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Mall developers stake out turf around picturesque Victoria Falls

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Mosi oa tunya, also known as the Victoria Falls

Mosi oa tunya, also known as the Victoria Falls

(GIN) – A trip to one of Africa’s world class wonders doesn’t mean one needs to be deprived of the pleasures of shopping.

At least that was the thinking of developers who obtained permits for a $13 million multi-purpose shopping mall not far from Zimbabwe’s renowned Victoria Falls.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place last week on a 1,500-hectare piece of land with construction set to finish in January next year, according to the contractor, Masimba Construction Company.

The complex, known as Sawanga Shopping Mall, will house 23 tenants including big box stores such as Pick ‘n Pay, banks, restaurants, a parking lot and offices, among others.

Tourism and Hospitality Minister Prisca Mupfumira, said the development was a clear sign of good prospects for the resort town.

Victoria Falls is a gateway to the massive waterfall of the same name. Here, the Zambezi River plummets over a cliff and into the Boiling Pot before flowing through a series of gorges. The Devil’s Pool, a natural infinity pool, is on the edge of a sheer drop.

Spanning the river is the 1905 Victoria Falls Bridge. The surrounding Zambezi National Park is home to white rhinos and elephants.

Today, as several hundred thousand visitors from around the world trek to the falls each year; several hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and other tourist businesses cater to them.

At least four other shopping malls are located less than five miles from Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “the smoke that thunders” – the original name for Victoria Falls. Operators in the area offer everything from helicopter overflights to bungee jumping, and the management of these activities while preserving a quality visitor experience for all is an ongoing challenge.

These are among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world if the region can resist runaway tourism-based development—more resorts, hotels, and even a possible dam below the falls that could flood several park gorges.

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