Why a Formula One racetrack in Zimbabwe is a pipe dream

The racetrack was set to be constructed between Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park, two areas which are in the Zimbabwe section of the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area that cuts across Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.

A static car of the Formula 1 car of Mexican driver Sergio Checo Perez is exhibited during the inauguration of a local energy drink brand in the Central Supply of Mexico City.

A static car of the Formula 1 car of Mexican driver Sergio Checo Perez is exhibited during the inauguration of a local energy drink brand in the Central Supply of Mexico City.
Luis Barron, Eyepix Group, Future Publishing via G
  • A Formula One racetrack in Zimbabwe was set to be constructed next to a transnational wildlife sanctuary.
  • Villagers challenged the construction because it was on their ancestral and grazing land.
  • Tour operators say the racetrack would have affirmed Zimbabwe’s position as a tourism destination in Africa.

It was all a dream for Zimbabwe to have a Formula One racetrack.

A dream sold by politicians who argued it could be a major tourist attraction, especially if it was built near the country’s prime tourism destination, Victoria Falls.

The racetrack was set to be constructed between Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park, two areas which are in the Zimbabwe section of the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) that cuts across Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.

KAZA is home to almost half of Africa’s elephants, as well as an array of other animals such as African wild dogs, hippos, rhinos, lions, buffalo, zebras, crocodiles, and cheetahs.

In July last year, the designs for what was to be called the Zambezi River International Circuit were made public.

They were later submitted to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body for many auto racing events, including Formula One.

Spectacular

An architect close to the project told News24 the site of the project was 30km east of Victoria Falls along the Batoka Gorge on the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, downstream of Victoria Falls and 120km upstream of the Kariba Reservoir.

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