Spacer Spacer
I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Freshwater Fishes


Water covers some 70% of the earth's surface, an essential supply to ensure man's survival. Freshwater bodies such as lakes and rivers cover only a small percentage of the total surface of the land. Much of Africa is generally arid and Namibia in particular is generally very dry. Perennial rivers such as the Kunene, Kavango, Chobe and Orange occur to the north and southern boundaries, but interior rivers are either periodic (flowing during certain periods of the year only) or episodic (flowing at varied and unpredictable intervals).

In the broadest of terms, a fish is a cold-blooded vertebrate animal that lives in water, by breathing through gills. They have fins for stability and movement. Fishes in rivers often congregate at either the tail or the head of a pool. This is because the current of a river naturally carries food there and predators such as tiger fish will go visit to feed, and anglers will follow suit to try and catch them feeding. Trout prefer the protection of boulders and rocks to avoid the current while feeding and yellow fish and catfish head to the quieter backwaters and bays for food.

When it comes to hunting, fish have always been an obvious choice for food. This has been no different in southern Africa and for as long as man has been in the area, traditional fishing methods have been used on the floodplains of the upper Zambezi and Okavango rivers in Namibia and Botswana.

Traditional fishing methods are both active and passive. Traps, fences and funnels woven from reeds and grasses are still used. So is the use of rod and line, bows and arrows, fishing spears and plunge baskets. Villagers drive fish into bays and backwaters where they can be more easily caught with baskets. Thrust baskets are used in the Okavango floodplains, where groups of between 10 and 20 women form lines to drive and catch fish. These drives take place when the water levels are low, as the fish have become more concentrated in pools or pans.

Fish farming is also on the increase in Namibia. Rainbow trout and sharp tooth catfish are two of the main species cultured, and other species include various 'tilapias' as well as common carp, largemouth bass and goldfish as well as wide variety of ornamental fishes.

Angling is by far the largest participator sport in most parts of the world and especially in Namibia. Boat cruises along the Kavango and Chobe rivers can be organized to specialize in fishing trips, where tilapia, tiger fish and nembwe are in abundance. There are many lakes and dams in the country that are also perfect destinations for a fishing trip in Namibia.

Freshwater species:

  • African pike (Hepsetus odoe)
  • Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
  • Cave catfish (Clarias cavernicola)
  • Largemouth bass (Micropterus samoides)
  • Largemouth yellowfish (Barbus kimberleyensis)
  • Nembwe (Serranochromis robustus)
  • Otjikoto tilapia (Tilapia guinasana)
  • Sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus)
  • Smallmouth yellowfish (Barbus aeneus)
  • Tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus)
For more information you can visit our website at