Isdore Guvamombe — The Government's move to build a resort town in Kanyemba has received a major boost after a United Kingdom-based investor proposed to build a world class golf leisure resort and supporting facilities at an estimated cost of US$1,3 billion.
Leisure Investment International (Ltd), previously known as Professional Golf Course Designers (Ltd) has proposed to build one of the biggest resorts in Africa, South of the Sahara, with a hotel, conference and wellness centre, an 18-hole championship golf course, the golf course's residential property, a wildlife research centre, a solar farm, a tourism centre, a netball championship centre and a nine-hole golf academy.
Kanyemba is Zimbabwe's northernmost point, diagonally opposite the confluence of Luangwa and Zambezi rivers, with the Zambian town of Luangwa to the north and Mozambique's Zumbo town to the east and had until the New Dispensation remained undeveloped and remote, despite harbouring numerous opportunities.
The development of a new town started two years ago and the golf resort investment is certainly going to be a big game changer that will go a long way in announcing the arrival of the new town of Kanyemba to the international scene.
In a letter dated March 21, 2021 and addressed to Mbire Rural District Council chief executive Mr Cloudius Majaya, Leisure Investment International Ltd co-directors Andrew Mair and Charles Shelton, said they had consulted many local and international golf companies and Kanyemba got the nod as the best site.
"We believe the Mbire Zambezi Golf Resort will add impetus to complement various concrete and tangible efforts by Government to transform Zimbabwe into a middle income economy by 2030.
"Through visits by our colleagues and our strong links with national golf administrators in Zimbabwe, we have identified Kanyemba as a prime destination with huge potential to this proposed world-class golf facility.
"The Mbire Zambezi Golf Resort will strategically cater for the towns of Luangwa and Zumbo in the immediate vicinity thus promoting cross border movement of people and the development of trade between Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe and the region at large," reads the letter.
Asked for comment, Mr Majaya said he was excited by the move, which he said would change the fortunes of the district and the country.
"We are very excited by this development that will change our fortunes by bringing serious ripple-effect investments. It is going to improve on revenue streams for the council as well as create employment for the locals, notwithstanding the downstream activities that come along with the golf course.
"It is also going to add value to Kanyemba as a resort town in particular, and Mbire in general. We look forward to working with Leisure Investment International group to make the project a success in line with Vision 2030," said Mr Majaya.
Leisure Investment International is known the world over for designing and building some of the best resorts and the facility in Kanyemba will be built along the lines of the set up at Elephant Hills Hotel and Resort in Victoria Falls.
According to the letter, Leisure Investment International will bring experts in business planning and feasibility studies, masterplan development from concept to detailed design, architecture based on proven designs, engineering in integrated designs, and operational phase, including staff training and development.
"As a group, we are able to provide a multi-discipline team of architects, urban planners, engineers, administrators and environmentalists with wide ranging experiences in the African continent, which will enable the successful delivery and support for this project.
"Our intention is that we will travel to Zimbabwe to continue with developing the proposal by meeting key individuals as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic has scaled down," reads the letter.
Kanyemba has been a crossing point with home made or conventional boats to and from Zambia.
The Government has been working on the new town of Kanyemba since 2018 and the eastern side towards Zumbo in Mozambique provides the rugged and scenic terrain that will make any discerning golfer green with envy.
Kanyemba also provides a lot of opportunities given its vast Zambezi River frontage and surrounding wildlife hunting concessions in Usanga, Dande North, Dande South, Masoka, Masawu and Mupedzapasi camps.
Kanyemba also has access, just a spitting distance away to Chewore National Park and Mana Pools World Heritage Site, while the dinosaur fossils at Kapirinhengo as well as the semi-nomadic Doma people give credence to cultural tourism.
The vast untapped salt pans at the intersection of Mwanzamutanda and Zambezi rivers, to the west of the new town, provide credence to the historical movement of the founder of the Mutapa Empire dying on his escapade to conquer the salt pans.
The Dande fossilised forest, where trees turned into stones, is a grandeur that adds value to Kanyemba.
When all is said and done, the new golf resort will find a lot of support.