Top spots to safari in Zambia


Zambia has been my residence for greater than 30 years now and one of many issues I’ve all the time beloved most concerning the nation is its wilderness, its wildlife and its wonderful safari experiences.

Zambia arrived comparatively slowly to the safari scene, overshadowed for a few years by its neighbours. Despite having a few of the greatest reserves on the continent, the nation just isn’t almost as well-known or as fashionable as its safari rivals in Southern and East Africa. With its pristine landscapes, numerous wildlife and distinctive conservation efforts, Zambia is one among Africa’s greatest stored safari secrets and techniques, and whereas not as high-profile as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa or Botswana, these within the know will let you know that that is one among Africa’s greatest safari spots, and one which’s not stricken by the hordes of vacationers that invade different wildlife locations.

Birthplace of the strolling safari and residential of the thundering Victoria Falls, Zambia is the place to be if you wish to see swamp-dwelling tree-climbing lions, the planet’s best mammal migration, the continent’s second-largest wildebeest migration, a number of endemic species not discovered wherever else and naturally, an entire lot extra. Whether you’re in search of the Big Five or simply in search of the unspoiled African wilderness, Zambia has all of it. Let’s discover 5 of the nation’s prime safari locations.

Lower Zambezi National Park – For recreation drives, fishing and canoeing

The Lower Zambezi National Park is one among Africa’s best wildernesses. 4,092km² of unspoilt nature. With no paved roads, it’s uncommon to come across one other safari automobile, and nighttime right here is all about sitting out by the fireplace, underneath a sky filled with stars.

The Zambezi, Africa’s fourth longest river, types the boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park.  The space is an unimaginable wildlife sanctuary – herds of elephants and buffalos, lions, leopards and wild canines, and over 400 completely different chicken species. Whilst the variety of animals just isn’t as nice as some parks (there are not any giraffe, wildebeest, cheetah or rhino right here) the fantastic thing about the park lies in its wildness and the alternatives to get proper up near the wildlife.

Most of the wildlife is concentrated alongside the river, so an effective way to expertise the park is to board a ship, or drift silently previous the riverbank in a canoe – you’ll see loads of hippos peeking curiously above the water’s floor, and look out for the magnificent carmine bee-eaters who nest within the riverbanks from September to November. The river can also be residence to the coveted tiger fish – extremely prized by severe sport fishermen.

Where to remain

Sausage Tree Camp is the epitome of bush stylish, set in a surprising location alongside the Zambezi River proper within the coronary heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The guides are pleasant and educated, the rooms are nicely designed, opening onto non-public plunge swimming pools that overlook the river, and the cocktails are so good you could by no means need to depart! 

South Luangwa National Park – For recreation drives

The 9,050km² South Luangwa National Park is famend as one among Africa’s best wildlife locations, with 60 animal species and over 450 completely different species of chicken. Often known as ‘The Valley of Leopards’, the primary predators listed below are leopard, lion, noticed hyena and wild canine – with the leopard inhabitants being amongst the densest on the planet. Expect to see massive herds of elephants, typically as much as 70 sturdy. South Luangwa can also be residence to the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest, and the near-endemic Crawshay’s zebra.

The greatest method to see South Luangwa’s wildlife is on a morning or afternoon recreation drive out of your lodge. Expect early wakeups as most morning drives set off at round 6am. You’ll return to camp for a center of the day siesta, after which head out once more within the afternoon – the animals are extra energetic at these cooler instances of day. South Luangwa is the place, within the Sixties, strolling safaris first started, the brainchild of conservationist and information, Norman Carr, and so they’re a terrific method to view wildlife, massive and small.

Where to remain

Shawa Luangwa is a small, eco-friendly bush camp overlooking the Luangwa River in one of many park’s most untouched areas with wonderful yr spherical recreation viewing.

