The main source of income for the rural villages near the Victoria Falls is curio selling, most especially the beautiful wood carvings. There are two main areas where these can be purchased, one is the Victoria Falls Craft Village and the other is at Mukuni Village Curios Craft Market.
I have been working with the both craft centres to help them improve their methods of selling curios; unfortunately they had been receiving bad press as they were noted for being too pushy, which can be off putting to a tourist visiting the area for the first time. I can sympathise with them knowing that without a precious sale, which enables them to buy a bag of ground maize, the family may go hungry.
Photo: Mukuni Village Curios
Now the guys from Mukuni Village have now ‘cleaned up their act’ and a trip to either of the markets is a definite must on everyone’s itinerary. The animal carvings which are mostly made in Mukuni, are very popular, using African woods – magongany, iron, and ebony; the worksmanship is of a high standard and the prices very reasonable. Elaborate walking sticks, tribal masks, drums and basketware are also locally made as well as unusual soap stone carvings. The Butterfly Tree has set up two families in business and also supported a sustainable business for a group of widows to produce needlecraft, intricate African beadwork and jewellery.