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Category: Heather Chalcraft

Lake Kashiba and Ndola's Sunken Lakes

(Redirected from Lake Kashiba and Ndola’s sunken lakes)

Contributed by Heather Chalcraft
February 2002

These are of Lake Kashiba, south-west of Luanshya, close to Mpongwe and St Anthony's Mission. Not the best photos I'm afraid - it was a dark overcast day plus it would have been better if I had taken a wide-angle lens (I will next time). I was also pretty annoyed by the time I got there. I had asked some of the villagers around the mission how to get there and, of course, they directed us to the road on which they knew we would get stuck and then followed so that they could push us out (there is another way where we would not have got stuck). Oh well, I guess they also have to make a living, but I didn't miss the opportunity to give them a lecture on how short-sighted they were being.

There are a number of sunken lakes in the area and I quote below from Dick Hobson's book, Tales of Zambia:


There are several small, very deep pools in the Ndola district which have always been called "the sunken lakes:' They are found in limestone and were caused by the action of water on the rock, dissolving it and forming caves which eventually collapsed, leaving deep holes filled with water. The most impressive of them is Kashiba, which means "small lake:' It is reached via Mpongwe and St Anthony's Mission. It is about 3,5 hectares in area and about l00 metres deep. The water level is about l0 metres below the surrounding forest, and through the clear blue water, fish are easy to see mostly bream, with some barbel. But it may still be true today that some people will not eat fish from Kashiba because it used to be said "even if you leave the fish on the fire all day and all night, it will not be cooked"

Kashiba is also said to contain a monster called "Ichitapa" or "lsoka lkulu." When a man stands on the rocks at the lake's edge, with his shadow over the water, the monster comes up from the depths and catches the shadow, so that the victim becomes paralysed and falls in the water ... But the best known of the legends of Kashiba goes back to the earliest history of the Lamba people, to Kabunda, son of Chipimpi, the chief who came from the west with seeds to plant the first gardens for the people. One day, when Chipimpi's people had finished plastering a grain store, he gave them all porridge to eat, but to Kabunda and his nephew he gave a goat so that they might wash off the mud with the goat's blood. But Kabunda demanded the blood of a man, and Kapimpi gave him a slave to kill. Kabunda killed the slave with his hoe, saying: "Now we are the people of the Hair Clan, for we have killed a man with hair on his head. But you, my father and my cousin, are people of the Goat Clan:' And Kabunda slew Chipimpi and became chief.

In time, Kabunda began to ill-treat the younger relatives of Chipimpi, members of the Goat Clan, and they became angry, saying they were of the chief's clan and should not be treated thus. "Let us now kill ourselves! Let us see what will remain! Kabunda can remain, and the kingdom can be his!" So they all went to Kashiba, where they took all their goods and chattels, goats and chickens and dogs, and tied themselves together with a long rope and threw themselves into the lake. But a member of the Leopard Clan was at the end of the rope, and at the last moment, he cut it in front of his wife and carried her back to the village, where she became the mother of all the Goat Clan.

Lake Ishiku, close to Ndola, is small and almost circular and about 80 metres deep. Legend says that long ago the Lamba chiefs punished wrong-doers by weighting them with stones and casting them into the lake. It is also said to be the home of giants, Ifibanda or Ifiwa, who demand presents of white beads and the blood of livestock before fishing can begin. Lake Chilengwa, which is not far away from Lake Ishiku, is sometimes called "Chilengwa na Lesa", or "Made by God," for it has no obvious water supply. Both geology and tradition suggest it may be connected underground to Ishiku. Tradition says it is the home of a great snake, and that the bodies of its victims are sometimes found in Ishiku. Chilengwa is the most deeply sunken of the lakes, with almost vertical walls rising 30 metres above the water, which is about 20 metres deep.

Nice black sky.
Nice black sky.

Thought you might like this picture of the nice black sky.

Matabele ants.
Matabele ants.

Matabele ants - really needed a better camera for these, but here they are.

Giraffe at Nsobe Lodge.
Giraffe at Nsobe Lodge.

Just a giraffe at Nsobe Lodge. I was far too lazy to get up early and do any game viewing, but the giraffe were just up the road and the guys who work there came and called me so I got off my backside and took some photos.

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