Hospitality concern Ventures Africa Limited-owned Leopard Rock Hotel officials are furious over government’s failure to close down Vumba tRoad o heavy vehicles which is sagging and collapsing under their heavy weight.
Leopard Rock Hotel proprietor Samir Shasha told the Daily News in an exclusive interview that they are failing to get the road inspected more than 10 days after Cyclone Idai which triggered landslides that killed hundreds of people and destroyed millions of dollars worth of road infrastructure and properties in Manicaland.
Some sections of the road to the resort mountain have visible cracks and are collapsing which is now being further threatened by logging trucks that have resumed work on the delicate road. Complete collapse would be a huge blow to the tourism industry and would increase the cost of repairs.
Shasha says his plea to get ministry of Transport engineers on the ground to inspect and make recommendations have so far fallen on deaf ears. “We are funding a drive to provide information and assistance and prevent further damage to the road. Yet we are not getting any response 10 days after the cyclone from any of the Vumba officials responsible for the safety of their constituents,” Shasha said.
The road has already collapsed in some sections of the Vumba area and quick action can save it from being completely inaccessible.
For years, Vumba roads have been largely neglected as they would go for years without getting any attention. The area that has previously been worst affected has been the eight-kilometre stretch from Mutare to the Vumba which for long periods over the past five years has been scarred by giant pot holes.
Numerous requests for repairs were made to Zinara and the Department of Roads to rehabilitate the road, but all to no avail.
It only got some attention when former president Robert Mugabe had scheduled a visit to Manicaland State University that is along the road.
Vumba is a tourist magnet not only because of its beautiful weather but natural wonders that include the mountains, affectionately known as The Mountains of Mist and the Bunga Forest. It has spectacular mountain woodlands, magnificent footpaths, natural streams, majestic views and varied bird life — one of the biggest concentrations in Africa as well as Leopard Rock Hotels’ Castle and legendary Chinyakwaremba Hill among others.
It is this treasure trove of attractions that are under threat of being inaccessible due to poor timing of timber logging activities.