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Open Africa

North Barotse Trails


Attractions

Nayuma Museum
Nayuma Museum is a non-governmental community institution serving the people of Western Province of Zambia. It is an imp...


Features

   Accommodation

Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Senanga Sunset Lodge
Senanga Sunset Lodge is a guesthouse in Senanga that offers affordable accommodation in fifteen bedrooms. All rooms are...

Mundi Guesthouse
Mundi Guesthouse offers accommodation in nine en-suite double rooms all equipped with satellite television. Mundi as a...

Nalumba Lodges
Nalumba Lodges operate a chain of three lodges in Mongu, previously owned by Cross Roads. Nalumba Lodges offers accommo...

Cheers Lodge and Campsites
Cheers Lodge offers accommodation in air-conditioned rooms. Guests can relax in the cocktail lounge or enjoy local dishe...

Yeta Motel
Yeta Motel is situated along Independance Avenue in the heart of Mongu. Facilities: Full DSTV; Air-conditioner; Ho...

Majesty's Lodge
Majesty Lodge offers accommodation with bar facilities.

Mandanga Guesthouse
Mandanga Guesthouse offers both catered and self-catering accommodation. There is a bar on the premises where guests can...

Country Lodge
This lodge offers accommodation in state of the art self-contained executive rooms with air-conditioning and wireless in...

Greenrite Lodge
An accommodation facility with four bedrooms. They can accommodate six guests per night. Three of the rooms are self-con...

Mambumbwe Lodge
Mambumbwe Lodge is situated in a typical African village environment. Accommodation consists of four bedrooms of which t...

Mongu Lodge
Mongu Lodge is a government lodge under the Ministry of Works and Supply, managed by the Hostels Board of management. It...

Moto Moto Villa Guesthouse
Moto Moto Villa Guesthouse offers accommodation in self-contained rooms. They can accommodate up to 18 guests per night....

Mwanambinyi Motel
Mwanambinyi Motel offers accommodation in 17 rooms. Nine of these rooms are suitable for self-catering. All rooms have t...

Mwandamena Lodge
Mwandamena Lodge started out with only three rooms, but now offers accommodation in 14 self-contained bedrooms with hot...

Namboma Guesthouse
Namboma Guesthouse offers affordable accommodation to travellers. Accommodation is offered in 13 bedrooms with a sp...

Raah Guesthouse
Raah Guesthouse offers accommodation in 15 rooms of which eight are self-contained. Meals can be served on request.

Senanga Safari Lodge
An accommodation facility with a restaurant and bar on the premises. Conference facilities are also available.  Act...

Tungi Guesthouse
Tungi Guesthouse offers accommodation with bar facilities. They serve both alcoholic- and non-alcoholic beverages, as we...

Uniting Guesthouse
Uniting Guesthouse offers simple accommodation next to the church. The family room provides en-suite ablution facilities...

Zamzumite Venture
Zamzumite Venture started as a sole managed business in 2007 by founder Mwansa Kaoma, who later realized the power of pa...

Ngulu Hotel
Facilities: Accommodation; Restaurant; Tours can be arranged; Conference facilities; and Events such as weddings...

Zango Guesthouse
Zango Guesthouse offers accommodation in 11 bedrooms. Eight of these rooms are available as self-catering with DSTV. The...

FLIPO Guesthouse
FLIPO Guesthouse offers accommodation in ten double en-suite rooms and ten single rooms.

Katoyana Campsite - African Parks
Liuwa Plain National Park is governed and jointly managed by African Parks (Zambia), in partnership with DNPW and the Ba...

Lyangu Campsite - African Parks
Liuwa Plain National Park is governed and jointly managed by African Parks (Zambia), in partnership with DNPW and the Ba...

Kwale Campsite - African Parks
Liuwa Plain National Park is governed and jointly managed by African Parks (Zambia), in partnership with DNPW and the Ba...

Sikale Campsite - African Parks
Liuwa Plain National Park is governed and jointly managed by African Parks (Zambia), in partnership with DNPW and the Ba...

Kayala Campsite - African Parks
Liuwa Plain National Park is governed and jointly managed by African Parks (Zambia), in partnership with DNPW and the Ba...

   Activities

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Tour Guide - Inengu Muyunda Ananyatele
Offers and specializations: Guided walking anthropological tours of Barotseland; Historical tours of Barotseland; D...

Mukasi Tours and Travels Ltd.
Mukasi Tours and Travels Ltd. offer the following services: Luggage transport; Transport car bookings; They can org...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Mumwa Crafts Association
Mumwa Crafts Association buys crafts from its members and sells them locally, regionally and internationally. Products...

Hope Art
A drive to help orphans and vulnerable children was a huge force behind the founding of Hope Art. The women involved sta...

