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Richard Branson enjoys Zimbabwe's wildlife during two week visit

by Staff reporter
14 Jul 2023 at 07:39hrs | Views
British billionaire Richard Branson – the founder of the Virgin Group – and his family spent considerable time touring Zimbabwe's prime wildlife resort areas during his visit to the country.

He arrived aboard a Fast Jet commercial flight at Robert Mugabe International Airport.

With the private visit closely guarded, people were speculating about the reasons for his presence in the country.

Last week, the first snapshot of Branson in the country was shared by a government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana, who tweeted there was something in the offing for Zimbabwe's aviation industry.

But, at the end of Branson's visit, a blog post on his website accompanied by pictures of him canoeing down the Zambezi River, enjoying a sunset with his family, and watching elephants spoke of a good family holiday.

Branson said it was not his first visit to Zimbabwe.

"Many years ago, when Holly and Sam were kids, my family had the pleasure of travelling down the Zambezi River. Mum and Dad came along, and we even managed to get Joan in a canoe! It was an extraordinarily beautiful trip, going through the Mana Pools and seeing some incredible wildlife," Branson wrote.

He added that his visit was made possible by friends engaged in wildlife conservation projects in the country.

"It was delightful joining Tim (Evans) and his son, Wilf, my sister, Vanessa, my daughter-in-law, Isabella, and a wonderful group of conservationists to camp and canoe down the magnificent river. We had to watch out for enormous crocodiles, buffalo and hippos that could accidentally tip over our canoes. Thankfully, we had brilliant guides," he said.

Tim Evans, 59, is a medical doctor, who used to be assigned to the late Queen Elizabeth II as well as the rest of the royal family at Buckingham Palace.

Some of the wildlife conservation projects he spent time at are the Zambezi Elephant Fund and Wilderness Destinations Ruckomechi Camp, owned by a charity he co-founded, The Rise Fund.

Branson's visit ahead of the general elections, due on 23 August, was for many in the business community a vote of confidence.

In the past, he has had a keen interest in southern African politics.

He is one of the founders of The Elders, a group initially led by the late former South African head of state, Nelson Mandela.

During the 2018 general elections, The Elders urged Zimbabweans to put the national interest first and to reject violence at all stages of the electoral process.

Prior to that, in 2010, he founded Enterprise Zimbabwe, a charity to urge investors to pour money into Zimbabwe, adding that it was wrong for the world to deny Zimbabwe the capital it needed to rebuild during the Government of National Unity.

Source - News24