KITFT 2013This year’s edition of the Kariba Invitational Tiger Fishing Tournament coincides with World Tourism Day, making it a double for Zimbabwe, which is still basking in the success of hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly. The Kariba Tiger Fishing Tournament is the world’s biggest fresh water fishing tournament and draws the world’s best and most discerning fishermen from as far afield as Scotland and the United States of America.

Closer to home it draws fishermen from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Mauritius, among other countries.

The biggest tiger fish caught in Kariba Dam since the tournament started about 50 years ago was a 16kg monster caught in 1962 while the biggest tiger fish caught in the world was a 20kg monster caught in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was aptly named the Goliath.

Catching the tiger fish — named after the predatory land mammal, the tiger — is no mean business, it takes about 10 minutes on average to pluck the fish out of the water.

Upon being caught on the line, the tiger which has ferocious teeth that can easily cut off a human being’s finger, makes darting runs with intermittent leaps and bounces until it eventually surrenders and is pulled belly up into the boat.

Tiger fishing in Kariba

Tiger fishing in Kariba

All in all, more than 1 000 people comprising fishermen, support staff and journalists are expected to converge on Kariba for the world’s biggest fresh water fishing extravaganza.

On September 26 all roads lead to Binga, the southernmost part of Kariba Dam, to celebrate World Tourism Day at the hot springs before the tourism family moves to Charara Camp, where the world’s best anglers battle it out to catch Africa’s most elusive, vicious and fastest predatory fish – the tiger – until October 4.

The tiger fish is striped like the land mammal and does not feed on a stationary target. Tournament organizers have banned charming and pre-tournament spying in the spirit of fairness and competitiveness, in a bid to avert giving advantage to local anglers.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi has made it clear that the tiger tournament be accorded its befitting status as one of the country’s prime tourism events, that should be supported by all and sundry.

Fast facts: KITFT 2013
Dates 2nd – 4th October 2013
 Biggest Tigerfish caught in Lake Kariba 16 kilograms, in 1962
 2012’s winning team CHARTER X AFRICOM with 151.165 points
2012’s individual winner PERRIE PRINSLOO, Number of fish 32, Total weight 73.6

“That it is coinciding with World Tourism Day is an added advantage. We should use this tournament to leverage our position as an attractive tourist attraction.

“The organizers of the fishing tournament have my support 100 percent and going forward, we need to make it one of tourism’s pivots, around which we can market Kariba as a tourist destination.

“We will start with celebrating the World Tourism Day in Binga, which is the southern part of the Kariba Dam, then move in to join the fishermen in Kariba. It is going to be yet another long week of tourism for Zimbabwe and we are proud that it comes after we successfully hosted UNWTO General Assembly,” says Minister Mzembi.

Winners of the tournament stand to walk away with a variety of prizes such as vehicles and floating trophies.

The tournament has run annually for 51 years without fail, thanks to the determination of the organizers. It is indeed tiger time again.

KITFT 2013

From: allafrica.com

Date: 20 September 2013