Experiencing Zambia’s Zambezi River in style


The intoxicating smell of wild jasmine fills the air, there’s a slight chill and mist rises from the river, as the sun peeps over the horizon the sky turns from pale grey, to shades of lilac and pink. We are heading downstream, towards the boundary of Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.

A whirring noise indicates my husband has just made his first cast of the day. Fishing for Tiger fish is a seasonal specialty of the Zambezi River and, at least as far as my husband is concerned, is one of the best safari activities of all! Tiger fish are somewhere between a trout and a piranha on the evolutionary scale, and are equipped with large bony jaws and a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth.

Tiger fish are renowned for their speed, agility and strong will to fight – fishing for these fresh water game fish is always a challenge. Prized species such as the coveted Tiger fish and vundu (catfish) make the Lower Zambezi any sport angler’s dream destination. Twenty minutes after his first cast, my husband is reeling in his first catch of the day, a 15.5lbs Tiger, which is followed, a few casts later, by another slightly smaller Tiger, though this one somehow manages to slip over the side on its way from the net to the scale.

Not a keen fisherman myself, I’ve been preoccupied with the scenery. Clouds of queleas fly back to the mainland, from the islands where they’ve been roosting overnight. Black Crakes, Yellow-bill storks and Woolly-Necked storks flit and preen in the shallows. A pair of African Skimmers fly just above the water, their bright orange beaks dipping…

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