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4 Travel Zambia May 2009 Waters rising The Kuomboka ceremony in western Zambia is one of Africa's most impressive cultural spectacles. It takes place every March or April, when the rising waters of the Zambezi fl ood the plains of Barotseland, and celebrates the movement of the Lozi people and their cattle to higher ground. The Litunga ( king of the Lozi) is conveyed on a royal barge and arrives to a rapturous reception at Limulunga, his winter palace.

May 2009 Travel Zambia 5 In the frame Photographer Thys van der Merwe is based in KwaZulu- Natal and runs photographic tours across southern Africa. His interest started during his schooldays, when he acquired a very old Yashica Mat camera from his dad, and has always centred upon nature and wildlife. " Being there at the right time and place with the right equipment takes patience and practice," explains Thys, " not just buying the best and most expensive camera gear in town." His work has been published in magazines and books all over the world. See more at www. vividafrica. co. za Setting out A ceremonial elephant statue marks out the royal barge, or nalikwande, as a fl otilla of smaller craft accompany its progress across the fl oodplain. All together now It takes a team of dedicated polers and sheer muscle power to convey the massive barge through the shallow waters.