Although Lake Tanganyika is of great importance to Zambia, only a small tip of the lake is actually within its borders. This small tip is enough to make it a Zambian adventure holiday destination built around fishing and water based activities. The lake serves a greater purpose too – it provides a real port to an otherwise landlocked country, providing a key link to Tanzania and Burundi. The result is that this part of Zambia has a very distinctive feel about it, a kind of tropical, exotic Central African feel if there is such a thing!
Geographically the lake is of great interest to scientists since it is the deepest of Central Africa’s rift valley lakes with its deepest point about 1,470m. It is 34,000km2 with tropical surface waters with an average 26 degrees Celsius. The area of specific interest for researchers is the colder water far below the penetration of natural light and the even deeper water that is deprived of oxygen.
Fishing is the main activity to be found here – over 450 different species have been found in the lake! Lake Tanganyika is renowned for the sheer variety of fish that can be caught here. Anglers come here in search of the goliath tiger fish, nkupi and Nile perch and anglers will be glad to know that a single visit can result in catching a dozen different fish species. The best time to fish here is between November and March and people come to fish by rod and line with fly fishing becoming more popular. The annual fishing competition held in March is also a great attraction where you will be warmly welcomed.
Water based activities include snorkelling and diving due to the lakes large number of magnificently coloured fish found in quite shallow waters. Visibility is known to vary but it is known to be as good as 10-20m in some areas. A series of cliffs and drop offs between Sumbu and Mpulungu are well known by divers and prove very popular.
Part and parcel of water sports are the risks, many of which can be avoided. The Tanganyika water cobra which can grow up to 2m is venomous but non aggressive. Many visitors fear crocodiles and hippos but the rocky shores, clear water and lack of hiding cover discourage these from the lake although they are not unseen. They are more commonly encountered near the mouths of rivers and in the quieter parts of the Sumbu National Park. Crocodiles and hippos are known but localised. There is also the possibility of Bilharzia but there is much doubt about its existence here. Following such information some visitors may not step foot in the sparkling waters but exploration of authentic natural environments does not come with buttons to control it! The reality is people swim, fish and explore Lake Tanganyika on a daily basis and come to no harm. The trick is to ask your guides, lodge owners and the locals who know the area well.
There is a growing number of lake side lodges dotting the shoreline but what is attractive is that they still ‘dot’ the shoreline not take it over. Visits here are still very authentic, perfect for the traveller with an eye for the real thing and a mind for exploration. You will get comfort and luxury here but you can’t control the nature that surrounds you and that is the beauty of it.
Note: If you wish to publish this article on your website, blog, etc. you can as long as the article remains in its full entirety; including the links and the author resource box.