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May 2007 Travel Zambia 29 Zambia undiscovered Sumbu National Park is well worth a visit. Perched at the very north of the country at the foot of Lake Tanganyika, Africa’s deepest lake, the park covers over 2,000 km2 of diverse habitat, both above and below the waterline. Mammal fauna is rich and diverse, though not always easy to find. Dense mashito swamp thickets may yield glimpses of shy sitatunga and rare blue duiker, complementing occasional sightings of roan, sable, eland, hartebeest, buffalo and zebra. More common are bushbuck, warthog and puku, all of which can be spotted on the beach from your sun-lounger. Elephant, lion and leopard boost the reserve’s ‘big five’ credentials, though these are seldom seen. Birdlife is abundant in the forests and riverine thickets, and includes East African species such as bare-faced go-away bird and red-cheeked cordon-bleu. Were it not for the snorting of hippos and the constant patrol of super-sized crocodiles, the snorkelling would doubtless also be fabulous, revealing a host of endemic cichlids much sought after by the aquarium trade. Getting to Sumbu can be an adventure in itself, since there are no scheduled flights to Kasaba Bay, the nearest airstrip. However, the two active lodges in the park are also accessible by boat from Mpulungu, across the lake. Activities include lake cruises and water-skiing, as well as walks and game drives. THORN TREE SAFARIS “Were it not for the snorting of hippos and the constant patrol of super-sized crocodiles, the snorkelling would doubtless also be fabulous.”With Lakes Mweru and Mweru W’Antipa nearby, not to mention the spectacular 221-metre high Kalambo Falls on the Tanzanian border, a trip to Lake Tanganyika offers the adventurous traveller some rich rewards. Jake da Motta Sights and sounds of northern Zambia: beach retreat on lake Tanganyika (above); colonial splendour at Shiwa Ng’andu (opposite, below); Kundabwika Falls. Lower Zambezi NP Kasanka NP South Luangwa NP North Luangwa NP Luambe NP Sumbu NP Lusenga NP Lukusuzi NP LUSAKA Kitwe Ndola Chipata Isoka Kasama Mpulungu L. Bangweulu Chirundu Kapiri Mposhi Mkushi Mfuwe Mpika

30 Travel Zambia May 2007 South Luangwa National Park’s international safari reputation has long brought tourism revenue to its local community. But the park has its hinterland: an area where wildlife numbers are too marginal for tourism and the human population is rising. With a finite number of jobs on offer, and large families to support, many people resort to subsistence farming. Unfortunately this lifestyle is often fraught with hazards, from devastating floods to large, crop-raiding beasts. Today, happily, there is an alternative: one that draws its inspiration from nature and harnesses the skills of local artisans. Tribal Textiles, a textiles company located in the middle of South Luangwa’s safari hub of Mfuwe, now provides work for over 150 local people. Turn off the airport road, past three pillars emblazoned with colourful dancing ladies, and you can see this miracle for yourself. A riot of colour and industry streams from a long, open-sided shed, all to the frenetic backbeat of rhumba Congolese, and the tic-tac and whirr of half a dozen Singer sewing machines. Washing lines are hung with fabrics of every imaginable hue and design. People bustle back and forth with bundles of material. In a sunlit courtyard, a Zambian girl displays a dazzling tablecloth to a khaki-clad European family. She plays them like a matador: the wife lunges for the piece and adds it to a pile on the counter. Material benefits Life can be tough for people living around a national park, and the tourist dollar can stretch only so far. But local enterprise offers a solution. Jake da Motta reports from South Luangwa on one innovative local business that is making a difference. Bedspreads fit for a riverbed? Heritage