Lying on the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Northern Province of Zambia, Nsumbu National Nark covers an area of just over 2,000 square kilometres encompassing 100 kilometres of some of the most pristine shores of this vast lake.
Its beauty ranges from sandy beaches, vertical cliffs, rocky coves and natural bays to the rugged hills and deep valleys of the interior.
The Lufubu River which winds its way through a valley flanked by 300-meter escarpments on either side. The park is dissected from west to east by the sizeable and perennial Lufubu River, which also demarcates the eastern boundary of the park up to the river’s discharge into Lake Tanganyika.
Nkamba and Chisala Rivers are ephemeral and smaller than the Lufubu, draining Tondwa Swamp into Nkamba and Sumbu Bays respectively, the former through an attractive valley with abundant wildlife in relations to other parts of the park. Much of the park is covered by itigi forest.
This little-visited park is very rewarding scenically. The park was subject to heavy poaching in the 1980s and 90s, but wildlife densities are improving.
Aside from wildlife viewing and bird watching, several lake activities are also available, including fishing, sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving. The park is, in fact, a great base for a broader range of activities than most parks – these include village visits, rainforest walks and waterfall trips.
The park is not a prime, wildlife-viewing destination, but could more accurately be described as a wilderness destination with wildlife. Having said that, animal numbers are on the increase.
The lake is home to good numbers of hippo and crocodile. Elephant and buffalo often come to the lake to drink, and a variety of antelope species can be seen on the drives. Lion and hyena are shy but can be heard (and sometimes seen) at night.
The park covers a small part of Lake Tanganyika, one of Africa’s most scenic rift valley lakes. Sandy beaches, rocky coves and natural bays follow the 100km/60mi shoreline. Inland are grassy hills interrupted by the picturesque Lufubu River in a valley flanked by escarpments on either side.
Nsumbu receives few visitors, so unlike other Zambian parks, it never feels crowded. The Dry season (May to October) is the prime time for wildlife watching.
This is when the bush is thin on the ground due to the lack of rain, making animals easier to spot, and it’s a sure bet they’ll stick close to the remaining sources of water. The wetter months are best avoided unless you enjoy continual heat and damp.
Where to stay
Ndole Bay Lodge, Lake Tanganyika Zambia
The best accommodation safari lodge on Lake Tanganyika in Zambia offering exceptional fishing, SCUBA Diving, Snorkelling, Cruises and Walks in Nsumbu National Park, Water Sports and Cultural experiences.
Nestled among lush tropical vegetation opening onto its own exclusive beach, Ndole Bay Lodge offers visitors a singular African experience on the shores of a unique lake.
From deluxe beach front suites through to a gorgeous shaded campsite, Ndole Bay caters to all budgets.
World class angling, adventure safaris, sunset dhow cruises, kayaks, walks, village and cultural visits, and Zambia’s only SCUBA diving and snorkelling destination, this is a wonderfully unique playground in the middle of Africa.
The shoreline of Nsumbu National Park offers a haven to wildlife, while the crystal clear blue waters teem with an unparalleled diversity of life. Ndole Bay is your gateway to one of the last true wilderness areas in Africa.