A new day for Zimbabwe?

For many years travelers have avoided Zimbabwe, aware that the country was ruled by a brutal regime. But Robert Mugabe’s time is growing short, safari lodges are filling up, and the spectacular wildlife is flourishing again.

I’m having lunch on the terrace of the Victoria Falls Hotel, something I never would have done a few years ago. Even now, as I look out over the manicured lawns and the baboons and spider monkeys romping among the trees, I am uneasy.

When Robert Mugabe’s power as leader of Zimbabwe was at its cruel height, this hotel provided the dictator with a reliable flow of hard currency and served as a showpiece of the dictatorship. Mugabe’s men could point to the tourists here and say, “See, everything is normal.” I didn’t want to be part of that charade.

Today Mugabe, eighty-eight and ailing, still rules the country with an iron fist. There is a sense, though, that his time is almost up. The economy is in the hands of Tendai Biti, a leader of the opposition who has a reputation for honesty. Animals are no longer perishing in great numbers; poaching has fallen off; and tourists are starting to come back to Zimbabwe.

Read the complete, really great article by Joshua Hammer on CNtraveller.com

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