Kuomboka - Zambia
Are you a business owner in Zambia?
Promote your business 365 days a year with the #1 Guide to Zambia.
- Gain MAXIMUM EXPOSURE with a 'Dedicated Business Profile'
Directions to Kuomboka
The traditional ceremony of the Barotse people of the Western Province in Zambia, Kuomboka means 'to get out of water', celebrating the move of the Litunga, king of the Barotse, from his compound at Lealui in the Barotse Floodplain of the Zambezi River to Limulunga on higher ground.
The Barotse include a large number of tribes in Western and North Western Zambia.
The Zambezi River in the Western Province flows through the wide, sandy, Barotse flood plain with the villagers living along its banks fishing, growing crops and tending their cattle. In January the waters start rising, slowly slowly, spreading out. By February the river is starting to resemble a huge lake, the villages are on built up mounds, suuba, to keep them out of the early flood waters. March and the water has risen even further and the rats, snakes, ants and other animals move on to what little high ground there is. The Ngambela, prime minister and official mouthpiece of the Litunga, announces when the Kuomboka will take place after the first sighting of the new moon. No villager may leave for higher ground before the Litunga does.
The annual ceremony is thought to go back to 1500 and is steeped in legend and tradition. The day before the official move the drumming of the royal Maoma drums start. The sound announces the start of the festival. The Litunga's barge, Nalikwanda which means 'for the people', is truly a craft of royal proportions with room for the Chief, his attendants, the royal musicians, and at least one hundred paddlers dressed in traditional animal skins and red berets. The Nalikwanda is painted black and white with a shelter for the Litunga. On top of the shelter is a large elephant, complete with ears that flap. A steady plume of smoke rises from the boat to indicate that the Litunga is alive and well. The royal barge is guided by a couple of barges, painted white, which search out navigable channels. The Litunga's wife follows in a smaller barge, Mbolyanga, with a cattle egret mounted on the shelter. The egret's wings also flap. Three of eleven drums beat for the entire 6 to 8 hour journey. The two royal barges are followed by a huge flotilla of craft, large and small, loaded up with the villagers possessions.
The Barotse regard themselves as a separate nation in many respects and even have their own flag. Their traditional dress is very different to any other in Zambia. The women wear a musisi, a large, quite full skirt with an internal frame to help retain its shape. The men wear a siziba, a similar skirt with a matching waistcoat and cotton beret. When the Litunga boards the barge he usually wears a siziba but when he disembarks he has changed into a uniform of dark blue with ornate gold braid and cockade hat. The uniform was a gift to the Lewanika when he attended King Edward VII of England's coronation and each successive Litunga has a uniform tailored in the UK.
The Kuomboka attracts a huge number of visitors, trips and specials are usually organised by travel companies although a self-drive is possible. Accommodation can be basic and quite pricey for what you get.
You may also like
From Livingstone: Zambezi Full-Day Whitewater Rafting Tour
Raft down one of the finest rivers for whitewater rafting, the Mighty Zambezi River. Experience a throng of grade 3-5 rapids as you paddle down 23 kilometers of this awesFrom $120.00
Victoria Falls: Whitewater Rafting Experience
Have a thrilling whitewater rafting experience on some of the best rapids in the world. Let your experienced guide steer you through "The Overland Truck-Eater" and otherFrom $120.00
From Victoria Falls: Hwange National Park Day Trip & Safari
Experience one of the most diverse and vast wildlife parks in the world with a visit to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Interact with the endangered African wild dog anFrom $250.00
From Victoria Falls: Batoka Hike & Ndebele Village Tour
A 40-minute drive through the countryside of Zimbabwe on off-road terrain will offer picturesque scenery. The hiking continues into an authentic beautiful Ndebele homesteFrom $85.00
Victoria Falls: Private Guided Tour of the Falls
On this 2.5 hour guided tour, stand at the edge of Victoria Falls to witness the largest waterfall in the world, one of the Seven Natural Wonders. During the tour, enjoy4 ReviewsFrom $43.00
From Victoria Falls: Sunrise to Sunset Chobe Safari
As you’ll be among the first to arrive into the park on this early morning trip, you’ll have the best chance of seeing a diverse range of wildlife. Chobe is known for2 ReviewsFrom $260.00
Livingstone: Victoria Falls Helicopter Flights
Experience the world’s largest waterfall with a helicopter trip over Victoria Falls. See breathtaking views the falls, the Batoka Gorge, and the Zambezi River.From $189.00
From Livingstone: Mosi oa Tunya Park Game Drive
Explore one of Zambia's most iconic national parks, the Mosi oa Tunya Game Park. Drive through tropical forests, woodland, and grassland areas looking out for wildlife spFrom $70.00
Victoria Falls: Cultural Tour with High Tea
Learn all about the local culture, the pioneers and the history of the town on this full day trip. Visit Victoria Falls Hotel, the oldest hotel in Zimbabwe, to enjoy itsFrom $145.00
Victoria Falls Safari with Lunch and Sunset Cruise
Embark on this full day guided tour with lunch where you will be taken to the Victoria Falls rainforest and the Zambezi National Park. At the end of the day, you will go2 ReviewsFrom $199.00