Barotse Selected Arts Association
This dance group has travelled to Japan and performed in 13 major towns. Duties: Managing the Barotse Selected Dance...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

KM Bar and Recreation Centre
KM Bar and Recreation Centre houses two bars providing assorted local and imported beers and spirits. The bars are equip...

Deborah's Chicken and Things Restaurant
This restaurant specializes in Zambian traditional dishes and British cuisine.

   Services

Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Willie's Internet Cafe
Facilities and services: Internet browsing hot spot; DSTV pay online; Wireless internet ; Photocopying; Laminatin...

 

Overview
Events
History
Map
Reviews
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The North Barotse Trails Route is named after ancient Luyi Kingdom of Barotseland. The Trails boasts of the remotest National Park in Zambia; the Liuwa Plains National Park and significant cultural, water and wildlife resources. The route spans the greater Western part of Zambia stretching from Senanga to the south, Mongu and Kalabo town to the North West. It includes Barotse flood plains and West Zambezi Game Management Area No. 1 towards the west.

The route shares boundaries with South Barotse Trails towards the south and the once war torn Republic of Angola to the west. Together the two routes form an exclusive location slowly being turned into an important tourism hub in Southern Africa. The route is situated within a malaria risk region. Travellers should contact local medical doctors for correct prophylactics.

Reasons to visit

The wildlife to be seen while on this route includes various species of water birds, crocodiles and the water monitor (Varanus niloticus). Common duiker are quite frequently seen and hippo, mostly confined to the rivers bordering the Liuwa Plains National Park. Fish species include the Tiger fish, red bellied bream, three spotted tilapia and Nembwe. 

Liuwa Plain National Park is home to Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration. This spectacle takes place mainly in the southern park when the rainy season begins in November. Thousands of wildebeest  (estimates have been put at 35,000 plus) arrive from Angola. Zebra, red lechwe, oribi, duiker, steenbok, southern reedbuck, tsessebe and roan antelope, among others accompany them. This attracts predators such as lion, cheetah, spotted hyena, jackal, serval, wild dog and African wildcat.

According to African Parks (Oral presentation); Liuwa Plains National Park has 36,600 Wildebeest, 5500 Zebra, 1100 Lechwe, 1500 Tsessebe, 55 Eland (re-introduced), 20 Buffalos (re-introduced), 34 reptile species and 14 amphibian species.  The bird species count is around 350 with majority of water birds.

Road accessibility

Road networks within this route are under-developed apart from the tarred national roads linking Lusaka to Mongu (584km), Sesheke to Livingstone (203km) and Mongu to Sitoti via Senanga (138km). The rest of the roads; Kaoma/Lukulu (209km), Luampa/Machile (238km), Katima/Sitoti (212km), Mongu/Kalabo (69km) are gravel and dust roads in a poor state and require a sturdy 4x4 vehicle to navigate. 

The Lusaka-Mongu (Great West Road) is the main access to the route. This stretch of the road is tarred and an easy drive.  

From Katima Mulilo/Wanela border post travelers can choose to use either the Luampa/Machile or the Sesheke/Sitoti roads. The Luampa/Machile road starts from Mulobezi off the Sesheke/Livingstone road and it connects with Lusaka/Mongu road 66km west of Kaoma. Luampa/Machile road is the best option for travellers headed for the Kuomboka as the Sesheke/Sitoti road is not accessible during the wet season due to floods in the plains.  The other option is to use the M8 up to Sioma before Senanga via Sitoti Zambezi river crossing. This stretch of the road is not accessible during the rain season as most parts become flooded. 

At Sitoti, travelers can choose to cross the Zambezi on the pontoon to Senanga, then carry on north to Mongu on the eastern side of the Zambezi or continue on the western side of the Zambezi from Sitoti to Kalabo, which is about a 182km track. This stretch will take about 6 – 8 hours. Bush camping along the road is possible, and some tour operators camp there en-route to Liuwa National Park.

Driving tips

Driving in Zambia is on the left. Observe traffic signs and stick to speed limits of 100km/h on main roads and 80km/h on dust roads. Livestock, wildlife and children crossing the road have right of way, so please slow down and let them pass. Children sometimes shout for sweets whenever they see a vehicle. Avoid throwing anything to them as its just a matter of time before they will start throwing stones.

North Barotse Trails is for experienced 4x4 drivers and one needs to be well prepared before setting off on a trip on this route. It is advisable to be in groups making sure you have recovery equipment with you. A GPS, Zambian Map and a travel guide book is a must as there are so many small tracks, especially in Barotse flood plains and on the way to Liuwa Plains National Park from Kalabo which may be confusing. There are no suppliers in Liuwa Plains National Park, so make sure you have adequate food stock. Mongu has shops and a supermarket for quality food stuffs. You will need a study 4x4 vehicle to navigate the route, especially if your destination is Liuwa plains. Make sure you have the correct documents for your vehicle.

