from DANIEL JONES in Hwange, Zimbabwe
HWANGE – TECHNOLOGY has met aviation as the first flight linking Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park Airport to the rest of the country was launched.
Blockchain-powered airline, Kuva Air, has launched scheduled flights between Harare and the national park, linking with Kariba and Victoria Falls.
This is the first scheduled flight to Hwange National Park through the under-utilised airport.
The maiden flight landed in Hwange on Wednesday.
“Our goal is to increase access and have a way to reach areas like Hwange and give exposure at affordable rates,” said the airline’s spokesperson, Darryl Dzapasi.
Until now, Hwange National Park was not connected by air to other parts of the country.
Located in the northwest, it is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe, at around 14 600 square kilometres.
Kuva Air uses an Embraer 120 aircraft with a capacity of 30 passengers.
Hwange National Park Airport has the second longest runway in the country after the Robert Mugabe International, in the capital, Harare.
James Kuwanda, general manager of African Sun’s Hwange Safari Lodge, welcomed the new route as a boost for tourism in Hwange.
“This is a beautiful thing for hotels around this area as it will increase tourist arrivals,” Kuwanda said.
The airline will fly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Sarudzai Muza, Airports Company of Zimbabwe marketing representative, hailed Kuva Air as a “game changer” in terms of promoting domestic travel.
“We are very excited about this and encourage Kuva Air to fly into other domestic destinations like Masvingo and Buffalo Range to promote the domestic Zimbo tourism drive,” she said.
The route is one of the initiatives towards promoting the Tourism Recovery Plan and the country’s drive towards a US$5 billion tourism industry by the year 2025.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has since started plans to upgrade the local airport to attract more airlines.
Botswana’s Mack Air, which links Victoria Falls to Kasane in Botswana, plans to expand to Hwange to connect the majestic Falls to the iconic game park.
Air Zimbabwe is also considering flights to Hwange.
Besides boasting the biggest game park, the mining town formerly known as Wankie is strategically located.
It is close to the border with Botswana and Zambia and is located about 100 kilometres southeast of Victoria Falls.
– CAJ News