It covers about 2000 km² and has some 80 km of lake shore including four bays (Kasaba, Kala, Nkamba and Sumbu), and Nundo Head Peninsula.
There are two active lodges on Lake Tanganyika, Nkamba (an exclusive lodge within the Nsumbu National Park), and Ndole Bay just north of the park. Kasaba Bay Lodge closed down in 2006.
Sumbu offers game viewing combined with sports fishing on the lake, and a beautiful landscape. The lake shore includes rocky cliffs, the balancing rocks, sandy beaches, and pristine waters, with views to the mountainous eastern shore of the lake. Swimming is discouraged as crocodile and hippo are common. Nkamba Bay Lodge located in the park offers game drives, canoeing, sports fishing, walks, overnight trails and boating safaris.
The park lies mainly in the Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands ecoregion, but also includes patches of the rare and endangered and almost impenetrable Itigi-Sumbu thicket.
The Lufubu River cuts a 300 m deep valley in the south of the park but this is only accessible via rough tracks from Mbala to the south-east.
Until the late 1960s Kasaba Bay Lodge was accessible only by air, or boat from Mpulungu, and catered to wealthy and international visitors. The Mporokoso District authorities had a humble guesthouse at Sumbu Bay, reached by a gravel road from Mporokoso. In the early 1970s this road was connected to Kasaba Bay Lodge, and a new lodge was built at Nkamba Bay.
At that time and into the 1970s, Sumbu was considered to be, with South Luangwa and Kafue, one of the best national parks of Zambia, with elephants and lions being common.
Game numbers in the park declined in the 1980s and 1990s due to a lack of management exacerbated by the cutback of the country’s domestic airline which used to fly visitors to the park. Its remoteness by road and proximity to war and conflict in the DR Congo, the land border of which is only 25 km to the north, deterred visitors.
There has been some refurbishment in recent years and game numbers are said to be rising again.
In 2007 the gravel road from Kawambwa or Kasama via Mporokoso was reported to be in good condition, as was the gravel road from the Luapula River valley via Kaputa on Lake Mweru Wantipa. Construction of a gravel road from Mbala to Kasaba Bay was started in 2010 and is planned for completion in ealry 2011, including a new bridge over the Lufubu river. The bitumen road from Kasama – Mbala, through to Mpulungu was resurfaced in 2009 and is now in good condition.
The Zambian National Fishing Competition takes place at Nkamba and Ndole Bay Lodges in March or April every year.
Animals seen in the park
Crocodile, Hippopotamus, Bushbuck, Warthog, Puku, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Eland, Hartebeest, Buffalo, Zebra, Spotted Hyena, Side-Striped Jackal, Serval, Impala, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Elephant (occasionally), Lion (occasionally), Leopard (occasionally), Blue Duiker (rare), Sitatunga (rare)
Birdlife seen in the park
Flamingo, African Skimmer, Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern, Storks, Ducks, Herons, Grey-Headed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, White-Winged Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Fish Eagle, Palmnut Vulture (occasionally), Pel’s Fishing Owl (occasionally)
Nile Perch, Goliath Tigerfish, Vundu Catfish, Lake Salmon, Yellow Belly Or ‘Nkupi’, Golden Perch (occasionally)