Trip to Lake Tanganyika

Here is an amusing pictorial story of Andy Norton`s recent spearfishing trip to Lake Tanganyika with Len Debeer and John Cairns. 

waiting at the airport

The Crew stuck waiting at Jan Smuts from 3am on the Friday for someone to come and open up the check-in counters- welcome to the hi-tech heart of Africa!

Ndola 'International' Airport

Arrival at Ndola 'International' Airport passport control- more high-tech holidays in Hell.

Zambia/DRC border

We found some cold beer to help pass the time until we flew the next hop up to the Zambia/DRC border. This is walking to the plane, with barman in hot pursuit looking for his bottles back!

trusty, rusty (hot and smelly!) wreck

The trusty, rusty (hot and smelly!) wreck that flew us into the last airport at the end of the world- Kasaba Bay. Unbeknown to us, Len was so keen to get into the water that he left the moonbag with all our cash behind on the plane- which flew off with it- bummer- no cash for the holiday, no phones or other comms to get hold of the charter company either! Not a fun moment!

Kasaba Bay airport

The high tech operations buildings at Kasaba Bay airport.

Kasaba bay's 9 hole golf course

Kasaba bay's 9 hole golf course, the runway, and the Lake just behind the trees.

Kasaba Bay, 25km by boat

Kasaba Bay, 25km by boat from where we were going, its not really clear but there are more than 10 hippos in the water That's the disturbance towards the other bank.

Len epoxying on a transducer

Our hired boat, leaking like a sieve, with Len epoxying on a transducer so our sounder worked - the hi tech lads from Durban! You can see how clear the water is around the boat. Viz ran from 40 ft down to 6ft dependant on area. As a rule, if there were fish, the viz was bad and there were Crocodiles - Murphy operates near the equator as well.

Some Nkupi , nice sushi

Some Nkupi , nice sushi, great eating and very hard to shoot! Len shot the biggest one of the Trip (yes, Len, I know its hard to believe!) 2.8kg

We found fish very scarce for the first 2 days until we ventured into the croc filled waters of the Sumbu National Park- then we finally found fish ........ and crocs. Flat Dogs are prevalent mainly in the Park, but are still often found anywhere. The Locals gill-net everything outside the park which is why there is such a difference in fish concentrations. Sumbu National Park has the distinction of having the largest Crocs in Africa- some over 6m long. That said, we didn't see too many, although they were never far from our minds.

A bigger danger- Congo Point

A bigger danger- Congo Point. Borders are ill defined and the DRC military is prone to make their own rules up and abduct and / or shoot at you. The gillie was very nervous about going here. Big drop offs down to 500 ft a mere 50 m from the shore, with clean water- must be tried!

Nile Perch- we never found any big ones

Len with some Nile Perch- we never found any big ones, although they are common up to 80-100kg, in the really deep areas of the Lake.

22 perch and about 12 others (Nkupis etc etc)

At last- we found the fish- 22 perch and about 12 others (Nkupis etc etc) in one morning The locals were impressed! Average catch on line for a day's fishing is around 4-6 fish with 10 being exceptional.

Our big catch

Our big catch.

Nile Perch - 5kg

Len with the biggest Nile Perch of the trip - 5kg.

perch of the trip

My biggest perch of the trip- facing the camera on the right.


Sushi- now everyone thought we had been too long in the sun at this stage!

Nice Nkupi (Biggest of the trip)

Nice Nkupi (Biggest of the trip) The larney boat in the background was substituted for our 'banana boat' when that started leaking so much that it was sinking- more fuel to run and at around R15 per liter, .well, you get the picture.

The accommodation

The accommodation

Bar and Dining room area

The Bar and Dining room area

The view from the bar

The view from the bar

Flat Dog country

Flat Dog country- in the Sumbu Park. When we took off to fly out we flew over this spot and saw a monster croc lying in the water on the drop-off we had been diving on- couldn't tell from the air if it had shoes, a belt or handbag.

nice stringer of fish

Upgraded boat as the old one was not leaking anymore, it was sinking- nice stringer of fish!

the ugliest fish

John's 2 eyed trouser snake- possibly the ugliest fish we had ever seen!

More speared fish

More Fish

Dining area

The Dining area looking across to the Bar

The Bar

The Bar- what more can I say?

Croc Skull

Croc skull

We eventually, and very unexpectedly got the lost moon bag back. Getting home was interesting from a trip point of view- the charter plane nearly didn't come, but we made it back. Full story to follow.