Zambia Kuomboka Festival with Expert Africa

March 28, 2017 | Expert Africa

Zambia Festival

Zip off to Zambia for a week:

Extremely rare opportunity to see the King and Queen of the Barotse tribe 

and their spectacular ceremonial canoe journey – departs 6 April

The Kuomboka Festival, said to be one of the oldest ceremonies in Africa, will take place on 8 April – and a new Expert Africa itinerary, created around the event, offers the rare opportunity to participate, staying at a new contemporary lodge, the perfect base for the spectacle. This is the first time in more than 20 years focusing on Zambia that Expert Africa has been able to offer this opportunity to travellers!

Said to have been taking place since the 17th century, and located close to the Liuwa Plain in western Zambia, this will be the first time that this large-scale festival has taken place since 2014, due to poor rains in recent years.

Amidst much colourful pageantry, complete with traditional dress and lively celebrations with tribal music, the Losi King (Litunga) of the Barotse tribe and his Queen will leave the Lealui Palace in the lowlands and travel, with their subjects and livestock, in huge decorated canoes – manned by 50 oarsmen – in a 20 km paddle to the drylands and their high palace. The historic spectacle, which draws crowds locally, nationally and from around the world, will see the King’s boat adorned with a giant replica elephant, whilst his Queen’s will feature a large stork-like bird.

Upon arrival at the high Limulunga Palace, the awaiting crowds will welcome the royal procession with great excitement: there will be traditional dancing, drumming and singing as the joyous celebration unfolds, making this Zambia’s largest cultural festival. See video here.

Zambia Festival

The timing of this rare event also chimes perfectly with the opening of a new lodge in the heart of Liuwa Plain. The new King Lewanika Lodge, opens on 1 April, providing the perfect base from which to visit the festival. Designed by the celebrated architects, Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the luxurious King Lewanika Lodge will form part of a spectacular and very modern camp. The light and airy lodge makes the most of its excellent location, with beautiful views of the plains, providing the chance to see the national park’s lions and bold hyenas, as well as to witness the famous wildebeest migration and the huge flocks of pelicans, crowned and wattled cranes and African skimmers that visit.

To mark this extremely rare and special opportunity to visit the Kuomboka Festival, Expert Africa has created a brand new eight-day package which departs from the UK on 6 April, and includes four nights at King Lewanika Lodge, the chance to join researchers from the Zambian Carnivore project to help track big cats and wild dogs, plus transfers to and from the famed Kuomboka ceremony.

Zambia Festival

The trip, priced from £6,090 pp (two sharing), includes scheduled overnight flights (Emirates) from London Heathrow to Lusaka return (via Dubai), all meals, laundry, and local beers and wines whilst at the Lodge, airport and internal transfers, activities including day and night game drives, walking safaris, fishing, and canoeing, and one night’s bed and breakfast in Lusaka at the start of the trip.

For further information on this exciting opportunity, or to talk to a safari specialist about this and many other out of the ordinary trips, call Expert Africa on 020 3405 6666 or visit