The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Fabulous Holiday Destinations

Fabulosity is no longer a word reserved only for Hollywood glam stars such as Kimora Lee Simmons. Right here in Zimbabwe the well- heeled have taken fabulosity, a word used to describe anything that is beyond wonderful, whether it is an outfit, a car, a lifestyle or a hairstyle to new levels. In this case they have taken fabulosity to holidaying.

In the past holidays for most Zimbabweans meant driving to the rural home to have a good Christmas with the folks down there. While this is still a very much-revered part of our culture as a people, for the well-heeled, some holidays especially the Christmas break, are now reading like novels.

Destinations such as Qatar, Dubai, China, Mauritius, Seychelles, Cape Town, Zanzibar, Maputo, Durban, Rome, New York and Paris are just some of the hot spots for these well- heeled. While it costs an arm and a leg to fly to these destinations and to book into a decent hotel for the new money crowd of Harare, this is nothing.

While the assumption would be that only the well known would afford such extravagance, Saturday Lifestyle established that actually some of these loaded people are not even in the limelight. They do their things quietly.

Sandra, a 35-year-old businesswoman who has clothing shops in Harare, says she usually travels to China or the United States for her annual break. During this trip, she does not order any stuff for her shops but simply enjoys time out with her three children and partner.

"My partner is a busy executive. Throughout the year he is always up and about and the annual break at the end of the year is our time to take it easy and have fun together. We shop for our own clothes, go to Disneyland with the children, eat in all the cozy restaurants and take time to visit his business partners in and around the different states in the US," she said.

Every year, a budget of US$150 000 is set aside for the couple's holiday even though Sandra says at times her partner fails to make it and she has to go with a friend or her sisters.

Jane, a 40-year-old married mother of five says Dubai is the most fabulous destination of all the ones she has gone to over the years.

"It is a shopping paradise, with the Dubai Mall being the biggest mall in the world. Every exclusive shop is there. When you are in that place it is your money that talks. The desert safari rides are to die for and so are the camel rides," she said.

Many other women said the same of Dubai, which seems to be fast becoming the holiday destination of all time, especially because of its shopping allure.

Tari, a Harare-based socialite said she loves Dubai for its sights and shopping, saying Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world is one of her favourite sights as it allows her to see the world from a totally different perspective.

"Dubai Architecture is just amazing; you find hotels and buildings of any shapes and sizes. The shopping is out of this world. I always buy myself jewellery and handbags when I am there," she said. Usually US$50 000 is enough to cover her trip with her family to the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

A Harare dealer who identifies himself as Joe said he loves to go to Hong Kong during his holiday breaks because while his family shops themselves crazy, he has time to look for new business opportunities.

He said this December will be the third time in a row he would have gone to China for a holiday.

"I am making money and money is there to be spent with one's family. I don't believe in enjoying life with small girls or any other such silly things. My wife has been there by my side from when I did not have money so Christmas is our time to go and spoil ourselves and our children. While some make noise about the money they have, I let my money talk in how my family spends it," he said.

For these folks there is nothing like a stringent budget for their holiday getaways. They budget anything from US$10 000 to US$300 000, depending on where they choose to holiday. Even if their destination is the majestic Victoria Falls, they make sure they do it in style. Rented cars, five star accommodation, first class flights, and candlelit dinners are the order of the day.

And all this when the assumption is that everyone is feeling the economic pinch!

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