Destinations > Zambia
‘Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.’
Visit the great valleys of Zambia; the Zambezi Valley on the one side, the Luangwa Valley on the other. In the Lower Zambezi Valley the Zambezi River will ignite dreams of Dr Livingstone on his early expeditions, discovering the great thundering Victoria Falls and the richness of nature in this greatest of valley’s, reults as the hightlight of many a safari. In the Luangwa Valley you can visit South Luangwa National Park with the largest leopard population in Africa, and North Luangwa National Park, one of the last wild frontiers in Africa.
Zambia has vast wild tracts of diverse habitat little visited, such as the Bangweulu Swamps, where we’ll search for the rare Shoebilled Stork, the Black Lechwe that exists in the 1000’s and in Kasanka National Park you’ll view the Sitatunga antelope. With its vast wilderness, and its infrequently interspersed traditional villages of friendly Zambian people, it can be said that Zambia is the ‘real Africa’!
See the highlights of the Real Africa below;
Lower Zambezi National Park
The Lower Zambezi National Park is in south eastern Zambia. On the opposite bank is Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. The two parks sit on the Zambezi flood plain with the backdrop of the Zambezi escarpment on the Zambian side towering above the floodplain, a fantastic place to walk and explore. The park is surrounded by a game management area (GMA), where both animals and people are free to live and co-exist. The attraction of the Lower Zambezi park and its surrounding GMA is its remote location, hard to get at most of the year by road. Daily flights from Lusaka of about 45 minutes take you into the valley. Most large animals live in the floodplain, including buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards and many antelope, crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Elephants in the rainy season move up into the escarpment, and return to the river for the dry season May – October. The elephant paths that navigate up the escarpment are amazing, given the steepness. Walking in the Lower Zambezi is a treat. Timothy Jackson has walked for many hours in this valley and the area remains one of his favorites. When flying in over the Zambezi escarpment and then down into the valley, it is without doubt a magical experience.
Victoria Falls (Livingstone & Victoria Falls Town)
The Victoria Falls can be accessed from the Zambia side of the falls, or the Zimbabwe side. The ‘town’ of Victoria Falls is on the Zimbabwe side, the town of Livingstone is on the Zambian side of the falls. Victoria Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and early explorer, is the first European recorded to view the Falls — which he did from what is now known as ‘Livingstone Island’ in Zambia, the only land accessible in the middle of the falls. David Livingstone named ‘Victoria Falls’ in honour of the Queen. The local name of ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ means the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. Victoria Falls is recorded as having the largest sheet of falling water in the world.
North Luangwa National Park
North Luangwa National Park is the northern park of three in the Luangwa Valley. Wildlife is widely found, including Cookson’s wildebeest, Crawshay’s zebra and many antelopes and birds. Elephant numbers have recovered from poaching in the 1970s and 80s. The struggle against poaching in the park was described by Delia and Mark Owens in their book The Eye of the Elephant. For many years its wildlife suffered greatly from poaching, but recent years have seen poaching almost entirely stopped. It has generally suffered from a lack of investment and interest compared to the much more popular South Luangwa National Park, although its flora and fauna are very similar to its southern counterpart. In 2003, black rhinoceroses were re-introduced to the park. Walking Safaris are very popular here and for those looking for a private experience North Luangwa offers a very exlcusive experience with the added benefit of unique species such as the Cookson’s wildebeest. Talk to us about combining the North and South Park together.
South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is a world-renowned wildlife haven. It supports large populations of Thornicroft’s Giraffe, herds of elephant and buffalo often several hundred strong, while the Luangwa River supports abundant crocodiles and hippopotamuses. It is one of the best-known national parks in Africa for walking safaris. Leopard are found here in greater numbers than any other park in Africa. Night drives are one of the big draw cards to this park, to see this elusive cat hunting at night. The area just inside the park gate at Mfuwe village is busy, for those who appreciate a more quiet and private experience, South Luangwa National Park is very large and it does not take long to get away from the congestion, the key is to stay in bush camps and to get away from the Mfuwe area. Having said that, some of the best game viewing is in this area, due to hunting and poaching, many animals have learnt that his is a safer area to live. Our experts will help explain how to consider these many aspects while choosing your safari experience.
Luambe National Park
Luambe National Park is cradled on the banks of the Luangwa River in the Luangwa Valley, between the North and South Luangwa National Parks. With only one lodge (Luangwa Wilderness Lodge) and camping available, the visitor can experience a truly authentic and vibrant Africa.
Luambe National Park has a varied and beautiful landscape, and a large number of game species due to its year-round water-holding lagoons. Our clients on expeditions often stay in the campsite here and our upmarket clients enjoy the lodge and it’s lovely location right on the Luangawa River. For those looking for a destination ‘out of the way’ this area will treat you to lots of privacy.
Shiwa Ngandu (Africa House)
Shiwa Ng’andu is a fascinating destination in Zambia. Guests enjoy complete access to the estate, from the extensive historical archives, the wildlife reserve and lake to the day to day workings of the estate farm. Relaxed morning drives, horseriding through the hills, fascinating historical tours and indescribeable afternoon sundowners looking across the lake, make the Shiwa Ng’andu Estate an out of this world experience. The relaxed atmosphere and truly warm Zambian hospitality of all at the Shiwa Ng’andu Estate ensures that every guest feels truly at home and very much a part of the estate’s incredible history and culture.
Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park is the largest national park in Zambia and the second largest park in Africa. The park is named after the Kafue River. Kafue’s attractions include the flooded grasslands in the north, the Busanga Swamps and the Busanga Plains. These areas support large herds of herbivores and their predators. In the dry season the animals keep close to the swamps and are easily seen. Kafue is easily reached by road from Lusaka. It is worth getting deep into the park and getting to the Busanga plains and swamps. Talk to an expert about this exciting area. Going at the right time of year, as with most of Zambia, is very important.
Liuwa Plains National Park
Liuwua Plains National Park is one of the last unknown destinations in Africa. Boasting the second largest Wilderbeest migration, this is another of Zambi’s best kept secrets. As early as the 19th century, it was declared a ‘game reserve’ by the Litunga, the traditional king of Barotseland. Traditionally, the plains were the Litunga’s private hunting ground, and the villagers were charged with looking after the animals for him. Then in 1972 Liuwa Plain became a national park, and its management was taken over by central government – although the local people continue to have rights to utilise parts of the park and its plains for grazing, harvesting of traditional plants, and fishing in the rivers. In the Lozi language that is spoken all over western Zambia, the word ‘Liuwa’ means ‘plain’. There’s a local legend of how one Litunga planted his walking stick on the plains, where it grew into a large mutata tree. This tree can still be seen in the national park. November is classically the best time to visit the park – a balance between catching the best of the game, and yet avoiding any danger of getting permanently stuck in deep mud.
Bangweulu Wetlands (Marshes)
North of Kasanka National Park are the vast Bangweulu Wetlands. Three main habitats exist in the area, open water to the North West, huge swamps in the middle and around the southern and eastern fringes, seasonally flooded grass plains. It is particularly this latter habitat and the swampy Lukulu river flowing through it which are of interest to visitors. They support an incredible diversity of water-birds and plains-birds including the Shoebill and are home to massive herds of the Black Lechwe, an attractive species found only in the Bangweulu. Elephant, Buffalo, Tsessebe, Reedbuck, Oribi and Sitatunga are also adapted to life in this wetland environment.
Bangweulu is a great draw for birdwatchers attracting a profusion of waterfowl. Wattled crane, Saddle-billed stork, Spur-winged goose, Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, White-cheeked Bee-eater, Swamp Flycatcher, Pink- throated and Fulbourne’s Longclaw, Denham’s Bustard and numerous ducks live here. The papyrus swamps along the Lukulu river are also the breeding ground of the Shoebill, a massive grey, do-do like bird found nowhere else in the sub-region. Bangweulu is probably the best place remaining in the world to see Shoebills in the wild, and at the right time of year, no visitor leaves disappointed.
Kasanka National Park
Kasanka National Park’s hide at ‘Fibwe’ is generally rated as Africa’s best vantage point for observing Sitatunga antelopes. 18 meters high in a ‘Mululu’ African Mahogany tree, it gives a panoramic view over the Kapabi swamp. Visitors often see more than 20 sitatunga in a single visit and the record is 94. These elusive antelope are less active during the hotter hours of the day and are best seen at dawn and dusk when they emerge to feed. Visitors occasionally also see Crocodile, Bushbuck, Waterbuck Buffalo and Elephant from the platform. Many species of birds, including Coucals, Mousebirds, Bohm’s bee-eaters, Ross’s and Schalow’s Louries are seen here. The hide is also a perfect site for viewing the Straw-coloured Fruitbats as they leave the adjacent forest to feed at night.
Kasanka hosts a unique wildlife spectacle every November and December when Millions of Straw-coloured Fruitbats assemble from around Central Africa to roost in an area of ‘Mushitu’ swamp forest near the confluence of the Musola and Kasanka Rivers. At twilight bats fill the sky in all directions for twenty solid minutes as they leave their roost site to feed though the night on abundant seasonal fruit of the “miombo” woodlands. This event is one of Africa’s most amazing and unusual wildlife spectacles – never forgotten by those lucky enough to witness it. Visitors can also take guided walks through the forest in the day time to view the bats as they chatter, fly and crawl about their roost. This bat migration has been the subject of intense interest from scientists who are trying to find the reason why so many colonies all assemble in this one corner of Zambia. They report that it is the largest aggregation of mammals in Africa, and probably the most concentrated in the world.
Kapishya Hot Springs
Kapishya hotsprings is a quiet secluded destination situated on the Estate of Shiwa Ngandu (The Africa House) and is set along the banks of the Mansha river. The main attraction of Kapishya is its natural, sulphur free hot springs. The lodge is 32km off the Great North Road. While staying here you can take a tour of the Shiwa Ngandu Estate house, the dream of Sir Stewart Gore Brown. Today the grand children operate the estate with a combination of agriculture and tourism. We generally include staying either at the estate house or the hotspings, when traveling north or south via Kasanka National Park, Bangweulu Swamps and North Luangwa National Park.
Lochinvar National Park
The Lochinvar National Park is an old ranch, designated in 1972 and protected for the Kafue Lechwe and diverse birdlife, with over 400 recorded. The antelope thrive in the absence of large predators, killed by ranchers in the area. Lochinvar offers hot springs, echoing rocks, signs of Iron age and Neoglithic settlements, baobabs and few visitors make this a great little park for a great safari retreat. An old farmhouse offers accommodation and meals.
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- Zambia & Zimbabwe // June 2010 // Charlie & Daphne’s Expedition
- South Africa & Zambia // 11th - 25th January, 2013 // Gabe & Rikki’s Adventure
- Zimbabwe & Botswana // 15th April - 1st May, 2011 // Jose & Zaiton’s Adventure
- Kenya, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe and South Africa // 12th September - 24th October, 2011 // Jack & Alvina’s Adventure