Every time my parents come to visit us we try to make an effort to go somewhere, even though they’re quite happy just having quality time with their grandchildren. This last time we decided to go somewhere none of us had been before, the sunken lakes of Ndola. We looked it up on the internet and found some intriguing legends about these lakes, involving monsters (Ichitapa or Isoka Ikulu) that pull you in and curses making fish inedible, with the most extraordinary story including a whole tribe committing suicide by drowning themselves and their livestock! There’s three small lakes created from underground water eating away the limestone until the ground collapsed leaving deep holes filled with water. The biggest and most known of them is Lake Kashiba, it’s said to be 100 m deep and it’s about 10 m down to the water’s surface.
Now, Google maps only got us that far, once we reached St Anthony’s mission (a long forgotten mission station) we were left in the hands of a group of men who escorted us along a crisscrossing bush road that eventually led us to the lake. All adding to the secrecy and mystique! The water is amazingly clear and to the frustration of my husband you could clearly see the fish, but none would bother going for the lure! We swam in the clear cool water and ate our packed lunch, all along being watch by the villagers passing by (to check on us?). Places like these make me realize how much potential there is in Zambia for tourism, both local and foreign. Most people don’t even know this place exists and it takes some guts to brave those roads and risk getting lost “outside coverage area” so to speak… It would benefit everyone, specially the people in the rural areas, if these places could be prioritised and made accessible. But for now the sunken lakes remains a place of mystique and legend.