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Sinazongwe: The sleeping giant

VIEW of Lake Kariba from Sinazongwe town. PICTURE: JIMMY CHIBUYE

JIMMY CHIBUYE, Sinazongwe
SINAZONGWE is one of the districts in Southern Province that can best be described as a sleeping tourism giant.
Despite claiming a share of Lake Kariba, which Siavonga has seemingly used well as a marketing poster, Sinazongwe seems to still be in its infancy stage of tourism development.
Sinazongwe has a fair share of Lake Kariba that poses a beautiful tourism scenery and islands which contain wildlife yet these areas are still untapped.
The district has also tourism spots like Zongwe Crocodile Farm and lodge, which unfortunately has been closed to the public.
Unfortunately, a lack of proper infrastructure and poor road network seem to be hampering growth of tourism in the area.
Sinazongwe District council secretary Everty Ngandu says the area is a tourism sleeping giant which needs to be awaken with dedicated development.
“There is nothing peculiar about Sinazongwe’s failure to develop its tourism sector and compete with its neighbouring district, Siavonga. It is just the lack of investment in the sector. All we need is serious investment in tourism and we shall unlock the potential,” Mr Ngandu says.
A proper road network, modern lodges and ferries are, according to Mr Ngandu, some of the investments needed to boost tourism in the area.
Located on the north shore of Lake Kariba, Sinazongwe is located on the south-end of Southern Province and shares a border with Zimbabwe.
The district is part of the Zambezi Valley and lies between 300 metres and 900 metres above sea level.
The only tarred road is from Batoka to Maamba but it is also not in perfect condition.
Most tourism sites and lodges near Lake Kariba are hardly reachable due to poor state of the road.
Mr Ngandu says: “We want to develop our tourism so that this sector can also contribute not only to the economic development of the district but the country as a whole.”
He says the council will soon be giving out plots to prospective developers to build uptown and/ or superclass lodges, hotels and other buildings that support tourism.
Mr Ngandu said the local authority will also embark on a serious campaign of marketing the district as a tourist destination.
He hopes the council, working together with the district and provincial administration, will use the forthcoming Southern Province expo to favourably market the district.
Sinazongwe boasts of many lodges but only three befit the tourism standards. These are Makuti Game, Lwaya and Lake View lodges.
Lwaya lodge manager Sam Sinkala says the traffic of tourists both local and international is slow due to various factors but the most notable is the poor road network.
Mr Sinkala believes once the road network is improved, Sinazongwe will be open to tourists and therefore this will awaken the tourism potential of the district.
“We have a good scenery of the Lake Kariba here and a good atmosphere for relaxing but we are not receiving customers as we would love. Our appeal is to Government to work on the roads if this area is to open to tourism,” he says.
Sinazongwe District Commissioner Protaciol Mulenga is optimistic the area will become a tourism giant once the road network is improved and upgraded.
Mr Mulenga says the district boasts of untapped islands and sceneries which can attract tourists both local and foreign.
“We have huge potential to attract tourists. For instance, we have islands with wild animals on them and these can be seen if only we had ferries to take people to those islands. We also believe that once our roads are worked on, everything will be rosy for us just like Siavonga,” he says.
Mr Mulenga believes the provincial expo slated for next year will help harness the tourism potential of the district and market it internationally.

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