The Kuomboka Ceremony

Barotseland is the only place in the world where floods are celebrated through an annual and ancient traditional event dating as far back as 300 years ago. The word Kuomboka means ‘to get out of water’ in the Silozi language. The event usually takes place February or March and on a Thursday before noon involved the king and his court moving from his dry-season abode at Lealui, in the middle of the plain, to his high-water residence, at Limulunga, on the eastern margins of the floodplain. The precise date is only known a week or so in advance, as the Lozi king decides on the exact day.

Spectacular sights of the royal barge, the Nalikwanda, as it finally arrives at Limulunga are accompanied by an evening of feasting, celebrations, and traditional dancing.

John Reader's book, Africa: A Biography of the Continent, comments:

 

"When the Litunga boards the nalikwanda at Lealui he customarily wears a light European-style suit, a pearl-grey frock coat and a trilby hat; when he leaves the barge at Limulunga he is dressed in a splendid uniform of dark-blue serge ornately embroidered with gold braid, with matching cockade hat complete with a white plume of egret feathers."

History of the Lozi Dynasty

The Luyi people are believed to be the early settlers of North Barotse Trails and the rest of the Upper Zambezi. Several investigators trace the origins of Luyi speaking people from the Lunda-Luba empires of Katanga region in what is the present day southern Democratic Republic of Congo. They settled on the Barotse flood plain at the beginning of the 16th century led by Mbuyamwambwa. 

The kingdom of Barotseland had its traditional capital in Barotse plains at Lealui, which became the capital of Barotseland under King Sipopa in 1864. The capital was re-organized by King Lubosi Lewanika in 1878 as a cultural, traditional and administrative capital of Barotseland. Subsequent Barotse kings maintained Lealui as their capital. 

However, the prestige of Lealui assumed greater significance during the long reign of King Lubosi Lewanika who ruled from 1878 to 1916. His task was to rebuild the Barotse nation following the upheavals and turbulence caused by the Makololo invasion. 

During his rule Lubosi Lewanika established a system of governance and is recorded to have declared the Liuwa Plains National Park in the 19th century; which today stands as one of the oldest wildlife protection areas in Africa.

Makololo people

The Makololo are a people of Southern Africa, closely related to the Basotho, from which they separated themselves in the early 19th century. Originally residing in South Africa, they were displaced by the Zulu expansion under Shaka and migrated north through Botswana to Barotseland in the mid-19th century. After ruling over the Lozi people for about 30 years they were overthrown in a revolution, and migrated east towards Malawi. The Lozi language common in Barotseland today has its origins from the Makololo people. Their name appears to come from the name of Sebitwane's (their first chief) favorite wife, Kololo. Another theory is that it is a Luyana word meaning 'bald' referring to their conqueror's hair styles. 

Early missionaries

The coming of early missionaries during the latter part of the 19th century enhanced the status of the Lozi capital Lealui as a seat of government. Landmark decisions, which were to shape the destiny of Barotseland were made in Lealui. Lealui played host to pioneer missionaries like Francois Coillard who brought a new religion, Christianity; to the Lozi people.  

This matter had to be discussed critically and decided upon at Lealui. Coillard, a Huguenot Minister of great moral courage and evangelical fervour opened a school at Lwatile adjacent to the Kuta. The decision to welcome the gospel shaped the religious destiny of Barotseland and ultimately peace and security.

Arabs/Mambari Traders

The Arabs from the North-east and Mambari from Angola traded in Barotseland for Ivory and slaves. They brought in guns and gunpowder in exchange for ivory. The Mambari made their post at a small brook called Kasa ka Mambali a few kilometers north of Lealui. Lealui also became a commercial center and capital where national concessions and treaties were negotiated and signed.

Colonial history

Before 1964, Western Province was known as a Lozi nation of Barotseland, whose influence spread north of Botswana and Caprivi to the present day border between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and from south-eastern Angola west to the Kafue. Lozi kings especially under Lewanika engaged in international agreements during the colonization of Africa. Although not clearly documented, it is in Barotseland where the British established their very first administrative capital upon colonizing Zambia

Agreements with international corporate and European nations included the Ware and Lochner concessions in 1889 and 1890 respectively. The law Treaty of 1899 declared the land ruled by King Lubosi Lewanika as North Western Rhodesia. Later, Barotseland became a British Protectorate. It was at Lealui that the important Barotseland agreement of 1964 was discussed.

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Subroutes

Mongu
Senanga

Zambia

Zambia

The route name is coined from the ancient Luyi kingdom of Barotseland. The Trails boasts of the remotest National Park in Zambia; the Liuwa Plains National Park and significant cultural, water and wildlife resources. The route spans the greater Western part of Zambia stretching from Senanga to the south, Mongu and Kalabo town to the North West. It includes Barotse flood plains and West Zambezi Game Management Area No. 1 to the west.

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Key Contacts

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Mubita Sundano

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bush 4x4 widllife birding culture

 

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