Hotels and mainly lodges around the resort town were fully booked as participants were making frantic efforts to get accommodation at different campsites and houseboats with the main host Charara site being fully booked. The place was on Tuesday bustling with life as participants were making final touches for the event that is set to end on Friday.
“Final teams’ entries were at 267 by Tuesday night. We have an impressive foreign turnout representing nine countries among them Mozambique, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Swaziland, Namibia, Norway among others. Zambia has nine teams and South African has 35 teams,” according to a statement released to the media late Tuesday.
The fishing tournament is recognised internationally. Participants will jostle to get the biggest tiger. The tournament was started by farmers in 1961 who took time off to go fishing as a sport.
Residents here are welcoming the event as it will boost tourism arrivals and employment opportunities.
“This event is boosting our confidence as a tourist destination and hope foreigners will enjoy our hospitality in years to come. I wish it was a monthly event as we are seeing more people flocking here. It is good for us,” said Petros Mataka of Nyamhunga high density suburb in the resort town.
Many tourists both locals and foreigners turned their back on Kariba town in April 2001 when a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporter Luckson Kanyurira was brutally abducted at Charara camp and murdered by Zanu (PF) youths who were accommodated by a prominent businessman. His body was left in the open for several hours at Nyamhunga bus terminus.
“We hope the Tiger Fish Tournament will redeem the violence that gripped the town more than a decade ago and re-build our status as a safe destination town,” added a lodge operator who declined to be named.