Lake Tanganyika is home to some of the best freshwater angling to be found anywhere on earth.
More than a dozen species are regularly caught on rod and line. With years of experience at Ndole and basic fishing tackle for hire or purchase, a good catch is virtually unavoidable.
Methods vary greatly depending on conditions and time as well as species sought:
Trolling of lures or spoons is a common and enjoyable method, allowing the fisherperson to enjoy a days fishing while still cruising the lake shore for wildlife.
This method is usually the most productive and more than a dozen species are commonly caught in a day out. This usually involves starting out at the crack of dawn, obtaining bait from local Kapenta fishermen returning after a nights fishing. Often fishing in deep water (30m+). From this depth live release is extremely difficult so we only allowed limited bottom fishing.
While still relatively untouched by the fly fishing community Tanganyika offers unparalleled freshwater fly fishing. Fairly heavy rods and fast sinking line are essential with Perch, Nkupi and Tigerfish most commonly sought.
From either the rocky shores or the comfort of your boat can be extremely exciting as the crystal clear waters allows you to see the fish as they take any lures.
At least 12lb breaking strain is advised with 15lb -20lb more suitable for trolling and bottom fishing.
Deep diving lures are essential with diving plates often producing good fish. Trace is a good idea although not essential.
Light tackle fishing is extremely rewarding for experienced anglers.
Spearfishing is possible for divers with experience and their own equipment, please enquire.
Tanganyika Perch (up to 50kg), Lake Salmon (up to 25kg), Nkupi/Yellowbelly (up to 4kg), Tigerfish, Bream, Lake Trout ,Vundoo, Frontosa, Mbilli and a variety of other fish.
Less common but still occasionally caught are the rare Golden perch and the giant Goliath tiger (up to 30kg).
While Ndole Bay Lodge encourages catch and release, many of the fish are exceptional eating and we can easily prepare your day’s catch for dinner.
Please contact us if you would like more information on fishing in Lake Tanganyika
(ZNFC) is held on Lake Tanganyika in March every year and attracts over 100 fishermen from throughout Africa. The ZNFC is the most prestigious fishing competition in Zambia.
Held over 6 days the competition includes hyperlight, light as well as heavy tackle classes. There are strict line restrictions and rules.
It consists of 3 spearate competitions, the 1st day is hyperlight, all competitors using 1KG breaking strain line, day 2 and 3 is the ultralight with 2KG line and days 4,5,6 are the national with 6KG line.
2017 had a total of 26 teams fishing.
With crystal clear waters and amazing underwater topography Tanganyika is an underwater paradise.
Unlock the secrets of the Tanganyika Cichlids or glimpse the world’s only fully aquatic cobra – Storm’s water cobra (endemic).
Ndole Bay Lodge is the first and only fully registered dive facility in Zambia. A PADI IRA resort means we strictly adhere to international diving standards and practices for all our diving and dive training activities.
Using the latest Aqualung equipment, Suunto dive computers and Bauer delivered air, your safety and comfort is ensured.
The resident instructor is a fully qualified PADI professional, trained in Emergency First Response with extensive local diving knowledge.
Coupled with experience in aquatic ecology (BSc, JCU) your experience is guaranteed to be a safe and educational one.
Ndole Bay seeks to provide an experience suited to your personal needs and tailored to your experience.
We cater to new divers, divers wanting to simply ‘go for a dive’ through to continued education courses.
With a biologically unique habitat at your doorstep, and the topography of the Rift Valley all around, diving in Lake Tanganyika provides something new and exciting for everyone, from adventure seekers to the simply curious.
Please enquire whether there are any specials available if you intend on diving as we provide specific dive and accommodation packages.
All dive gear is available for hire.
What you can expect from a dive
Lake Tanganyika is extremely tropical and blessed with clear water.
Visibility averages at around 15m although at some sites it rarely goes below 20m. Temperature is in the late 20’s (C).
