The Hidden Gem of Barotse Floodplains

What others are saying: “Brilliant fishing, guiding and hosting within a wilderness experience.” Geoff McIver, August ’14

This is THE place to catch trophy tiger fish and bream in Southern Africa. This is a FISHERY OF INTERNATIONAL STANDARD and whether anglers fish on lure, fly fish or bait, they stand an excellent chance of landing trophy specimens in this baitfish rich system. The Zambezi River here fishes best from May to November although depending on how you fish, there will be specific times within that period that are better than others. The Barotse floodplains are only fished by 2 operations on a permanent basis and like the rest of Western Zambia, if you want to access it quickly, you’d have to do book a private charter. Otherwise, plan for a lengthy drive but either way, the rewards are usually worth the time or money spent.

Barotse Floodplains is perfectly suited to:

FishingBirdingBoat Cruises

What you can find in this region

Unique attractions or experiences in this region include:

Tiger fish

Africa’s premium freshwater game fish and a species that should feature on any angler’s ‘wish-list.’ A trophy fish is 10lbs+ with only a handful of fish over 20lbs caught every year.  Every element of the tigerfish is built to give the angler a spectacular fight…the massive flame red tail generate serious speed and jumping ability while the fearsome teeth and powerful jaws can destroy tackle – they are a privilege to catch!


The largemouth bream species including the nembwe, thinface and humpbacks are all found in good numbers on the Barotse floodplains. While always threatened by the presence of netting, the largest individual of all the above mentioned bream species can be caught on fly and artificial lure in these waters and are a delight to target. Additional sought after bream species include the 3-spot and red-breast bream, the former reaching monstrous sizes in this food rich environment.

Zambezi River

The Zambezi River on the Barotse floodplains is broad and a large catchment for the annual floods. These floods form the habitat for tiny fish to breed which in turn stock this part of the river resulting in serious food source and large fish. The river is generally slow flowing and broad with occasional rocky pinnacles.

Accommodation Ideas in this region

Where we suggest you stay in this region:

Lungwebungu Mobile Camp

Comfortable mobile tent accommodation set on the sandbanks of the Lungwebungu River

Matoya Lodge

Chalet accommodation set amidst the pristine wilderness of the Barotse floodplains

Barotse Floodplains Travel Packages

Some package ideas as to how you can best experience this region

The Best of Barotse

A 5 night fly-in fishing safari on the Barotse Floodplains, Western Zambia

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Kwamashi Floodplain Fishing Safari

A 4 or 5 night tiger fishing safari in the Kwamashi Floodplains, Western Zambia

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Barotse Floodplains Photo Gallery

Photographs from around the Barotse Floodplains region

Routes through the Western Region of Zambia

This is one of the most popular ‘UP AND COMING’ SELF DRIVE ROUTES in Zambia as it adds on seamlessly to trips ending in Katima Mulilo from Namibia OR Chobe via Ngoma border post in Botswana.

The Katima / Sesheke Zambia border post is busy and we recommend getting supplies and fuel in Katima before crossing. We recommend planning 2 nights at Mutemwa Lodge (enjoy a spot of fishing or day trip to the Sioma Falls) but if you are camping, then Kabula Lodge is a good spot. The bridge over the Zambezi at Sioma is your next landmark but if you wish to explore Sioma Ngwezi, fully inclusive safari packages are available through Mutemwa Lodge OR if you are fully self sufficient, you can speak to the DNPW authorities in Sioma and go off the ‘grid.’ There is also a campsite in the Ngonye Falls Community Park and they offer to take people out by boat to see the Falls but if you want the full “beer and G&T moment” in the Falls – best to speak to Mutemwa Lodge.

After leaving the Sioma region behind, you will have the towns of Senanga and Mongu ahead of you. Both are classic African towns with Mongu offering more in terms of an overnight stop with camping at Mutoya (the Mongu option, not Lukulu!) and various local hotels or inns ranging from budget to interesting! Mongu is where you would head across the floodplains to access Kalabo, the main point of entry to Liuwa Plain National Park and Liuwa offers a handful of campsites (booked through African Parks) or the magnificent King Lewanika Lodge. Once you have visited Liuwa, then most people either head back down to Sesheke / Katima OR begin to explore Kafue National Park.

For those wishing to experience the legendary Barotse Floodplains tigerfishing, then you need to continue from Mongu onto the town of Kaoma. Making sure to refuel and carry extra fuel from Mongu, just before Kaoma is the turnoff to the 195km dirt road to Lukulu. This road normally takes about 5 hours and then, by following the dirt road through the Sancta Maria Mission, you will arrive at the Lukulu “Harbour” where the fishing camps like Lungwebungu or Matoya collect their clients. Although there are lesser known roads to explore, the conventional route back to either Mongu or into the Kafue would be to drive back to Kaoma (anther spot to refuel) and head on into the Kafue National Park. See more in this under the SOUTHERN ROUTE.