Wednesday, March 23

Mutemwa Lodge

Mutemwa Lodge -- owned by former Springboker Gavin Johnson -- is located in Zambia's western province, near Sioma Ngwezi National Park and Liuwe Plains National Park. The camp is relatively isolated; "Mutemwa" translates as "you are cut off."

The Lodge offers guided bird watching, wildlife walks, angling, sunset cruises, and visits to local scenic spots. However, the most interesting thing they provide is a cultural experience with the Lozi tribe during The Ku-omboka Ceremony.

The name means "to get out of the water onto dry ground." Every year towards the end of the rainy season as the flood plain of the upper Zambezi valley rises, the Lozi king makes a ceremonial move to higher ground. The drums signal to his people, they pack their belongings into canoes and the whole tribe leaves en masse.

The chief in his barge with his family and a troop of traditionally dressed paddlers take the lead. It takes about six hours to cover the distance between the dry season capital Lealui, and the wet season capital Limulunga. There the successful move is celebrated with traditional singing and dancing.

This ceremony dates back more than 300 years when the Lozi people broke away from the great Lunda Empire to settle in the upper regions of the Zambezi. The vast plains with abundant fish were ideal for settlement but the annual floods could not be checked, so each year they move to higher ground until the rainy season passes.
Traditional ceremonies are vanishing throughout the world. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before it's too late!

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