The devastating tropical cyclone Idai tore through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on Thursday and over the weekend, shutting down communications in some parts, and leaving many roads inaccessible.

In Mozambique, the port city of Beira was the worst hit, with reports saying that over 90% of the city has been destroyed. Beira International Airport had been closed, but opened on Sunday March 17.

Both Mozambique and Zimbabwe have declared a state of disaster.

Footage from a helicopter of humanitarian organisation International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

On the ground in Zimbabwe

Gavin Rennie, Director of Off2Africa, who is based in Zimbabwe, says the Eastern Highlands and Lowveld of Zimbabwe have been badly affected.

Reaching out to tourism players across the country, Rennie reported the following:

  • Aberfoyle Lodge in the Honde Valley is currently accessible. It has received 400ml of rain so is, however, very wet.
  • The world’s highest Skyline and Skywalk has been closed due to damage from the high winds. Repairs will take a couple of weeks, thereafter normal operations will resume.
  • Chimanimani Mountains is currently inaccessible, other than by helicopter. This and the Chipinge are amongst the worst affected in Zimbabwe.
  • Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is currently accessible by road and by air; however access into the Gonarezhou National Park is currently not possible as to reach the destination, travellers have to cross the Save River by boat, and the river is in flood. It is expected that in the next few days the river will be crossable again, and game drives can resume. Apart from the inability to do game drives, all other activities around the lodge and into the community area are possible.

Road to Chimanimani. Credit 263 Chat.

“The devastation of infrastructure such as roads and bridges has been immense,” says Rennie. “Many mud/rock landslides have occurred, some of which have flattened houses and taken lives. We are aware of a number of humanitarian relief initiatives underway, some of which we have contributed to financially. Our prayers and thoughts are with the families and communities affected by the tragic loss of life.”

If you are based in Mozambique, Malawi or Zimbabwe, and offer accommodation or tourism products/services, or have any information on facilities or areas closed to tourists because of tropical cyclone Idai, please let Tourism Update know so that we can share the information with our readers. Email editor@tourismupdate.co.za