The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
PRELIMINARY survey and construction works on a multi-million dollar investment comprising an international Formula One (F1) grade motor racing circuit course, which is expected to add more glamour in the country’s premier resort town of Victoria Falls and contribute immensely to the tourism sector has started.
Fronted by Nanta Safaris, preliminary work at the 500-hectare site of the proposed theme park situated at Jembwe Village, Kachechete ward in Hwange District, about 30 kilometres east of Victoria Falls has already started.
The project’s director, Engineer Philani Mpofu, said the major attraction of the theme park would be the 5 416 metre-long F1 motor racing course, which is expected to attract the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group.
“It’s actually a theme park and the racecourse will headline the development. The racecourse will be attached to a 1 070 metres go-karting strip and a 1,2 kilometre drag strip. Obviously, with the area being 500 hectares in a safari area you would expect to have accommodation in the form of lodges of various sizes and tourist activities, both the usual and non-usual. We are bringing what is called gorge coasters, which are gravity roller coasters in a sense, the area itself has got gradients that are permissible. We will have glass walk ways that you always see somewhere in China. So, we are trying to bring in those things that are basically not on the offering within the Victoria Falls market and the wider Zimbabwe in context, things that are attached to motor racing and speed,” he said.
A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its structures and attractions around a central theme, often featuring multiple areas with different themes. Unlike temporary and mobile funfairs, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation.
“We are busy working on the site, opening up infrastructure. We have opened up access roads, perimeter fenced the area and we are also doing preliminaries in terms of surveys of the racecourse because it has lots of iterations. We are working with a company from UK (United Kingdom). We had hope to start construction work in the second half of the year but that hinges on approval from relevant authorities and in this case FIA,” said Eng Mpofu.
He said access roads and the area earmarked for the racecourse has been designed in a way meant to preserve fauna and heritage sites located within the location. A three-storey state-of-the-art 325-metre-long pit garage is also set to be constructed close to the racecourse.
“There is a 325-metre long pit garage that will be constructed there and ordinarily it will be used for the racecourse and conference. You probably remember the country struggled to find conference facilities that could fit in Victoria Falls for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly. The number of conferences that you could host (in the pit garage) is limitless as it will be configured the way one wants,” said Eng Mpofu.
Contacted for a comment Hwange Rural District Council resident engineer Alick Mudenda confirmed the development stating that the racecourse was still at design stage.
“I can confirm that we allocated Nanta Safaris land in Jembwe Village in Kachechete ward for the construction of a motor racing course and currently they are at design stage,” said Eng Mudenda.