The Victoria Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world. The phenomenon and its surrounding environment has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site, and any attempt at commercial enhancement causes concern in high environment protection authorities. For hotels and leisure resorts to be constructed legally in such hallowed ecological ground, takes years of research, planning and cooperation between developers and environmental watch-dogs.
"The development of Sun International's resort development in the park will meet and exceed stringent self-imposed guidelines that will eventually enhance the status of the World Heritage site it stands on now," says Philip Georgas, Sun International's Regional Director Resorts.
The group's 46-hectare resort in the Mosi-o-Tunya National Wildlife Park near the Victoria Falls in Zambia occupies a sensitive position near the Zambezi River.
"Everything was done to preserve the natural beauty of the place," Georgas explains says. "Careful preservation and rehabilitation of the existing ecosystems was the subject of an environmental management programme, which in turn was the result of an exhaustive impact assessment by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)."
Stringent environmental laws
Zambia is one of only 100 countries worldwide that have stringent legislation to preserve the environment. The Falls resort's general manager, Phillip Couvaras, says the legislation "is highly prescriptive and The Falls resort is by way of a test case. We have pro-actively embraced the precepts and will stringently abide by the guidelines we have elicited through the study". Sun International has pledged not to undertake any construction within 50m of the river.
Couvaras says he and his team and, inevitably...