The steep shorelines mean most dives take place close to the shore and are along steeply sloping bottoms, depth at some sites is only limited by recreational limits.
Rocky headlands, interspersed with beaches provide diverse habitats for a range of fish life. Sandy bottoms provide a playing field for the unique ‘shell dwellers’ of Tanganyika where the bottom is covered with empty shells half a meter deep as far as you can swim.
The isolated steep rocky coastline is the dwelling place of the famed nile perch. Excellent visibility, large underwater outcrops and vertical dropoffs make these sites the most spectacular and something to remember.
For the more adventurous there are some small wrecks scattered as well as a famous world war 1 wreck in the Southern tip of the lake.
Experience a unique night dive on Tanganyika in the Kapenta season. Ascend from your dive under the bright lights of a Kapenta fishing rig amid millions of tiny fish as they congregate at the light source.
An opportunity to learn more: All diving or snorkelling activities can be upgraded to include a Tropical Fish Experience.
Gain some insight to the fascinating world of Tanganyika’s famous Cichlids with a qualified marine biologist and take a tour of a live fish export facility.
From beginners to pros…. Discover Scuba Diving at Ndole Bay Lodge, the most unique dive school in the world.
A half day course designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and basic skills to discover the underwater world. You will be closely accompanied by your instructor at all times.
Nothing compares with the weightlessness of breathing underwater.
Begins with a pool orientation session to get used to the equipment and then takes you on a shallow dive in the Lake.
No dive experience is necessary, just watch the short video and complete a DSD brochure.
See PADI Discover SCUBA Diving for more details.
NOTE: We cannot take responsibility for a subsequent ADDICTION TO DIVING!
This is your first step to becoming a real diver with the freedom to go diving whenever you please.
The course usually consists of 4 days of training, mixing knowledge development, pool training and open water training.
It results in a PADI Open Water Diver Certification. If time is a restriction we can accommodate you by only completing part of the course which can be deferred to a later date and place, or alternatively we can provide you with the knowledge development section for you to complete before your arrival at Ndole Bay.
See PADI Open Water Dive Course for more details.
A range of dives, that concentrates on honing particular skills.
Each component can be earned towards the Adventure Diver Rating (3 adventure dives) or towards becoming an Advanced Open Water Diver (5 adventure dives).
You Choose which skills you would like to improve on from the list provided.
With prior arrangement we can easily accommodate divers who would like to further their education and learn skills where other divers and divers in distress become a primary focus of training. Feel free to contact us for any further information regarding dive training, equipment or dive sites.
As a PADI IRA resort Ndole Bay Lodge is allowed to offer prospective students the choice to complete all theory online through the PADI website.
This unique tool allows students of OPEN Water courses and above to register online and complete all the theory before you arrive at Ndole Bay.
This means once you are at Lake Tanganyika you can concentrate on getting wet and not worry about all the classroom work while on the beach. This option also means that the course can be completed in 3 days at Ndole bay instead of the full 5 days required to complete practical and theory.
The reef right in front of Ndole bay has been protected for years and offers some of the best ssnorkeling on the lake.
Snorkel equipment is free to use for full-board guests and the best time for snorkeling is mid-morning when the water is clear and the sun is out. Most cichlids tend to display their colours best in full sunlight.
Adventure snorkel trips are a lot of fun and usually done in our custom built dhow with plenty of shade and a ladder for easy access to the water.
We have 3 or 4 sites within 30 minutes of the Lodge that all offer something different in terms of habitat and fish life.
Due to the nature and access of Nsumbu National Park, Ndole Bay does not offer Game drives. All our game viewing is done by boat or on foot, or a combination of both.
With direct access to Nsumbu National Park, Ndole Bay offers:
Game viewing boat trips: The best boat cruises for wildlife are through the protected bays around Kasaba. The bay is filled with hippo pods, basking crocodiles, herds of Puku, bushbuck and blue duiker. Late afternoons also provide a good chance of viewing elephant coming down to the water’s edge to drink. Return to Ndole Bay into a gorgeous sunset.
