Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
The approximately 12-hour, 880km journey to Victoria Falls by road is dreaded by many, but for passionate bikers, who are preparing to embark on it next week, this is just a fun experience not to be missed.
Since 2018, motorcyclists from the Zimbabwe Free Riders Annual Victoria Falls Run (ZFRAVFR) have been embarking on this journey from Harare to one of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations, Victoria Falls.
Unlike in the past when such initiatives would be taken up by men only, the fete is now complete as women are also part of it.
With tourism operators having been given the green light by Government to resume operations this week, with focus being on pushing domestic tourism, the bikers have welcomed this initiative and are now ensuring their motorcycles are in top form.
The crew is set to depart Harare on September 10 and stopover in Bulawayo for a night. Already, their trip has received support from tourism players with restaurant, Chicken Hut offering them discounts on food for their trip if they make stops at their outlets. Another outlet in Gweru, Pabloz has also offered them good deals on lunch along the way.
Zimbabwe Free Riders Motorcycle Club acting secretary, Ruvarashe Ruzive said all is set for the excursion with members raring to go.
The aim of the event, Ruzive said, is to promote domestic tourism and in the long run, attract tourists who will join them for some biking fun.
“The initiative is a ride from Harare to Victoria Falls on motorcycles. Biking clubs normally do runs as a way of merging a cause and their love for motorcycles. Our cause with the Victoria Falls Run is to promote domestic tourism and also attract international tourists through our experiences there,” said Ruzive.
“We’re looking at marketing this run internationally and our forecast is that in the next five years, it’ll have grown into a big rally attracting bikers from the international community to Victoria Falls on a yearly basis.”
She said as they embark on their journey, they use social media to reach out to many people as part of efforts to market the country.
“The journey is approximately 800km, one way and the main motive is obviously to promote Victoria Falls as a tourist destination as well as the towns and cities along the way. We also intend to raise funds for charity once the run has reached satisfactory participatory levels.
“For this year’s edition, we’re targeting about 30 bikers with 45 percent of that number being ladies,” said Ruzive.
Bikers, Ruzive said are very unique people as they are united. She said the group is embroidered on the phrase “we ride the way we want and we love the way we ride.”
“Each biker brings their own motorcycle. It’s a pre-requisite for club membership and participation in club activities for those that want to ride. Should bikers not be able to ride their own motorcycles, alternative transport is arranged. Also, we travel with support cars,” she said.
Personality, Walter Wanyanya who is set to make his second appearance in the ride said he is looking forward to the expedition.
“2020 will be my second year participating. It’s always great fun to socialise with like-minded people brought together by the love of motorbikes and also the love for seeing Zimbabwe on two wheels.
“The destination (Victoria Falls) is great, but the trip itself is epic. Any opportunity for us to ride as a pack and to see Zimbabwe no matter which direction we take, is a good opportunity not to miss,” he said.
Wanyanya said the ride is also epic as they travel as a crowd. Making stops along the way and enjoying Zimbabwe’s scenery, he said it is always awesome, with the Bulawayo stopover always being the highlight of the trip.
“We get to stop anywhere along the way and explore. We stop in Bulawayo for the night on the way to Victoria Falls and also on our way back. Bulawayo is always exciting as it’s the hub of the country’s creative world and we know we’re bound to enjoy our stay there always,” said Wanyanya. — @mthabisi_mthire.