The Hidden Challenges of a Popular Lodge in Zimbabwe

Published by Guy Taylor on

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Zimbabwe Tourism 1

Zimbabwe is a country known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality. Lodges nestled in its scenic surroundings promise an escape into nature’s tranquility, making them popular choices for weddings and vacations. However, not all that glitters is gold. Recently, I came across some troubling feedback about one such lodge, which will remain unnamed to protect its identity. This feedback has shed light on serious shortcomings that could tarnish the image of Zimbabwean tourism.

Unveiling the Unacceptable: Reviews Speak Volumes

The best friend of a woman I knew until comparatively recently, or thought I knew, had her wedding at this lodge the weekend I returned to Zimbabwe, coinciding with my return flight. The excitement of a wedding day should be accompanied by flawless service and impeccable facilities, but this lodge appears to fall significantly short of these expectations.

The spiritual and everlasting impact of marriage and its sacred grounds should not be marred by such incompetence, discomfort, and high costs. According to reviews, the lodge has a beautiful environment but fails in basic cleanliness and maintenance. Guests have complained about dirty rooms, filthy bedding, and unclean bathrooms. One reviewer mentioned that the showers appeared untouched by detergents for ages, making for a very disappointing stay. Another guest described how their tented accommodations were unfit for habitation, full of spiders and sand, with mattresses that were a disgrace.

A Wedding Venue Marred by Neglect

This woman shared her frustrations with me over WhatsApp prior to the wedding:

“It’s insane really… They charge SOOOOOO much for the venue… But then we have to bring our own fuel for the generator if there’s a power cut… We have to pay for the workers to wait tables and supply our own tablecloths, as you know, and a whole bunch of other stuff… So thousands of dollars go just to the venue and the use of some tables and chairs. Oh, it is amazing and beautiful… That’s probably the only reason why they still get people to go there… Also… Their wedding hall is slippery tile… The number of people who have broken hips, collar bones, concussions, and so forth is crazy. And when they get bad reviews on their Facebook page, they delete them.”

Other reviews echo these sentiments. One guest wrote on TripAdvisor, “The location is stunning, but the service is appalling. The staff seemed disinterested and the facilities were not maintained. For the price we paid, it was a huge letdown.” Another reviewer stated, “We expected a luxurious experience, but were greeted with dirty linens and a bathroom that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. The management needs to seriously reconsider their standards.”

A Plan for Improvement

Prior to the suggested that I should run this lodge, which led to me suggesting and if I did, here’s what would be done to transform it:

  1. Solar Power Installation: This would ensure a reliable power supply without the need for guests to bring their own fuel. Regardless of this, the lodge should have its own fuel supplies for backup generators in times of need. Guests come for a retreat, not added pressure.
  2. Investment in Basics: The lodge should own tablecloths and other essentials, ensuring guests don’t bear additional burdens.
  3. Thorough Cleaning and Maintenance: Regular deep cleaning and maintenance would make the lodge a welcoming place for all visitors.
  4. Cost Revision for Weddings and other Functions: With the help of an accountant a review and adjust the costs associated with weddings and other functions to ensure they are more affordable for couples etc, reflecting the true value of the services provided.
  5. Safety Improvements for the Wedding Hall: Replace the slippery tile flooring in the wedding hall with safer, non-slip flooring to prevent injuries and ensure a safe environment for all guests.
  6. Additional Enhancements: Make other minor changes and additions, such as building fire pits and braais (barbecue facilities) outside each lodge or cottage, improving tented accommodations, and considering other enhancements to elevate the guest experience.
  7. Addressing Mismatch Between Price and Service: Ensure that the price paid by guests aligns with the quality of service provided, avoiding any discrepancies and ensuring guests feel they receive fair value for their investment. Offer a partial or full refund if guests are dissatisfied with their experience.
  8. Embrace All Reviews, Good and Bad: Encourage transparency and openness by fully embracing all reviews, whether positive or negative. Use feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement, fostering a culture of continuous enhancement.

A Call for Transparency and Better Standards

One of the most alarming issues is that the lodge deletes negative reviews from its Facebook page. This practice not only misleads potential guests but also hides the truth about the quality of service provided. Transparency is crucial for improvement and guest trust.

Despite these issues, it’s important to acknowledge that many Zimbabwean lodges uphold high standards and provide exceptional service, contributing positively to the country’s tourism industry.

Conclusion: Zimbabwean Tourism Deserves Better

The negative experiences at this lodge do not just affect the establishment itself but cast a shadow over Zimbabwean tourism and hospitality. Our country deserves better, and so do our guests. Tourism is a vital part of our economy and our identity, and it is imperative that we uphold the highest standards to ensure every visitor leaves with fond memories and a desire to return.

I urge the lodge owners and the wider tourism industry to take these concerns seriously and work towards enhancing the guest experience. By doing so, we can ensure that Zimbabwe remains a top destination for travelers worldwide. As a Zimbabwean tourism blogger, my job is to promote Zimbabwean tourism, but I refuse to sell a lie. To those who can do better, do better!


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