African safaris are defined by the Big Five – buffalo, rhino, elephant, lion and leopard – and yet take to the water, by sea or by river, and big game anglers enjoy spectacular fishing to rival North America, the Caribbean and Australia.
Red Savannah’s Africa specialist looks at the prime sites for fishing safaris from Tanzania’s Pemba Island to Zambia’s Lower Zambezi.
Fishing Safaris in Mozambique
Mozambique is fast growing in popularity for serious anglers, with the deep Mozambique Channel being prime ground for the Black Marlin as well as blue and striped Marlin. Other big game fish include yellowfin and dogtooth tuna, short biill spearfish, queenfish and barracuda, with rock and surf fishing uncovering Giant Trevally, Skates, Rays and Shark.
The Quirimbas and Bazaruto archipelagos in the north and south respectively are excellent fishing grounds, we as well as being spectacularly beautiful.
You don’t need to venture far to unlock a world of big game fishing at Vamizi Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago, with abundant fishing grounds inhabited by yellowfin tuna, wahoo and marlin lying less than half an hour from the island. Sailing on board a fully-equipped 28 Magnum, guests are accompanied by professional fishermen who know the waters intimately, virtually guaranteeing a catch. Dolphins and whales are regularly spotted and so non-fishing partners will also enjoy a half or full days outing.
Saltwater fly fishing and big game fishing are just two of the water based activities guests may choose from at Azura at Benguerra Island further south in the Bazaruto Archipelago with a fully-equipped boat and guides or instructors according to ability. The resort has a tag and release policy to conserve fish stocks.
Fishing Safaris in Tanzania
The waters along the Tanzanian coast are considerably less populated than those of Kenya and yet the sea around Zanzibar and Pemba Island in particular see some of the top deep sea big game fishing in Africa. Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, and Giant Trevally are regularly caught and from December through March Bill Fish occupy the rich Pemba Channel, peaking in January.
Marlin, Barracuda, and Kingfish can also be found within easy sailing distance from the coast as well as smaller fish such as grouper and red snapper.
Pemba Island itself is 45 miles long and 20 miles across, surrounded by smaller islands and a beautiful reef. Bio-diverse species such as lychees, coconut and bananas thrive in the rich soil and the island is renowned for its clove plantations which flourish here. The climate here is especially enjoyable from December through March (coinciding with some of the best fishing) and July to early November.
Fundu Lagoon makes an excellent base for those wishing to ply the waters of Pemba, The resort is situated on the Wambaa Peninsula on the southwestern side of Pemba on, the more sheltered coast and with access to some of the deep-water channels. Guests staying here may take fishing trips on board traditional ‘ngalawa’ trimarans before returning laden with fish for the chef.
Fishing Safaris in Zambia
The hot months of September to November see some of the best fresh water angling in the world in the Lower Zambezi in Zambia. Tiger fish are the prize catch but you’ll also find Cornish Jack, Nile Bream, Nkupi and the magnificent fighting Vundu (catfish). Guests staying at the Royal Zambezi Lodge can try their hand or improve their skills at fresh water angling, with expert resident guides on hand to uncover some of the best sites on fully-fitted aluminium boats with tackle provided. The lodge operates a strict catch and release policy.
Royal Zambezi Lodge makes an excellent base for anglers and non-anglers with activities, in addition to fishing, including game viewing in the Lower Zambezi National Park where elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo reside, as well as canoeing on the Zambezi and relaxing at the award-winning Royal Bush Spa. Accommodation is in 15 luxury suites, all shaded by trees and enjoying views of the river, where animals come to drink.
Fishing Safaris in Namibia
Namibia is noted for its arid deserts and yet there are river valleys which offer excellent fishing opportunities. The Kunene River in the country’s north-west Marienfluss region, for example, is rich with silver catfish, Tilapia and pike. Okahirongo River Camp offers conventional and fly fishing trips as well as flights to Terrace Bay on the Skeleton Coast for those wishing to experience sea fishing.
A day out to the coast includes a flight over the spectacular coastline, a dune drive to the beach and a fishing trip to catch Blacktail, Galjoen and Steenbras before returning to the beach for a barbecue.
Visitors to the Kunene River Valley come as much for the magnificent landscapes as the wildlife and river pursuits and whilst game drives will uncover fascinating flora and fauna, it is the rich ochre and yellow of the dunes and mountains which take the starring role as you take early morning walks or sundowners.
Accommodation at Okahirongo River Camp is in six timber and canvas tents with floor to ceiling windows and spacious decks for taking in the views over the river and beyond.
Fishing Safaris in Zimbabwe
Like Zambia, Zimbabwe offers excellent freshwater fishing opportunities, with Tiger Fish, Tilapia, Bass and Catfish found in many of the pristine rivers. Luxury lodge, Singita Pamushana provides game fishing throughout the year, with guides showing guests how to fish using techniques practiced by local Zimbabweans at the Malilangwe Dam just below the lodge.
Guests staying at Singita Pamushana in the the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, enjoy regular sightings of the Big Five, and the reserve has one of the highest concentrations of the rare black rhino. Singita exemplifies co-operative conservation, with preservation of the landscape, protection of wildlife and collaboration with local communities at the heart of its philosophy.
Guests contribute to these efforts through their patronage. Accommodation is in vibrant suites inspired by the architecture of the Shangaan people, with rich colours and textures created by the use of wood, stone and thick fabrics.
Albee Yeend is the Africa Specialist at Red Savannah. She first fell in love with the continent whilst canoeing along the Zambezi on a safari holiday in Zambia. What started as a holiday led to three years running several safari camps in Zambia and Botswana before moving into tour operations as an Africa safari specialist.