Thanks to Tawanda Kanhema, you can now take a virtual tour of Victoria Falls, the Great Zimbabwe National Monument and other attractions

By Meilan Solly

Google Street View enables users to explore farflung destinations from the comfort of their own homes. But the platform featuring far more virtual tours of countries in Europe and North America than those on continents such as Africa and Asia, reports NPR’s Chloee Weiner.

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Tawanda Kanhema, as pictured in 2018 at Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls (Courtesy of Casey Curry)

Tawanda Kanhema, a digital strategist and photographer who moved from Zimbabwe to California in 2009, spent the better part of last fall working to correct this imbalance.

As Aloysius Low reports for CNET, the Berkeley resident teamed up with Google and photography company Insta360 to organize a two-week mapping trip of his home country.

Zimbabwe wasn’t on Google Street View until this man volunteered to map it himself

He personally funded all travel and production costs—in total, roughly $5,000—but used a 360 camera loaned by the tech giant.

Thanks to Kanhema’s efforts, Street View now features more than 500 miles of coverage in Zimbabwe. Per CNET, the footage includes snapshots of Victoria Falls, Harare’s main business districts, the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, and an array of other tourist attractions and urban centers.

Kanhema, who grew up in Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare, tells CNET the experience “was like rediscovering the country all over again.”

He adds, “I’m glad to be able to capture a snapshot that will allow us to look back and see where the cities go from here. I get emails from Zimbabweans abroad who want to show their kids the streets they grew up on on Street View and I realize that there are not many ways to preserve those memories and the visual ethnography of a city.”

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