Lake Mweru

boat-on-beach-lake-mweru

T
his truly beautiful lake is located on the far north-west border of Zambia and is shared more or less equally with Zaire/DRC. The Luapula River flows in from the south having formed the official border between northern Zambia and Zaire. It also drains out from the lake in the north. The Kalungwishi river flows in from the east. Both river mouths form important deltas that serve as fish breeding grounds.

Not so long ago there were just a few villages dotted around the lake, but as the tar road arrived in Nchelenge in 1987, so the population increased as people began to make a living from the wealth of the Lake. The area, once surrounded by wildlife became peri-urban and the animals that weren’t poached drifted off to quieter areas. Now there are thousands of people living on the shores of this massive expanse of water which provides both food and a means of living.

Lake Mweru, although off the beaten track, is worth a visit. The lake has spawned a dynamic population, rich in culture, fervent in trade and colourful in nature. The area is almost a microcosm of what Tropical Africa could be if left to its own devices.

Tourist facilities, however are limited to a few ‘guesthouses’ of varying standards. Water temperatures range from 21o C to 29o C. While air temperatures range from 27.5o C to 35o C. The lake is chemically very fertile and contributes substantially to the fishing industry in Zambia.

Known to only a handful of visitors, the lake lies on the edge of Mweru Wantipa National Park. Though the thriving crocodile and elephant populations once found within the National Park have been almost entirely wiped out by poaching, the park remains a good place for viewing various waterbirds and a good spot for camping. There are also a number of scenic waterfalls along the Luapula River that feeds the lake, and the countless small villages you pass by help to further enliven the journey.

The road south from the lake is mostly good tar road all the way back to Ndola, beside the odd pothole, whilst the gravel road heading north-east towards Lake Tanganyika is also fairly comfortable

 

Useful Facts

  • Area: 5,120 km²
  • Surface elevation: 917 m
  • Length: 131 km
  • Width: 56 km
  • Location: Northern Borders
  • Water Temp: 21 - 29 °C
  • Inflow source: Luapula River, Kalungwishi River
  • Outflow location: Luvua River

Lake Mweru Map