Zanzibar news update – Kempinski seeks approvals for UNESCO protected ‘stone town’ site


It was learned overnight from a source in Dar es Salaam that Kempinski Hotels, probably to make up for the recent loss of a management contract for their resort on Zanzibar, is continuing to seek exemptions and approvals for a 5 star hotel in the middle of the ancient ‘stone town’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tanzania has of late come under intense scrutiny over the way the pending application for the same status to be accorded to the Eastern Arc Mountains was withdrawn, but also the pending battle over uranium mining in the Selous Game Reserve, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only two weeks ago did the government in Dar es Salaam write to UNESCO assuring them that their plans for a highway to cross the critical migration paths in the Northern Serengeti were off the table and an alternative route would be explored, a declaration much under dispute though be sections of the conservation fraternity who distrust the wording of the letter.

Meanwhile though in Zanzibar, Kempinski’s relentless drive to obtain approval for their mega project right in the heart of a culturally important area keeps raising eyebrows not only amongst conservation and historical preservation circles but also in civic society, where questions of the true identity of the developers or those ‘really hidden behind them’ are being raised.

Adds this correspondent in closing: Remember, a reputation painstakingly built over long periods, is a balancing act and the abyss, as it is seen here, is precariously close by and easy to fall into.

Watch this space. 


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