North Luangwa National Park – For strolling safaris

The distant 4,636km² North Luangwa National Park is synonymous with strolling safaris. The great thing about this park is the chance to expertise Africa because it as soon as was; wild and untouched. No recreation drives are permitted within the majority of the park and entry is primarily by strolling safaris. You’ll depart the 4×4 game-drive automobile at camp and set out on foot together with your information and an armed park ranger, to stroll amongst elephants, antelope, zebra and even the occasional predator, all the time sustaining a protected distance from the magnificent wildlife. In addition to sturdy populations of buffalo and elephants, there’s a variety of black rhinos, making it the one Big Five park in Zambia. North Luangwa is a specialist safari vacation spot, solely really useful for seasoned safari-goers who’re used to roughing it within the bush.

North Luangwa is one among three nationwide parks within the Luangwa Valley, the others being South Luangwa and Luambe. Between the North and the South parks, on the japanese financial institution of the Luangwa River, is Luambe National Park. It’s small, overlaying solely 250 km², and is often solely visited when travelling the rugged route between north and south parks by highway and Luambe Camp is the one lodging possibility.  

Where to remain

Remote Africa Safaris function two camps that concentrate on guided strolling safaris. For the extra adventurous Samala and Ituba Community Camps, run by non-profit North Luangwa Conservation, supply self-catering, and for the intrepid, there’s the Amatololo Experience, a self-drive tenting route.

Kafue National Park – For wildlife variety

At 22,400 km² Kafue National Park represents 36% of Zambia’s National Parks land, and when mixed with the encircling 45,400 km² of Game Management Area, the ensuing wildlife space of 68,000 km² represents a staggering 9% of Zambia’s whole landmass. This is Zambia’s oldest and largest National Park and one of many continent’s wildest. A land with out fences and with few roads, however with a unprecedented array of wildlife, Kafue is called for the river, the lifeblood of the park, that dissects it, virtually north to south, operating for greater than 250km.

Whilst Kafue doesn’t have the large herds of recreation that may be present in different parks, what it lacks in density it greater than makes up for in variety. There are at the very least 161 species of mammal, 6 cat species, and 22 species of antelope (Kafue boasts the very best antelope variety of any African park). The park can also be residence to roughly 500 species of birds.

The Busanga swamps, with their adjoining flood plains, within the far northwest of the park, are a spotlight of Kafue. Much of this northern sector is completely waterlogged, however within the dry season (May to November) the water recedes, leaving huge expanses of lush grazing, irresistible to an array of wildlife, notably massive herds of purple lechwe and puku.

Where to remain

Chisa Busanga within the northern a part of the park is small, good and progressive, with 4 tree-house nests which can be comfy and trendy with a contact of luxurious.

Kasanka National Park – For bats and birds

Kasanka National Park is one among Zambia’s smallest nationwide parks, however one among its hidden treasures and with an unimaginable 480 chicken species and 114 mammals, there’s a lot so that you can see. 

Kasanka is greatest often known as residence to the annual migration of Straw-Coloured Fruit Bats – the most important bat migration on the planet and actually, the world’s largest mammal migration. From October to December every year, about 10 million bats descend on a tiny patch of forest within the park. Migrating from 1000’s of miles away, some from as distant as West Africa. The migration is likely one of the pure world’s best-kept secrets and techniques – even scientists don’t know precisely the place the bats come from, or the place they go once they depart the park.

Beyond the bats, Kasanka provides you wonderful alternatives to see and {photograph} one among Africa’s rarer antelopes, the shy, secretive and semi-aquatic sitatunga – the park is residence to greater than 500 of them, making it Africa’s densest and most seen inhabitants of Sitatunga! The elusive Blue monkey and the little-known Kinda baboon additionally each name Kasanka residence and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter both of those species wherever else in Southern Africa.

Where to remain

The non-profit Kasanka Trust have two fundamental lodges, Wasa and Luombwa, and a seasonal self-catering tented camp.

