Poor marketing scuttles Chatenta’s rich heritage


Chatenta hot spring in Siavonga, Zambia

from SNIKE MZULAH in Siavonga, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
SIAVONGA, (CAJ News) – SIAVONGA, the southern town of Zambia is synonymous with the world-famous attractions such as the Kariba Dam, Lake Kariba and the Zambezi River.

However, in the region lies a hidden gem – the Chatenta Hot Spring – which has the potential to boost the tourism sector if properly exploited like the above-mentioned wonders .

The hot spring is believed to be the only source of healing water in the world.

Mystery surrounds Chatenta.

Beautiful, attractive and surrounded by shiny stones, it is believed to be teeming with spirits.

There is belief that the water in this hot spring can heal skin diseases, sexually-transmitted illnesses and malaria among others.

Asian nationals, mainly Chinese, Indians and Lebanese sometimes visit Chatenta Hot spring to get the water.

Apart from its said health benefits, the water produces white substances which are used to make salt.

This hot spring is found in Nanyanga ward, only an hour’s drive from Siavonga township.

The Tonga-speaking people discovered the hot spring and have for a long time treated it as sacred.

“Chatenta Hot spring is a local wonder physical feature because the water found in this hot spring is ‘holy’,” Leopard Simwiinde, the area councilor, said.

He mentioned that the place where the hot spring is situated is a shrine area related to ancestral spirits.

Simwiinde appealed to the government to exploit hot springs like Chatenta so that the local people can benefit and transform their lives through tourism.

“We need also to find a way of fencing the hot spring and just leave a gate so that whoever comes to see it they pay some money which can be used to help and support vulnerable people in our communities,” he proposed.

“It is sad that we have not taken it upon ourselves to market this natural wonder. We need the Ministry of Tourism and Art, through Zambia Tourism Agency, to help us market the hot spring,” Simwiinde appealed.

He added that apart from the hot spring, there are sites such as the Nankwilimba Caves, which are rarely visited by tourists due to lack of publicity and difficult accessibility due to bad roads.

“Tourism has potential to contribute much more to the district’s economy if necessary support infrastructure is put in place to attract more investors into the industry and tourist attractions and facilities are effectively advertised locally and abroad,” Mwiinde observed.

Phanwell Simamba, an historian and environmentalist, believes Chatenta can also be used as a water resource for energy as well as for recreation or tourism.

“Siavonga is rich in natural, environmental, cultural and heritage resources. However, full optimisation of these resources to the benefit of the local communities that host them remains a challenge,” he said.

The historian observed that the local authority in Siavonga had failed to sustainably exploit this heritage and natural resource.

“This hot spring has remained underdeveloped and underutilized. As such, it has failed to significantly contribute to the well-being of the community members in Bbakasa and the district at large,” Simamba said.

“If we are serious about expanding the tourism sector, then development of the Chatenta Hot springs is imperative,” the historian said.

“We should not only be seen to speak about finding more sustainable and environmentally friendly forex generating alternatives, we should be seen to take full advantage of developing the economic potential of sites like the Chatenta Hot Spring.”

Darius Mulunda, the area Member of Parliament, said the government was committed to marketing all tourism attractions in the district.

“I propose that we commercialise and develop this hot spring into a community-based tourism resort as an ideal local economic development strategy,” he said.

Mulunda said the government was also committed to revitalising roads that lead to tourism resorts in the area.

“We are doing this so that we can market our tourism attractions and put Siavonga on the map,” the legislator said.

– CAJ News










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