All our walks are accompanied by an armed ranger for safety. We offer a variety of walks, all of which start and end with a boat trip from Ndole Bay. All walks are seasonal.
Kampasa Forest: is an isolated stand of Mushito forest (remnant rainforest like vegetation). This is a stunning walk along the edge of a wetland and vast plain deep in the National Park. The walk is about 3 hours in length and offers the widest variety of habitat and wildlife with excellent birding along the way. Puku, bushbuck, warthogs, duiker, baboons, hippo, crocodiles are commonly seen and elephant and buffalo occasionally seen.
Kala Bay and sand dune: This walk is along the edge of an Itigi forest full of small antelope. The Kala sand dunes offer a 360 panorama of the sheltered bay and over a long beach vista on the other side as well as Tanzania in the distance. This area is a favorite for elephants and offers the best chance of seeing one of the breeding herds that live here.
Read Our Blog post about this tour:
Balancing Stones Walk: the shoreline near Nuundo head is beautifully strewn with granite boulders and white sand coves. We usually include a visit to the balancing boulders of Nuundo, a place of spiritual significance to the local Tabwa people, late in the year this walk often comes across baby crocodiles as they are emerging from their sandy nests.
Muzinga small Hidden Waterfall: there is a small seasonal waterfall near Nsumbu that offers a pleasant walk along a beach an under a canopy of fig trees. Muzinga falls only flows until about mid-September but even in the dry there is a pool of water at the foot of the falls that provides a protected drinking spot for wildlife.
Tondwa Swamps and Floodplains: Tondwa is teeming with antelope and birdlife and is a beautiful destination. Only accessible during the dry season it is well worth the trip. Ndole Bay can organise camping trips and canoe trips in the wetlands. It is about a 2 hour drive from Ndole Bay to the edge of Tondwa floodplain, another 2 hours through the wildlife area brings you to Lake Kako, a small wetland full of Sitatunga and hippo and a mind-blowing setting amongst hills and lush forest.
Much of the park is covered by combretum thicket, while the lake shore is littered with candelabra trees and strangler figs. There is also an isolated rainforest that is accessible by foot in the dry season.
Crocodile, Hippopotamus, Bushbuck, Warthog, Puku, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Eland, Hartebeest, Buffalo, Zebra, Spotted Hyena, Side-Striped Jackal, Serval, Impala, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Elephant, Lion (occasionally), Leopard (occasionally), Blue Duiker (rare), Sitatunga (rare).
Being located in central Africa means that birding here is extremely rewarding, with migrants from both east and southern Africa present.
Notable birdlife seen: Flamingo, African Skimmer, Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern, Storks, Ducks, Herons, Grey-Headed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, White-Winged Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Fish Eagle, Palmnut Vulture (occasionally), Pel’s Fishing Owl (occasionally).
A popular activity for our guests is the sunset cruise, departing at 4:30pm and ending as the sun sets (approx 1.5 hours). The boat used is normally our wooden dhow- L.V Sokonto, but depends on client numbers.
There are 2 routes:
Sunset Drinks Cruise
This trip is north of Ndole Bay alongside pebble fishing villages. You may see some wooden dhows being made is this is where the boat builders reside and if the weather permits you will see the golden sun setting behind the mountains.
Nsumbu Island and Fish Cages Cruise
This cruise travels east towards the town of Nsumbu and takes you past Mpende Fisheries bream cages and around Nsumbu Island, an old slaving island. You may also see some hippos in the Nsumbu Bay area. This cruise can be done in the day or as our alternate route for the sunset cruise.
This is conducted from Munshi Village north of the lodge.
It is about a 15 minute boat ride then a 30 minute walk to reach the old Italian Aid funded project from back in 1986.