Liuwa Plain National Park – Wildebeest migration

The 3,369km² Liuwa Plains National Park in distant far west Zambia was as soon as the normal looking floor of the Litunga (King) of the Lozi individuals. Liuwa Plain is residence to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa and but it’s hardly identified. Each yr in November, with the beginning of the wet season, large herds of blue wildebeest, 45,000 sturdy, migrate to Liuwa Plains, usually mingling with zebras alongside the way in which. An unimaginable sight to witness.

Other uncommon antelope discovered right here embody oribi, purple lechwe, steenbok, duiker, tsessebe and roan, and predators embody wild canines, lions and hyena. The birdlife is considerable and the dramatic lightning and storms firstly of the rains, make for spectacular views and unbelievable images alternatives.

Non-Profit African Parks is concerned in managing Liuwa and has reintroduced lions, wild canines, eland and buffalo, in addition to working to guard the park.

In March or April, relying on the rainfall, guests can expertise the historic and epic Kuomboka competition, the place the King and his topics transfer to larger grounds, travelling in a big black and white striped boat alongside the river.

Where to remain

Time + Tide King Lewanika is the one everlasting camp in Liuwa Plain National Park, it has six fashionable, open-front safari tents which can be the epitome of luxurious. Non-profit African Parks have 5 campsites in Liuwa Plain, 4 with fundamental amenities (flushing bathrooms, sizzling showers and photo voltaic lights), and one with out. They even have Sibika Camp, 4 reed mat rooms on raised platforms and a few self-catering amenities.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Zambia is legendary for the Victoria Falls, the best curtain of falling water on the planet, one of many Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a pure border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. On the Zambian facet, you’ll be able to stroll the paths immediately reverse the Falls and cross the precarious Knife-Edge Bridge, for spectacular views of the japanese cataract and up the primary gorge. There are additionally loads of journey actions to do right here, from white water rafting, to microlight and helicopter flights.

The conventional identify for Victoria Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya, appropriately that means ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Mosi-oa-Tunya can also be the identify of Zambia’s smallest nationwide park and the one one within the nation with white rhinos. There are walks and drives on this 23.4 km²park, which is well accessible from Livingstone. The park is residence to giraffe, zebra, buffalo, lots of Zambia’s completely different antelope species and loads of elephants too. One of one of the best causes to go to although, is the white rhinos and reserving a guided stroll within the park gives you an virtually assured likelihood of an up-close sighting. This little sanctuary is free from predators, making strolling right here protected. A go to to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is a good exercise for many who’d like a style of safari however don’t have time to journey additional afield.

Where to remain

Beautiful Thorntree River Lodge is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, simply 20 minutes upstream of the Victoria Falls.

8. Zambia’s Other National Parks

Of Zambia’s different National Parks, Luambe, Lukusuzi, West Lunga, Sioma Ngwezi, and Nyika Plateau have wildlife, however are comparatively undeveloped when it comes to infrastructure and lodging. Isangano, Lavushi Manda, Lusenga Plain and Mweru Wantipa have little administration, only a few amenities, very restricted wildlife populations and are solely value a go to in case you are very intrepid or an excellent eager birder.  Lusaka National Park, simply outdoors the capital, opened in 2015, is the nation’s latest park and is residence to the Game Rangers International Elephant Orphanage.

As a safari vacation spot Zambia is one among Africa’s best-kept secrets and techniques. An wonderful, game-rich, unspoilt vacation spot. A safari in Zambia gives you a style of the actual Africa – wild and untamed.

Sarah Kingdom

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, earlier than shifting to Africa on the age of 21, Sarah Kingdom is a mountain climber and information, journey author, yoga trainer, path runner, and mom of two. When she just isn’t climbing or touring she lives on a cattle ranch in central Zambia. She guides journeys repeatedly in India, Nepal, Tibet, Russia, and Ethiopia, and takes climbers up Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro quite a few instances a yr.

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