit the resort and enjoy free boat cruise, game drive, swimming and picnic, but all they have to do is to book in advance.”
Some of the activities offered include sunset boat cruises, game drives, bush walks, tours of the historic bushman caves, grain bins and rock paintings.
There is the incredible “elephant experience” at the Fly Camp where visitors get a rare opportunity to view up to 300 elephants being fed with oranges during the citrus season between May and September.
“We are a citrus producing farm and since elephants have a sweet tooth, they love oranges. During the orange season between May and September, the jumbos come in large numbers to feast on oranges,” said Ms Tsuro.
“We have actually created a feeding spot at Fly Camp where we feed them. During that period visitors get an opportunity to see a herd of 300 or more elephants, some from Kruger National Park and Botswana, coming to the feeding area.”
Perched on a rugged mountain, the charming Fly Camp is also an ideal picnic area for a bush lunch or supper with barbeque spot and a spacious dining area.
Visitors also get an opportunity to be taken to neighbouring Sentinel Ranch, another hidden treasure boasting rich historical sites which include magnificent middle to late Stone Age rock paintings and numerous sites of dinosaur fossil beds.
The remains of a Massospondylus dinosaur dating back 200 million years can be viewed in its almost intact state with the hind-end uppermost at Sentinel Safaris.
Although there are other part specimens of Massospondylus, which have been found and recorded in the immediate area, the most complete specimen found and excavated so far has the rear half of the dinosaur resting on its back with intact hind limbs splayed symmetrically to each side.
Massospondylus was named by Sir Richard Owen in 1854 from remains discovered in South Africa and was one of the first dinosaurs to be named.
The area is rich in fauna and flora with more than 400 bird species, Mopani woodlands and heritage archaeological sites related to African societies that lived along the Limpopo Valley more than 1 000 years ago.
Nottingham Fishing Camp Lodge overlooks Mutshilashokwe Dam from which picturesque sunsets and sunrises can be viewed.
“Covid-19 helped us boost domestic tourism. Most people, particularly travellers think Beitbridge is just a border town yet we have magnificent tourist attractions worth visiting in this area,” said Ms Tsuro.
“Once the proposed Mapungubwe Tourism Border Post starts operating, it will be boots tourist arrivals for us by virtue of being a component of the Great Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. For clients that would want to fly in we have an airstrip at the farm.”
Nottingham Estate Resort, which is home to eco-tourism and hospitality, is a component of the Great Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA).
The area situated in a gently undulating landscape of open savannah consisting mostly of grassed bushland with patches of Mopani woodland
GMTFCA is located at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers and it measures 5 909km2 encompassing vast safari land in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.
The Zimbabwean component of the GMTFCA includes Nottingham Estate, Tuli Circle Safari Area, Sentinel Ranch, Machuchuta, River Ranch, Doddieburn, Nhwali and Maramani communal lands.
Plans are underway to establish a permanent tourism border post within the GMTFCA. Every year, a temporary border post is set up to cater for cyclists who would be participating in the Tour de Tuli, a renowned premier mountain bike adventure.
Several cyclists from across the world will be traversing pristine wilderness areas in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. [email protected]
Article Source: The Chronicle