Sydney Kawadza, Masvingo Bureau
The African Dream, a houseboat believed to be one of the biggest houseboats to have been built in Zimbabwe and has been a spectacle along the Harare-Masvingo Highway, passed through Masvingo city yesterday after a painstaking five-day journey from the capital.
The houseboat, with a carrying capacity of 16 people, was built at GDI Engineering in Msasa, Harare, was on its way to Victoria Falls en route to Namibia.
The boat handlers chose to use the longer route to Victoria Falls to avoid traffic congestion that is associated with the Harare-Bulawayo Highway, as that could have resulted in a major disruption of traffic flow.
According to crew members travelling with the gigantic houseboat, the journey to Victoria Falls would take a further 10 days.
“We are moving at approximately 30km/hour on good roads like this one (Masvingo-Bulawayo Road), but the journey from Harare to Masvingo was painstakingly slow,” said one crew member.
According to the Fisherman Magazine, the African Dream, which branched off the Harare-Masvingo Highway is heading towards Bulawayo on its way to Victoria Falls.
Its eventually destination is in Namibia where it will be launched onto the Zambezi River.
The houseboat will operate as a floating luxury hotel.
“For the technical mind, the ‘ship’ will measure an impressive 33.4m (109’) in length, with an eight metre beam (26’) — wider than the entire road — boasting three spacious decks, of which the upper-most deck will be removed for the journey,” according to the Fisherman Magazine.
“Though her total weight once complete is 157 tonnes, she will be stripped to around 100 tonnes for the three-week long road trip.”
The boat is being accompanied by a police escort, and a plethora of technicians, including some from Zesa Holdings.
The houseboat carrier will average around 10km/hour, stopping every few kilometres to allow road traffic to pass.
“If you are on the roads in the next three weeks between Harare and Masvingo, or Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, you might need to exercise a little patience,” the Fisherman Magazine warned.
The majestic boat has provided a spectacle as road users and on-lookers jostle to take photos.