from DANIEL JONES in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
VICTORIA FALLS, (CAJ News) – TRAVEL between the iconic northeastern Botswana city of Kasane and the globally-renowned Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is on the increase following the introduction of a new flight service between the two towns.
Botswana’s Mack Air is the first airline to offer daily scheduled flights between the Southern African towns.
The industry hails this as a game changer.
Mack Air, boasting the most modern fleet of any airline in Africa, with an average fleet age of less than five years according to the operator, launched its inaugural flights on May 1.
It is the latest aviation bird to fly into Zimbabwe’s tourism capital hosting one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The company is using a 14-seater Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft that has become popular with tourists shuttling between Kasane and Victoria Falls.
“The trend of seamless travel is becoming more and more popular between Victoria Falls and Kasane,” Michael Weyl, the Mack Air, Managing Director, said.
“Our load factor is about 40 percent,” he said.
“We have confirmed bookings and hundreds of provisional bookings and 80 percent of passengers are coming from Botswana going to Zimbabwe which is certainly boosting tourism,” said Weyl.
Tourists visiting any of the five Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) countries namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe make one day trips between the countries to sample wildlife and other leisure places.
Other sites on offer include Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park with the help of shuttle buses and vehicles from tour operating companies.
A majority of the airline’s clients flying into Victoria Falls are South Africa citizens.
There are others from far afield who, after touring the town, connect to Johannesburg via other airlines such as Comair and Fastjet.
With successive lockdowns sealing land borders, tourists have to contend with limited flights to Victoria Falls.
Before lockdown, Air Zimbabwe, British/ComAir, Air Namibia, Kenyan Airlines, South African Airways and Air Link flew into the resort town.
Beside the Botswana carrier, low cost airline Fastjet, Africa’s biggest airline, Ethiopian Airways, and British Airways (operated by Comair) fly to the Falls, whose airport received a facelift more than four years ago and can now accommodate wide bodied aircraft on its new 4km long and 60 metre wide run way.
– CAJ News