Domestic tourism: Locals open hotels in rural areas

Source: Domestic tourism: Locals open hotels in rural areas | The Herald

Domestic tourism: Locals open hotels in rural areas

Blessings Chidakwa Lifestyle Writer

The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard, nor read about, nor seen, but, if one will, they are to be lived.

Such is the experience that local business people are infusing into domestic tourism.

A flair of elegance.

Gone are the days when people used to rely on visiting top notch five-star hotels.

Zimbabweans are now competing equally if not surpassing some of the standards set by the traditional hotels owners.

The local players are giving lodging a tourism robust and new outlook.

Gone are the days when the local business people would limit themselves to buses, supermarkets or agriculture businesses, but now they are venturing into hotels.

Unlike yesteryears where luxury hotels or lodgings were mainly confined to urban setups or tourism places like the City of Victoria Falls, Kariba and Nyanga, that is now a thing of the past.

Tourism has spread wings, talk of the likes of Binga sand beach and Murambi East and Spa in Mutare.

All the flair that used to be associated with traditional hotels are being afforded in such places, albeit at affordable rates.

This article will solely focus on the two distinct lodges Murambi East and Spa as well as Suskwe Lodges in Mutoko as one offers spectacular indoors, while the other has more focus on exterior decorations.

Holidaying is usually undertaken by those with money, but now it has been made more accessible to a wider audience, courtesy of local business people charging fairly affordable prices.

Thinking of relaxing, Murambi East and Spa situated just two kilometres from Mutare City Centre is an ideal place on the edge of a mountain, in a place commonly referred to as Kumakomoyo.

The rooms and services offered at this place match those of top notch traditional hotels.

The designs and furniture are just breathtaking.

The lodgings have en suits, while the living rooms and bedrooms have decorated lighting. For music lovers, there are pianos complemented by an exclusive SPA and sauna.

“We are an exquisite boutique hotel offering services in accommodation, food and beverages, conferencing, weddings and celebratory functions,” said Murambi East and Spa general manager Mr Silence Ndou said.

“The services offered are just top notch which matches those offered by five-star hotels dotted around the country.”

If one has to experience the perfect outdoor outing, in an area usually famed for tomatoes and mangoes in Mutoko Rural District lies Suskwe Lodges.

Less than five kilometres from Mutoko Rural District Centre, one only has to endure about three kilometres of dusty road, but, of course, full of lush greenery.

At the entrance of the lodge, one is given a refreshing welcome by neatly dressed security officials while the ambience upon entering leaves one purely relaxed.

One should forget the formal settings frequently associated with hotels, but still experience the excellence.

Architecture is a visual art, and the structures speak for themselves at this lodge.

Such is the case with Suskwe Lodges, furnished with outside showers and open kitchens, with outside fridges.

The materials used and designs are simply mouthwatering.

The rooms are unique – state-of-the-art fully furnished Caravans imported from neighbouring South Africa.

Apart from these, there are gazebos and a pergola.

A pergola is an outdoor garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained.

Suskwe Lodges supervisor, Mr Pardon Nyahuni, said activities offered include accommodation and entertainment, while plans are underway for the inclusion of game viewing and a golf course.

“We have caravans which are operational and rooms under construction,” he said. “We have outside showers, outside kitchens with braai stands.

“If one books a caravan area he or she will enjoy the full package and the area will be a no go area for other people. The caravan has a bed, a television set with a full bouquet, inside toilet and bathroom.”

Mr Nyahuni shared some of the entertainment offered at the place.

“So far we have an entertainment centre called Ndingamarombe area, we also have a gazebo and a pergola,” he said.

“We have another gazebo under construction on an island like where people can relax on top while underneath there will be fishing.

“People are allowed to fish, but on a catch and release basis.

We proposed to get animals from Zimparks including zebras, impalas and lions so we are now awaiting their delivery.”

Suskwe Lodges owner Mr Norest Nyamakope said he got his inspiration from nature.

“As local people we need to do real business that generates revenue, being mindful of promoting the tourism industry,” he said.

“The thrust is also to ensure that we empower the local people through employment creation.

“In my case, I am retracing my roots in Mutoko where I was born. In terms of skilled jobs, we can then hire from other districts.”