Africa - Fishing In Western Zambia

Africa - Fishing In Western Zambia

From: Val LaGinestra
To: "''"
Date sent: Fri, 13 Jun 1997

My partner and I are travelling into Western Zambia towards the border of Angola and Zaire [Congo]. We will be downloading regularly via the internet: photos diary notes etc. We hope to fish for tiger fish and perhaps get a WR.

Would you be interested in having our updates forwarded to your site as well??

Our trip is sponsored, so any interest from companies such as yourself are helpful to us.


alt email

In September/October 1997 Val and Geoff will be traveling into Western Zambia and the upper reaches of the Zambezi River.

From Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, they will travel by 6 wheel drive vehicle to Mongu along the banks of the Zambezi River. This journey will take them into the great floodplain of Barotseland which in the wet season extends some 100 km from the central river course.

They will be fishing the upper Zambezi River from this point, extending upstream towards the north western borders of Zambia with Angola. Their main quarry will be the ferocious tiger fish, the giant of the piranha family These fish can bite through a braided wire trace! They are considered to be the hardest fighting of all fresh water fish. Unusually they will primarily be using fly tackle and it is their serious hope to secure at least one world tackle record on fly fishing gear. They will be assisted by local professional guides and are confident of outstanding fishing.

Date sent: Thu, 02 Oct 1997
From: Lloyd Bayley
Subject: First Contact with Zambia!



Transmission follows...

Looks like we have a sat phone after all but will advise when we know further..

Arrived at Tiger Camp after driving through bushfires at approx 9pm. We have been fishing for the last two days but no avail as yet, however, Geoff caught a 6.4kg tiger trolling on Monday. Is quite windy, temperature approximately 33 /c..

The clash of the two cultures if quite amazing, we have Lozi people polling along the river in their canoes while I'm typing this to you on the net. This part of Zambia is very beautiful, but looks incredibly like the Western NSW district, lots of flat land and scrubby bush. We have come across a few hippos and crocs while we have been fishing but as yet no fatalities!..

Geoff is attempting to learn to pole on a Makoro over the next few days so it should make interesting video, as these 'canoes' are 20 feet long by 18 inches wide..

Whole families travel up and down the river in them, their balance is superb.. There is teeming birdlife, with approximately 200 species of bird along the banks. We have some excellent photos of the bee eaters and their nests in the banks..

------ End Of Transmission ------

Date sent: Tue, 07 Oct 1997
From: Lloyd Bayley
Subject: They're Still With Us!



We've just spent the last week at Tiger Camp, a fishing camp 60 klms north of Mongu in Barotseland. The camp is owned and operated by Bernie & Adrienne Esterhuyse, staffed with three fishing skippers and 10 local staff. The camp has been operating since 1993 and during this time has had many world record fish have caught here, mainly tiger. Last season they has a 8.9 tiger caught with 'silver spoons'! Geoff yesterday tied his first fly, then proceeded to catch a 3.3 kg tiger, two firsts in a day. There are 24 species of bream in the river..

The camp itself has 6 tents with a communal dining/bar area. Each tent is very comfortable, with ensuite bathrooms almost 'al fresco'. The land was 'purchased' from the King of Barotseland, (the Latunga - which means The Land) an Oxford educated lawyer who has returned to Barotseland to rule after the death of his father, if he hadn't returned he would have been killed..

The King lives on the floodplain in a traditional African village and usually when the river floods he then moves with much ceremony to higher ground. There he lives in a very westernised, colonial looking building, for the wet season. The last time he 'migrated' was four years ago..

The Barotseland agreement was signed by Queen Victoria and following independence it was thought Zambia would have taken over the payments promised by the Queen..

Tiger camp are very aware of not wanting to interfere with the village people. They employ local people, and use local building products. Tiger Camp has just got its licence from the game board for mobile safaris in the Liuwa Plains National Park, which is 20 klms west of Tiger Camp. It is totally undeveloped, no roads, no campsites.....the claim to fame of that area is the wildebeest migration, some say on a scale with the Serengeti, and its tree climbing lions. Because of its proximity with the Angolan Border there are no elephant, rhino or giraffe due to poaching. The animals that are left are said to be larger than life, the zebra are 'huge'. The game park is only an hour from Tiger Camp. The mobile safaris are very exclusive, with only 6 - 8 people per safari. They use closed in vehicles, as the tree climbing lions have been known to chase vehicles. Locals, again will be hired to assist during these safaris.. There is no game on the eastern side of the Zambezi, purported to be from the 1970's when game licenses were given out for free and the area was hunted out. There is no hope of regeneration due to the population on the eastern side of the river..

Berny and Adrienne were the first whites to come into the western province to set up a camp. Adrienne says the locals think they crazy when they see Berny and guests throw fish back into the river (The camp is tag and release). During the first year, a rumour went through the surrounding villages whereupon it was said that Berny and Adrienne had taught Tiger Fish to find diamonds - the locals saw the Tiger Camp tags and believed this was some sort of diamond tracking method. They have also been questioned about the bungee jumping at Victoria Falls - the local people could not believe that people actually leap off a bridge with a piece of elastic tied to their ankles. You can imagine how difficult it would be to explain bungee jumping for the sheer pleasure of it!

The area where the camp is built was a very big village called Ingulwana.. About 15 years ago 8 women were taken by a crocodile in a short period of time. Because if this the locals believed the area became bewitched and abandoned the whole area and moved inland. The croc, supposedly was shot, however Berny believes the croc still lives up the river, and is 16 feet long and approximately 100 years old. There aren't as many crocs in this part of the river as there are downstream, again due to poaching, however the locals don't take any chances. They travel in their mekoro boats with a dog up the front, so that if a croc attacks the mekoro they throw the dog into the water as a decoy to try to get themselves away from the croc. The locals build reed enclosures to enable them to wash and clean in the river. The soil is very hard on the locals, they can only grow maize and cassava root.

Best wishes from Val & Geoff

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