Lake Bangweulu

When one looks out over Lake Bangweulu, the grey blue waters disappear into the horizon, blending in completely with the colour of the sky. It is difficult to tell just where the horizon is. ‘Bangweulu’ means ‘The Place Where the Water Meets the Sky.’

The Lake is exploited more as a fish source than for its tourist potential. This is unfortunate, as it’s beauty is breath-taking.

There are rumours of developing a tourist resort and having a luxury cruise boat for hire. But for the moment this is an interesting stopover for the intrepid vehicle traveller or backpacker.

The main catches in the Lake are Cychlids (bream, tiger fish, and yellow belly) and catfish. About 57 000 metric tons of fish are harvested from the Lake each year.

Although fish stocks are not in danger, catches are declining and the favoured species are becoming thinner. The fisheries of the Bangweulu are one of the largest in Zambia. This has led to some of the highest population densities around the Lake where commercial fishermen have settled.

Nevertheless the fishing industry is not economically well developed and inadequate controls and marketing facilities threaten both sustainability and profitability of the industry as a whole. Many of the fishermen trade their catches purely on a barter system for essential commodities.

Samfya is the largest town on the Lake, developed in the mid-1900s as a fishing village. You can get basic supplies as well as fresh fish. There is a post office, clinic and adequate fuel supplies.