Found on the mighty Zambezi River in the Western Province of Zambia, Barotse Floodplain is one of Africa’s great wetlands. The main body of the floodplain covers an impressive 5500 km2. The Barotse Floodplain is the second largest wetland in Zambia after the Lake Bangweulu system.
Famed for its fishing, Bartose Floodplain offers enthusiasts unparalleled Tiger and Bream fishing, consistently producing trophy catches. During the rainy season, the floodplains swell and flood, providing breeding grounds for large volumes of baitfish. These are gradually washed into the main channels attracting the impressive volumes of large tiger fish and bream in this area. The ideal time to visit the Barotse Floodplain for fishing is during the winter months, from May to August. This is an excellent time of year to catch the enormous tigers and great bream as the floodplains empty into the main channels.
With water comes life and this is evident in the Barotse Floodplains by the significant populations and variety of water birds that are present including the Black Heron, Squacco Heron, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Skimmer, and Pied Kingfisher. There is also a vast colony of over 10,000 pairs of African Openbill, located near the confluence of the Luanginga and Zambezi Rivers.
The Barotse Floodplain can be reached by road from Livingstone during dry season. The roads are impassable during rainy season.
- Area: 5,500 km²
- Province: Western Zambia
- Coordinates: -15.0332° S, 22.8834° E
The best time to visit is from May to November, with the plains being flooded during the wetter months of December through to April.
Barotse Floodplain can be accessed via road in the dry season or via private charter.
The following are the self-drive routes via road:
- From Lusaka – head west towards Mumbwa and through Kafue National Park onto Kaomo. This is the recommended fuel stop. 12km after leaving Kaomo, turn right on the gravel road. This 195km road should take about 4 hours to drive.
- From Livingstone – head west to Sesheke and join the M10 up to Senanga. If you are entering from Katima, you will join the road here. Head north to Senanga and onto Mongu. This is a recommended fuel stop. Head east towards Kaoma turning left at the gravel road to Lukulu 12km before the Puma fuel station in Kaomo. This 195km road should take about 4 hours to drive.
Via air, private charters are offered from Lanseria, Livingstone or Lusaka to the Lukulu air-strip.
- Runway: 09/27
- Runway Length: 1100m
- Surface: Compacted gravel
- Airfield Designation: FLLK
- Elevation: 3480 feet
- GPS co-ordinates for Lukulu Airstrip: Latitude and Longitude (-14.3788099), (23.244796)
The floodplain is rich in biodiversity and provides aquatic habitats for fish such as tigerfish and bream as well as to crocodiles and hippopotamus. There are also more than 300 species of birds including waterbirds, raptors, fly-catchers and bee-eaters. Barotse is also home to some antelope like the Lechwe. After the flood, the plain provides grazing for wildebeest, zebra, tsessebe and small antelope, as well as their predators.
Barotse Floodplain is home to over 3o0 species of birds, including many species of aquatic birds, heron, the African Finfoot, bee-eaters and fly-catchers.
The Barotse Floodplain supports many species of indigenous vegetation.