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Fishing the Upper Zambezi

For the uninitiated the tiger fish is probably Africa’s finest and most awesome game fish.  For sheer aggression – pound for pound – it must rank as one of the world’s most powerful freshwater species and the Zambezi is full of them!   The tiger possesses a  ferocious  set of  18 large, triangular razor sharp teeth enclosed in a bony head and is distinctive by its black/blue lateral tiger stripes with bright yellow and red caudal fin. Where else in the world can you game view and fish simultaneously – often just yards from a herd of elephant.

This is also a photographer’s paradise – the sunrises and sunsets on the Zambezi River have to be witnessed to be believed  and no two are the same. The best months are July, August, September and November. October is too hot.

Fishing Zambia - Upper Zambezi


On the Upper Zambezi River 


Tiger fish in the 5 – 18 lbs range. Sharptooth catfish 10 – 60lbs. Bottle nose 3 – 15 lbs, plus Chessa, Nkupe and Tilapia


Ledger rod and fixed spool reel, size 10 hooks to ledger for bait fish. Tiger rod [1 ¾ lbs tc carp rod] with 6500 size multiplier and 30 – 50 lbs braid. Catfish: an uptide rod with 10,000 size multiplier and 40lbs mono or 50 lbs braid Spinners and diving plugs also catch tiger fish. Fly rodders have success using wide gape flies like 4/0 or 5/0 Clouser minnows in green/white, or red/white, dressed short. A 9 weight forward sink tip line outfit is ideal




Shirts & shorts & a wide brimmed hat.Recommend long sleeved cotton shirts and long cotton trousers for sun protection, a packing list will be provided. Very hot during peak season – 80 to 90 degrees


July – September, November


Tented riverside lodges amongst indigenous trees, roaring campfires and African sunsets and sunrises. Tents at Sioma Falls. All inclusive excluding drinks.


Usual for tropical Africa. An anti malaria course is essential – seek professional advice. A yellow fever inoculation and certificate are also required.


Must be valid 6 months after the return date


Purchased on arrival at VFA airport



Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Heathrow  -> Jo’Burg ( 19:10 / 07:10 )

Day 2:

Jo’Burg -> Livingstone ( 10:30 / 12:35 )

You will be met at the airport and transferred by road to the lodge on the banks of the Upper Zambezi. All-inclusive accommodation ( meals, guided fishing, etc ) except for drinks.

Days 3:

Awaken to sounds of the bush. A typical day begins with tea and breakfast at the lodge before starting the first session, return for brunch and a siesta or relax by the pool. Approx mid afternoon meet for high tea before departing for the afternoon session, back to the lodge to freshen up before dinner and chatting around the open fire. Packed lunches are available if you want to spend the whole day fishing. ( Base Lodge )

Day 4:

After breakfast at the lodge you will set off in your boats, taking a packed lunch, fishing upstream, with porterage through sets of rapids fishing deep channels and runs on the way to your pitched tents at the base of Sioma Falls, the 2nd largest waterfall on the Zambezi. Here the Zambezi is narrow with cascading rapids and deep fast flowing waters all giving you the chance of hooking into a big tiger.

The camp overlooks an expanse of coral white beach and the black cliffs which harness the magnificent Zambezi River.

Overnight at Sioma Falls

Day 5:

Guided fishing – Full board at Sioma Falls


Day 6:

Guided fishing – Full board at Sioma Falls

Day 7:

After breakfast return back to the base lodge, stopping at the hotspots on the way you encountered on the way up and arriving back at the lodge mid afternoon

Guided fishing – Full board at Base Lodge

Day 8:

Guided fishing – Full board at Base Lodge

Day 9:

Transfer by road to Livingstone airport after breakfast and settling bills

Livingstone -> Jo’Burg ( 13:15 / 15:20 )

Jo’Burg -> Heathrow ( 19:05 / 05:05 )

Day 10:

Arrive Heathrow 05:05

Upper Zambezi

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