Set on open plains at the heart of the country, Lusaka is Zambia’s capital and a city rapidly transforming into a transport hub in the area. This growing metropolis has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years, with bustling city markets, a number of upmarket restaurants and bars, and good flight connections around the country. Although travellers do not typically stay here for long, we believe it warrants a couple of nights and not just a welcoming rest stop enroute to Zambia's national parks.
It’s definitely a badge of honour if you’ve managed to visit the South Luangwa National Park. The ‘walking safari’ was pioneered right here in the Luangwa Valley, and is considered by many safari veterans as the ultimate safari activity. Lasting from two hours to several days or more, walking safaris are not strenuous, contrary to what one might assume, and can be custom-made to suit different fitness levels. One of the best spots in Africa to view leopards, the concentration of wildlife that lives around the Luangwa River is one of the highest in Africa, with vast pods of hippos numbered in the hundreds, as well as a healthy lion, buffalo, elephant and African wild dog population. It is also a beloved destination for birdwatchers as the park has well over 400 species of birds.
A great add-on to a South Luangwa safari, its wilder sister is for safari enthusiasts who want to feel the earth beneath their feet. There are very few roads in the area, and most game viewing is done almost entirely on foot with some of the best bush guides in the country. Lodges here are rustic and intimate, giving off a ‘proper’ bush camp vibe. There are plenty of lions around, with large herds of buffalo and the endemic Cookson’s wildebeest. You can also head to Mwaleshi Falls nearby on a day-trip excursion.
Lower Zambezi National Park is one of Zambia's premier wildlife viewing areas along the northwestern bank of the Zambezi River, and the opportunities to get close to big game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are unparalleled. There is an escarpment along the park's northern end which acts as a physical barrier, resulting in most of the game being concentrated along the valley floor. Enormous herds of elephants, some up to 100 strong, are often seen at the river’s edge, and the park also boasts a satisfying population of lion and leopard.
Another breathtaking destination for walking safaris, the Kafue has remained largely untouched and today, 67 percent of the park has been designated as a ‘wilderness area’ where only walking safaris can be conducted. Being Zambia's oldest national park and also one of the largest national parks in Africa, the Kafue has no shortages of stimulating experience to be had, with the Busanga Plains in the north regarded as the jewel of the park, as the area is synonymous with the large herds of red lechwe and buffalo, accompanied by all the major predators.
Proclaimed as a protected area by the King of the Lozi people in the 1880s, Liuwa Plain remains the only national park in Zambia where people still live inside the park. Back in the day, the monarch was called the Litunga, meaning ‘Guardian of the Earth’, and it was the Litunga who originally placed the Lozi people in the area as official gamekeepers. The park hosts the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa, a burgeoning cheetah population, along with hyenas in clans of 50 or more as the park's apex predators. Other wildlife include zebra, buffalo, tsessebe and more than 300 bird species.
This national park is one of the most remote and unspoilt wilderness areas in Zambia, boasting a rich diversity of animal, bird and plant life, including the rare sitatunga antelope and up to 400 bird species. Between October and December, up to ten million straw-coloured fruit bats take centre stage and descend onto a tiny patch of evergreen swamp forest inside the park, a phenomenon unique only to Kasanka.
Bangwuelu means ‘the place where water meets the sky’, and it’s certainly a photographer's paradise with its abundance of wildlife including flocks of diverse waterbirds within arm’s reach. The Great Bangwuelu Basin incorporates the vast Bangwuelu Lake and a massive wetland area, and you’ll be staying on an island camp, where you can get on your ‘mokoro’ and venture off to witness the action or take part in impromptu community visits.
The rewards of travelling around Zambia include excellent walking opportunities, viewing wildlife from hides, day and night game drives, fishing, boating and canoeing. This is undoubtedly one of Africa’s best all-round safari destinations.
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.