Lake Tanganyika – Zambia’s Lake Garda!
Firstly, wow! Lake Tanganyika will blow your mind that is for sure! Although it is located very far from the capital city Lusaka, in the Northern Province, it is well worth the trek there.
How to get there:
You can either fly in (again this is extremely costly because you would have to charter a flight to Mbala) or like we did, plan a road trip down there which will take you approximately 10-12 hours to get there. For our road trip we left home at about 6/7am and we planned to stay overnight in Kasama and then proceed to the lake the next day. From Kasama to the lake it took us an hour and a half to drive to the location where the lodge boat picks you up and transports you to your lakeside location.
However, along the way we discovered the car was leaking fuel just before Mpika because the mechanic who had just serviced the car didn’t put a part on properly. Thankfully we had signal, so through a video chat with the mechanic my husband and brother were able to get the difficult part back on and we were off on our way! But this did eat about three hours of journey and we got in Kasama extremely late and tired, especially my poor husband who did a great job of driving our manual car all day! Because it got dark whilst en-route to Kasama we missed our turn and only realised as we approached Shiwa Ngandu! If you have time when you are already that side of town, this is another must see place steeped in a lot of colonial Zambian history, if that floats your boat!
After a night in one of the basic but clean and well looked after accommodation options in Kasama (I don’t even remember the name because it is a while ago) we were on our way to the Lake finally. I remember being extremely excited because this was on my bucket list for ages and it was extra special because we did the trip with my mum and brother who were visiting from England.
Where we stayed:
I booked our stay at Isanga Bay lodge directly through the lodge itself, and I am glad we did. It was so beautiful as you’ll see from my pictures. Literally chalets right on the beach and it was well secluded and cosy. It didn’t have a lot of chalets which means that even during peak time, you’ll still have your privacy and beach space!
They do also offer camping options which is great if you are a budget traveller at $10 per person which is steal if you ask me. Camping is not my style, so we booked our chalets for $85 per night which was extremely reasonable to us. Our rooms were basic chalets but had such a bush chic feel and we absolutely loved them! Do note, that if you choose camping option there is also an alternative route to get to Isanga Bay by road, but you will need a good 4×4 vehicle. The lodge can give you exact information of the route etc.
What to do:
- Firstly, the beach and lake are right on your doorstep if you book the chalet, so grab your book and settle into one of the beachside loungers with a cold beer and enjoy the extremely fantastic view!
- The lodge has kayaks which you can take out onto the water, and we had plenty of fun with this!
- Fishing – if you are big into fishing why not go out on a fishing adventure and see what you can catch!
- If you’re the adventurous type, then you can always do a hike up to Kalambo Falls which is the second highest single drop waterfall in Africa. We did it and I personally loved it, some of the other family members however have a differing view! Bring hiking shoes or extremely comfortable trainers and clothes that you would feel hiking in. I was not expecting the hike to be as demanding as it was, and I wore denim short shorts and a vest top haha! Next time I will wear gym shorts because one still must look cute as they hike! Isanga Bay packed us a delicious packed lunch and refreshments and getting to the top was so worth it. I would personally recommend it, but it isn’t for the fainthearted!
Other things to see in Northern Province:
As you know Zambia has an abundance of waterfalls, so make sure you have enough time to stop and see them if you can. In the Northern Province, these are off the beaten track so have patience, and enough to drink in your cooler box and that way you will do yourself justice. Ask at the lodge you stay at and they will be able to direct you to the closest waterfalls to your vicinity. Another cool place worthy of stopping at is the Kapishya Hot Springs. I know many people who have done that route who have stopped to have a dip in the hot springs who absolutely love it!