We had a recent article come in about a brief trip to Kabula Lodge and then Ngonye Falls. We found it quite informative and would like to share it with you. Below is the article.

Map of the Ngonye Falls Region

Map of the Ngonye Falls Region

“At the end of June, a friend, Venice, and I took to the road and headed towards Sesheke and Ngonye Falls. We had booked in at Kabula Lodge as there are only three lodges along this stretch of the river now. Sakazima Island Lodge is on an island in the Zambezi and is used for groups. Mutemwa Lodge is an upmarket lodge catering to the avid fisherman. Kabula is a lodge a bit further north… and is for people like me…

We arrived at Kabula late in the afternoon and were shown to our chalets by Lloyd. Lloyd is the 2IC but only works when there is work to be had.

We found this out later when we were told that most of the staff had all been put on piece work since the advent of the new minimum wage.

Chalets

Kabula Chalets

Kabula is a self-catering lodge. The chalets are all self-contained, most facing the river. They are all a bit squonk, having been made of local materials of wood, reed and thatch. They are, of course, full of character because of this. Behind the chalets there is a large kitchen with all the pots, pans, cutlery, glasses you need. There are gas cookers. Outside the kitchen there is a barbecue site and at the rear a scullery. It is all organised!

Zambezi River

Zambezi River

Venice and I set to making our supper and then sat to enjoy the peace and quiet. The river was like glass just sliding past; the only ripples to be seen were those of fish jumping. Venice had brought her fishing rod and hoped to have a bit of a go at catching a tiger fish which this area is famed for. In the morning I got up early and Venice had a lie in.

I went for a walk along the sandy road to the main road. I was surprised to see some spoor of small animals and found out later, chatting to Lloyd, that there are animals – elephant, water-buck, buffalo, duiker. It would seem that the efforts of Peace Parks and their work in the area are beginning to show results.

Bearded Woodpeckers

Bearded Woodpeckers

I also found a pair of bearded woodpeckers in a tree.

When Venice had surfaced we quickly had breakfast and headed out to Ngonye Falls about 50 km away.

The area around Ngonye Falls has been fenced off. One section is used as a campsite where some impala have been introduced. I was told that there are plans to bring in more animals when time and money allows. The other section is the entrance to the falls themselves. We paid our dues of K26 040.

As soon as I had been told the price I knew that they had been set by ZAWA who likes to add the K40, just to make change difficult. Why? We also had to pay the same amount for the car.

Our guide was Aaron and he came with us, picking up some paddles on the way. Oh no, I thought, we are going in a makora, so was delighted to see a ‘normal’ boat parked by the river’s edge. Aaron paddled us across a small channel to an ‘island’. From there we could see the main section of the falls. There are eight sections to the falls and some can only be seen from the island.

Ngonye Falls

Ngonye Falls

I chatted to Aaron and his pals afterwards about how the area is run. They told me that it is a community project and that all the money goes to the people who work there. ZAWA is involved as research support only.

One of the staff made me laugh when he pointed to a room and said: They work in there and have computers!

Just as we were about to leave 5 cars drew up. I knew that Aaron and his co-staff were going to be very happy that day and that they would be paid.

We then returned to Kabula because we had booked a boat ride on the river.

Fast facts about Ngonye Falls:
Ngonye Falls also known as Sioma Falls
What river are the falls on Zambezi River
Location Near Sioma town, and a few hundred kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls, in the southern part of Barotseland
How were the falls formed Same geographical process as Victoria Falls, cracks in the basalt riverbed.
Height 10 to 25 meters
Shaped as A horseshoe

 

Lloyd took us out and we toured the river, still glass-like. There are two islands nearby, one called Kabula and the other Buffalo. Kabula Island gets its name from a tree which has really good fruit which the people like. I looked the name up in the book but couldn’t find it. Anyone out there know more? Buffalo Island used to be a favorite spot for buffalo but they were all shot for the pot in the 1990s. Overall the cruise was very extremely enjoyable.

Venice and Lloyd did a spot of fishing but did not catch dinner; they didn’t even have a bite.

Staff in a Makora

Staff in a Makora

We watched kingfishers, fish eagles and bee-eaters and then saw some of the Kabula staff leaving work and heading home across the river in their makora.

The evening was spent cooking on a fire which was great, and we returned home the following day.”

 

About Kabula Lodge

Kabula Lodge

Kabula Lodge

Situated on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, Western Zambia Kabula Lodge has been specifically designed to provide affordable and truly comfortable holiday accommodation for families who love fishing, birding, the outdoors and who want to enjoy Africa at its pristine best. Kabula is also a recognized haven for the keen fisherman wanting to catch a trophy Tiger Fish.

Situated within Barotseland,the Lozi people’s mystical wetland region that the famous explorer David Livingstone explored so many years ago, Kabula Lodge provides the ideal holiday destination in a sparsely populated and relatively untouched region of Southern Africa where the magnificent indigenous forests are something to behold.

The appeal of the Lodge has been further enhanced by its incorporation within the recently promulgated Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) which is situated in the Okavango and Zambezi river basins where the borders of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe converge. It will span an area of approximately 287 132 km², almost the size of Italy (300 979 km²), and will include 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas.

 

About Ngonye Falls

Ngonye Falls

Ngonye Falls

Also known as Sioma Falls because these Falls are near the village of Sioma. These beautiful Falls mark the transition point of the Zambezi Rivers’ flow from Kalahari sand floodplain to basalt dyke – the latter eventually contributing to the magnificent gorges of the Victoria Falls.

The horseshoe-shaped Ngonye Falls are mostly impressive because of the sheer volume of water that cascades over the staggered, twenty meter drop. An interesting aspect is that the river flows underneath the rock on either side of the falls. It is quite remarkable to stand upon them, feeling and hearing the underground flow.

 

From: 5VictoriaFalls24 / thelivingstoneweekly

Date: 7 July 2013