The building of a 2 400MW Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BHES) on the Zambezi River in 2020 by Zambia and Zimbabwe is set to boost tourism activities in the two southern African countries.
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), a bilateral organization equally owned by the governments of both countries, is undertaking the development of the $4bn BHES, located within the Batoka Gorge, 47km downstream of Victoria Falls.
Public Relations Executive for Shearwater, a Victoria Falls Adventure Company, Clement Mukwasi, says the BHES project will bring mixed fortunes for the tourism sector in the two neighbouring countries.
“One of the indices of peace is the number of tourists who visit a destination. Joint state development is a serious statement of good neighbourliness,” Mukwasi says. “The gorges are likely to be filled with water, and new activities in the gorges will have to be invented,” Mukwasi says that kayaking, gorge hikes and surfing are new products lined up in the historic Batoka gorges. “The engineering and the history of the construction of the dam may be added to our museums.” The area, Mukwasi says, shall continue to offer white water rafting.
According to the ZRA, the Batoka Project involves the construction of the dam, powerhouses, roads, transmission infrastructure and townships in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. “Electricity is the greater benefit which supports all other forms of pomp and fanfare associated with the destination,” Mukwasi concluded.
The Zambian Government recently shelved plans to construct a mega hydropower dam across the Luangwa River, one of the longest flowing rivers in southern Africa, and is now banking on BHES to generate additional power.