ZAMBIA is endowed with so many natural resources that would attract tourists from all parts of the world if they were taken good care of.
The problem, however, is that most of these natural resources are situated in areas which are not accessible and many would- be tourists do not know about them except for the local people.
While this has been the case, there are many other places of natural beauty which are just neglected or simply forgotten.
In Luapula Province for instance, there are places like the Ntumba Chushi Falls in Kawambwa District, Mambilima Falls in Mansa District and some water fronts such as the Luapula River and many others that would be appealing places to visit by holiday makers both from within the country and outside the country.
Many times I have been to Luapula Province and I seem to like the area because of the cinematic view of it.
Recently, I was in Mansa where I had gone visiting after some time.
While in Mansa, my nephew and two nieces invited me to go to Samfya for site-seeing and to also know the place.
I had been to Samfya once a couple of years back when the former and late Information Minister Kennedy Sakeni invited me to do some stories in the area, which included Mansa, Samfya and Chilubi Island.
Mr Sakeni had provided a speed boat with a cockswaine to take me around. It was at this time when I saw the beautiful view of Lake Bangweulu when we were ‘sailing’ to Chilubi Island from Samfya.
It was on October 26, 2015, two days after Zambia’s 51st Independence anniversary when I drove to Samfya with my nephew and nieces.
After going round the district, my nephew decided that we go to the beaches around the area to sight-see.
The first place we went to visit was the Kwacha Water Front.
The place looked so good that I felt like staying there the rest of the day.
As time was running out, my nephew suggested that we visit other places. We visited The Marine, Chisanka, Dan Pule’s place and the Lake Bangweulu Council Samfya beach.
Being the last place to be visited, it was suggested that we take one or two beers for the road and my niece bought me Catsle Lite which I took along the shores of the beach where I found myself a place to sit and watch some men, women and children swimming around the shores and boats moving on the lake.
As I was watching the scenes, I saw the Post Boat from a distance on the lake, obviously coming from Chilubi Island.
Next to where I was seated were two men who had just come from swimming. When they saw the Post Boat approaching, they asked some young men who had a speed boat so that they could get closer the Post Boat and take pictures.
The young man asked for K70 to take the men on the lake and I requested that I contribute K20 so that I could also accompany them and, luckily, the men agreed.
It was when we were on the speed boat that one of the men started talking about how Zambia was endowed with a lot of natural resources which would be a money spinners for the country as tourists would be attracted to them, but the problem was that these natural resources were not taken good care of.
Apparently, these two men had come from Western Province to spend their independence holiday in Samfya.
According to one of the men I later came to know as Paul Chisanga, Lake Bangweulu Samfya Council beach was one of the best areas in Zambia, but it had been neglected.
I looked around to see how the place was neglected, but not being familiar with the place, I thought everything looked fine.
Up along the hills, people have constructed lodges, bars and good houses. How neglected was the place? I wondered.
“Even the birds which were only unique to this area are extinct as they have all been taken to Europe where they are now attracting tourists,’’ Mr Chisenga said.
Even the birds which were only unique to this area are extinct as they have all been taken to Europe where they are attracting tourists! I thought this man knew more about tourism and, as an eavesdropper, I wanted to hear more from him.
As if he had seen how much attention I was paying to him when he was saying this, Mr Chisanga explained how the birds which he said were only found along the shores of Samfya water fronts had been taken away to Australia one by one until they were finished.
He said the tourists from Australia were getting that species of the bird purporting that they were going to do some research on them, but never brought them back.
“If you compared water fronts in Zambia to Samfya District Council’s Lake Bangweulu, you will find that this is the best, but it has been neglected. The Samfya District Council has to do something about it,’’ Mr Chisanga said.
It was then that I realised what Mr Chisanga was talking about.
The beaches which were being run by private individuals or companies were well-maintained.
Like the places we had visited earlier, they were elegant with clean environment. Apart from the naturally grown trees, managements at these places have planted lovely shrubs, flowers and lawns to add to the natural beauty of the places.
As the speed boat got back to the beach and we disembarked, we went to sit where we had been before we went to the lake.
My niece ordered more Castle Lite for me and I was sipping the beer while chatting with Mr Chisanga and his colleague.
Then Mr Chisanga observed something – the litter which was around the shores of Samfya council beach.
This litter was as a result of the so many people who had come to the beach on Independence Day anniversary to celebrate with their families two days earlier.
Disposable bottles and canes of beer and soft drinks, empty biscuit packets, empty sachets of jiggies and potato crisps were strewn all over the place.
“Today is Monday. People were celebrating the Independence Day anniversary here on Saturday.
Council workers should have cleared this place and make it clean at about 09:00 hours today since they don’t work on Sundays. In fact this place needs to be cleaned all the time except perhaps on Sundays,’’ observed Mr Chisanga.
His colleague agreed and commented that shores in Siavonga in Southern Province always looked good because the managements there were particular about cleanliness.
“Compared to this water front, the Siavonga water front is not better than this, but it looks elegant because of cleanliness. The district council here has to do something,’’ the man said.
I have been to Kariba water front both in Zambia and Zimbabwe and I tend to agree with these sentiments.
However, the Lake Bangweulu Council Samfya beach is a natural beauty but there is indeed need for Samfya District Council to do more to make the place more attractive.
While it is true that some privately-owned water front beaches look attractive because of the care the owners put in, the Lake Bangweulu Council can improve by doing one or two things there.
For instance, the council cannot fail to buy garden plastic chairs and tables and umbrellas to put up at the place.
If they cannot afford to buy plastic chairs and tables, they can put up wooden benches and tables which I think wouldn’t be so costly.