Lake Cahora Bassa

About 128km (791?2 miles) upstream from Tete, the beautiful Kebrabassa rapids once thundered unhindered through an almost inaccessible gorge. As early as 1957, when Mozambique was still a province of Portugal, a commission investigating the development potential of the Zambezi River valley recommended the construction of a dam for irrigation purposes and flood control. Kebrabassa was the site chosen, and plans for a formidable hydroelectric power station were finalized in 1960. On-site accommodation and amenities were urgently needed for the hundreds of workers, engineers and technicians who would build the gigantic dam and the turbines – thus Songo was born.

Today the village is still a busy settlement. Almost its entire population is employed by the HCB (Hidroelétrica Cahora Bassa) and visitors are only now allowed unhindered entry to this surprisingly neat and well laid out plateau-top town.

Songo has a hotel, social club, filling station, post office, hospital, supermarket and paved airstrip with immigration. If you approach the HCB offices in Songo (can be arranged at Ugezi camp), you can go on a fascinating guided tour of the power-generating plant and dam wall.

Fishing on Cahora Bassa

The fishing here is said to be reminiscent of the glory days of Lake Kariba (Zimbabwe) in the 1960s, before it was overfished, and the Ugezi Tiger Lodge near Songo and Skip’s Camp at Chicoahave all the boats, equipment and dining and accommodation facilities needed to make fishermen comfortable.

Adventurous anglers should head for Chicoa,  where Skip’s Camp caters to serious seekers of Tiger or Vundu. About 10km (6 miles) before Songo, turn left onto a potholed road signposted Estima E Chicoa and carry on for 40km (25 miles) through Chicoa to the lakeshore. The Kapenta Fishing Association have kapenta (freshwater sardine) fishing camps near Chicoa and Mágoe.

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