Walter Nyamukondiwa Kariba Bureau
The Zimbabwe Dream houseboat, a new addition to Lake Kariba’s growing list of luxury boats, is making a 7-day road trip to the resort town from an engineering factory in Harare.
This reaffirms salient signs of a growing market and reputation of Kariba as a tourist destination where visitors spend days ensconced in the vast lake.
Sitting at a staggering 8 metres in width, the boat is travelling at snail’s pace, attracting the attention of onlookers while causing long tails along the Harare-Chirundu Highway.
Builders of the boat, GDI (Pvt) Ltd, issued a warning recently to motorists to be on the lookout for the gigantic vehicle and cargo.
They have ensured that people monitor its progress by sharing a satellite tracking link of the vehicle as it makes its way to Lake Kariba.
“Zimbabwe Dream, sister ship to the African Dream, is reaching her final stages in the factory. She will be leaving Harare for her 360km journey to Kariba, Zimbabwe on Saturday 22nd February. She will be on the road an estimated 7 days.
“Please be advised that travel times for traffic on the Harare/Chirundu Road during this time will be prolonged due to this 8 metre wide abnormal load. Any inconvenience to the public is sincerely regretted,” said GDI on their Facebook page.
The Zimbabwe Dream comes about three years after another luxury boat, the African Dream — was introduced to Lake Kariba.
Tourism businesses in Kariba have welcomed the imminent arrival of the boat saying it dispels the notion that Kariba tourism was on the decline.
Tour operator and wildlife expert Mr Justin Mabhena said there was a lot of investment that was coming to Kariba which points to great potential.
“There is a lot of investment that is happening in Kariba at the moment and the only problem is that people are not seeing the changes that are taking place.
“If you look at the boat and others that have come before it, you can see that outsiders see potential in Kariba which local players are not seeing. New hotels and lodges are being built or spruced up every day which points to growth,” said Mr Mabhena.
He said there was need to remodel marketing initiatives so that Kariba becomes part of other packages.
“Victoria Falls is predominantly an adventure destination but Kariba can also be a place for those who want to relax away from the city life. There is a growing market for that and needs to be thoroughly explored and exploited,” he said.