Robson Sharuko and Tafadzwa Zimoyo
Hollywood celebrity couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones visited Zimbabwe’s premier tourist attraction, the Victoria Falls, this week while UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is expected today for a 12-day vacation.
Ceferin, the second most powerful man in world football, comes just days after pictures emerged showing Douglas and Zeta-Jones sunbathing on vacation in Victoria Falls.
Zeta-Jones, the Welsh actress, took to Instagram to post pictures of the family, including their two children — Dylan and Carys — in Victoria Falls.
Douglas is a legendary American actor and producer with two Academy awards and five Golden Globe awards.
“Just the four of us,” wrote the actress who won an Oscar for the musical Chicago.
“Greetings from Zimbabwe,” she captioned her photos.
Ceferin leads a multi-billion-dollar organisation which is the heartbeat of the global game.
It’s a major coup for Zimbabwean tourism, with the Slovenian lawyer, who is also the FIFA vice president, set to be accompanied by his family on a tour that will see them visit some of the country’s major resort areas.
He will be hosted by COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa during his stay in the country, with the family’s first port of call being Victoria Falls where they are scheduled to arrive today.
“Looking forward to meet you on Friday and thank you in advance,” Ceferin texted the COSAFA boss yesterday.
Douglas and Zeta-Jones have visited Victoria Falls before, a source said.
“They were here 15 years ago on a private visit. This time they brought their two children who had never been here before,” the source said.
“The family only stayed two nights. They went on the Flight of Angels (the helicopter ride), heard the story of David Livingstone’s journeys and did a tour of the Falls. They are very nice down to earth and
private people. That’s all I know,” said the source.
Other celebrities that were in Victoria Falls recently include South African television presenter and socialite Maps Mamponyane who confirmed his visit too.
Mamponyane, spent a day in the resort town and spoke glowingly about the falls, saying the story of them drying up was not true.
“The time was not enough. Everything here was so spectacular. People are incredible. I just want to stay here as long as possible. I hear rumours of the falls drying up, something that made me quite sad and I thought it would be unfortunate so I decided to pop up to see for myself what was happening.
“There are plenty of developments. The water in the Zambezi is just lower than usual just like any other river. There is water and they are not dry. They are still incredible to look at,” he said.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) spokesperson Godfrey Koti said they were excited that the resort town continued to host elite tourists.
“We are delighted to have such a high calibre of personalities visiting the Victoria Falls and helping us to tell the Zimbabwean story to the world,” he said.
He said the resort town will be buzzing in the coming days as a lot of South African, Nigerian and Ghanaian artistes were scheduled to fly in for the Victoria Falls carnival set for next week.
“Some of the entertainers who are billed to perform at this year’s edition include South African hip-hop sensation AKA, Shekhinah, Zafari, DJ Maphorisa, TK Smoothe, Prince Kaybee, Flying Bantu, Sereetsi and The Natives.
“It is going to be lit, and I am sure we might get surprise guests too,” he said.
Commenting on the water levels, Koti said it was seasonal.
“It was just unfortunate that we had some international media houses who had other agendas. Our catchment area is up in Angola, DRC and Northern part of Zambia.
“It has not rained up north and there has been a drought and it is not new. There is always low levels of water between October and December.
“This is not the lowest that we have had and the lowest was in 1985. April is the peak period when levels will be high,” he said.
Koti said they had to explain that too, to the Douglas family who were asking more about it.
“Catherine Zeta Jones and Micheal Douglas were very inquisitive about the story and we answered them very well and they have been posting that on social media,” he said.
ZTA officials have also been working to ensure the UEFA president’s visit will flow smoothly and he can enjoy the full package of the country’s tourism magic.
The UEFA boss is leading a 20-member delegation that includes family and friends and they will stay in Zimbabwe for 12 days.
Their schedule will see them vacationing at Victoria Falls, Binga, Hwange National Park, Matopos, Great Zimbabwe and the Eastern Highlands with the tour coming to an end in Harare on January 7.
Just two years ago, the most powerful man in world cricket, International Cricket Council chairman Shashonk Manohar, also spent five days in this country in the company of his wife and visited Victoria Falls.