The walk takes you to the isolated pebble village of Munshi where fishermen live and boat builders ply their trades, you will then walk through a few corn fields and mango trees then out onto dry open swamp area leading to the plant. The water spurts out at 86 degrees Celsius.
The plant never actually functioned and is more of a historical landmark these days although ZESCO may plan to upgrade it at some point in the future.
Read the blog about this tour here:
Watersports are conducted off the deck and offers high speed adrenaline for the adventurous.
We offer skiing, wakeboarding and tubing. We can help you learn if its your first try. Generally people find skiing much easier than wakeboarding when learning.
We also have kayaks available for hire (free for full board clients) and you can kayak around the shores of Ndole and neighboring villages for a more relaxed adventure.
You can also hire snorkel masks from the office (free for full board clients). The rock reefs in front of the deck are perfect for shallow snorkeling and full of many different types of Cichlids. Look out for the built up sand bowls, these are male fish nests of the Furcifer Cichlid used to attract a mate.
The local people of the Ndole Bay area are from the Tabwa tribe. There are several sites of significance to these peoples which can be visited.
The balancing stones of Nundo Point are situated in the National Park and are the site of ceremonies involving sacrifice to the God Nundo. This ceremony is extremely traditional and usually takes place in the first week of June but has hardly ever been observed by outsiders. The Nundo ceremony is performed to ask the Gods for a good fishing season for Kapenta and takes place before any people are allowed to set up temporary fishing camps on the nearby Chisanse beach.
Further east the lands are those of the Lungu people who are traditionally the people of the lake. Yendwe valley and mount Kapembwa (spirit of the lake) fall in their area. Kapembwa has religious significance to the local population.Visits to Kapembwa Village and Mount Kapembwa can be arranged.
Ndole Bay Lodge is situated near Ndole village which has been at this site for almost 100 years. The Lodge enjoys a good relationship with the village and tours to observe this traditional way of Zambian life are easily arranged. Thevillage school and Ndole Bay Lodge are working together to develop funding and awareness through our community shop. Locally produced artefacts, hammocks and donations are available through our shop.
Fishing is the way of life for almost everyone along the shores of the lake and fishing at night for Kapenta (Sardine like fish) is a fascinating insight to local’s lives. We easily organise a night time lake trip to observe how this staple of Zambia is caught.
Lake Tanganyika offers a myriad of experiences, sites and activities.
For the ultimate unique adventure, experience one of our Lake Discovery Safaris.
In the true spirit of Africa we have designed a large wooden dhow to plough the waters of Zambia’s Tanganyika. The L.V. Sokonto is built entirely from natural materials and maintains the mystic that is part of this remote region. At 9.5 metres in length and a capacity to carry up to 10 people in comfort your trip will be the experience of a lifetime. The boat has been fitted with a dive deck and ladder to ensure easy and safe access to the water, a large shaded wooden deck for relaxing, all safety equipment and a friendly crew.
All our extended Lake Safaris are tailored to specific inquiries.
Itineraries are built on request depending on interest but highlights to consider on extended Lake Safaris are Nsumbu National Park, Kalambo falls, remote Cape Chaitika for diving.
We can also organise multi day trips into Tanzanian waters. This is most especially of interest to fish enthusiasts with many islands with deep drop-offs, reefs and amazing Cichlid life.
Any trips can be camping or a combination of camping and lodge accommodation.
The Lufubu River forms the eastern boundary of the National Park and is an amazing unknown river.
The upper reaches of the river are only accessible by hiking in over several days but a highly rewarding experience with waterfalls, islands and rapids.
Light-tackle fishing is also excellent with the Lufubu River having its own unique assortment of fish, including the famous Goliath Tigerfish.
Ndole Bay Lodge organises a guide, food, and if necessary camping equipment. A high level of fitness is required but it provides a rich reward for those willing to venture there
More than 100 years later, that description of Lake Tanganyika still holds true. Africa’s most magnificent stretch of water, crystal clear, calm, warm, mysterious and very, very deep.