‘Seeing is believing’

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:03:16 +0000

So far the PF government has had five(5) ministers of tourism namely Hon. Given Lubinda MP, Hon Harry Kalaba MP, Hon Sylvia Masebo MP, Hon Jean Kapata MP and currently Hon Charles Banda MP and if my memory serves me right, none of them have ever been to Kasaba bay to physically appreciate what God has given this country which is going to waste.
When Hon Sylvia Masebo MP served as minister for tourism and was invited to write  introductory remarks in the TOURISM COUNCIL OF ZAMBIA ‘ Destination Zambia’ Magazine of 2013 and 2014 she  wrote and said “ Destination Zambia will no doubt serve to provide just a taste of what we offer to our target and source markets, and in those territories where we remain un discovered beyond our well known icon, the Victoria falls.

She went on and said I remain confident that ‘ Destination Zambia will evolve to offer a complete insight into what awaits you and that it will be a tool that will assist you in making that very correct decision to make Zambia your next holiday destination.

She added and said my vision is to push Zambia’s visibility within the sub region and internationally to become one of the world’s most preferred tourist destination leveraging on Victoria falls, the country’s abundant wildlife resource in our twenty two(22) national game parks, the culture and smiles of Zambian people and the synergy to be achieved from sub regional partnership”. Through out her stay at the ministry, there was little talk of Kasaba bay.

When Hon Jean Kapata MP took over, she also was invited to write an introductory remarks in the same magazine of 2015 she wrote and  said  almost repeating what her predecessor”  said our goal in this particular area is twofold to show the diverse experiences that are available to  tourists, and to open up the tourism sector for Zambians to explore and enjoy the splendor and magnificence of national endowments in wildlife, natural wonders such as the water falls, and the diversified culture of our 73 ethnic groups and continued and said my vision is to push Zambia’s  visibility within the sub region and internationally to become one of the world’s  most preferred tourist destination, leveraging on Victoria falls, the country’s abundant wildlife resource in our 20 national game parks, the 42 water falls across the country, the culture and smiles of Zambian people and the synergy to be achieved from sub regional partnerships” again there was no mention of Kasaba bay as a tourist resort.    Hon Charles Banda MP is only four(4) months in office  but this is no excuse for the minister to be pro active and acknowledge the rare and unique tourism attractions the Northern Tourism Circuit offers.

In this article I want to remind Zambians of what the late President Levy Mwanawasa vision for Kasaba bay was. It was under the leadership of late president Mwanawasa that government came up with a document known as Kasaba bay as ‘ integrated Development Plan(IDP) for the Kasaba bay tourism resort Development project’.

This is an exhaustive document that clearly spells out the guidelines and identified the investment type at Kasaba bay resort and the plan comprised of NSUMBU NATIONAL GAME PARK, and was proposing to create a tourism corridor comprising of Mbala/Mpulungu/Kasaba bay/ Kaputa, and he wanted this to be icon and second tourism city of Zambia after Victoria falls.

The late president seemed to have nurtured this concept and wanted it developed on the model of  Egyptian Sharm El Shaikh leisure resort on the Mediterranean sea shore, which is one of the top tourist destination on the continent. Kasaba bay however if fully developed would surpass Sharm El Shikh, Hawaii in the USA and the Mexico Al Acapulco leisure resort. These are famous for their luxury hotels and beaches and nothing else. Whereas Kasaba bay offers much more natural wonders and dazzling excitements.

That 80 km beach front with some of the best sandy in the world, that  5km peninsula like stretch of land into lake Tanganyika, the Kapisha hot springs, Mwepwe and Chika falls right within the Nsumbu National park, a 300 deep valley Lufubu river cutting across the National park and taking its waters into lake Tanganyika and now the famous SAMORA/KAUNDA conference/heritage site – all these are natural wonders,  yet to be exploited and explored. . There is in Mbala Fort Zombe, though discovered but not yet explored.

This site is the only known indigenous fortress built with dry stone walls in Zambia. The site, high and vast is overwhelming to the visitors. One is tempted to immediately think of transfiguration when on top of this historical master piece of a compound built with dry stone.

Apart from the Iron stone age community that had settled there several hundred years ago, the British Soldiers also used the  fortress during the 2nd world war as evidenced  by the remnants of battle gear like helmets and bullets found there.

The former MMD minister of finance Hon Situmbeko Musokotwane summed up  the unique beauty of Kasaba bay when he told Parliament that the MMD  vision for Kasaba bay was that by 2017/ 2018, Kasaba bay was going to have 4(5) star hotels, shopping malls, sports facilities etc and  then Zambia would be ready to invite the AFRIAN UNION(AU) and  the Commonwealth  countries to hold their high profile summits at Kasaba bay, and he was right because Kasaba bay is uniquely  placed and can compete with any international leisure resort, but only if fully developed.

Malawi with only lake Nyasa, Nkhokota bay, Mockey bay and Mulanje mountain and Nyika National park (Nyika  game park extends up  Muyombe in Zambia,  so it is a shared asset with Zambia) is really  struggling to compete with us in terms of tourists arrivals- “ shame”.

Malawi is busy adding value to the few tourist attraction that they have – so it is not the size of the dog that wins a battle, but the ability of that dog to wrestle.

If we had proper planning, ROVOS train  bringing  tourists to Kasama en route to Dar El Salaam from Durban could be connecting to Kasaba bay by Charter flight. All these are opportunities we are missing. We need a complete overhaul in the tourism industry, and put in place people with the passion for the sector.

I want to salute His Excellency President  Edgar Changwa Lungu on his policy of putting key public officials such  as ministers and permanent secretaries on ‘ performance based contracts’. This is as it should be, because time is long gone, when people were in offices just to wait for their retirement age and get their pension without any thing to show ) SONTA EPO WABOMBA.  Sonta epo wabomba is a pro active policy and should be encouraged.

Those charged with driving our tourism industry should have the passion for tourism.

I have been wondering to myself why those at Zambia Tourism Agency for example can not travel to Mozambique and persuade FRELIMO tycoons to invest at SAMORA/KAUNDA conference site in Nsumbu National park. Samora Machel, the first Mozambique president need to be remembered by his fellow freedom fighters and compatriots as a liberator not only of his country but died  while coming from a meeting to discuss the liberation of SOUTH AFRICA and there is no way of honoring SAMORA than putting up a 5 star hotel at SAMORA/KAUNDA conference and heritage site. NORTHERN WALKING SAFARI, are about to shoot a documentary video on major features of the Northern Tourism Circuit and when this is ready, we shall humbly ask His Excellency President  Edgar  Changwa Lungu to facilitate our travel to Mozambique and market the SAMORA./KAUNDA conference site.

 

THE AUTHOR IS PROPRIETOR OF NORTHERN WALKING SAFARI. EMAIL walkingsafari2015@gmail.com cell; 0961835055.

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