Off the beaten track, Zambia is a destination for those who want their Safari experience with a true wilderness feel. Less visited than many other African destinations Zambia offers a phenomenal variety of wildlife in some extraordinary habitats. It’s a vast country, and it’s prime wildlife areas are dispersed across a wide area, but air links are good, and the intrepid traveller will reap rich rewards.
Zambia’s famous parks include the South Luangwa National Park, a stunningly beautiful area centred on the meandering Luangwa River and its lagoons. Concentrations of game are amongst the most intense in Africa and it is renowned as the place to see leopard. The river teems with hippo and crocodile and provides a lifeline for one of the greatest diversities of habitat and wildlife, supporting more than 60 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds.
The Zambezi – the mighty Zambezi River forms the Southern border of Zambia and it’s here in the Lower Zambezi National Park that you’ll find plenty of wildlife, including numerous elephants and hippo. Boating and canoeing safaris offer the opportunity to view the wildlife from a new perspective, and the sunset cruises are spectacular!
The South Luangwa Valley – home to Africa’s largest concentration of leopard the South Luangwa area is also home to thriving populations of Wild Dog, as well as Lion, Hyena and all of the plains game that keep them well fed!
Liuwa Plain National Park– proclaimed a protected area in 1880 Liuwa plain is one of the oldest conserved areas in Africa. It’s home to the second-largest Wildebeest migrations on the continent, a thriving Cheetah population, and fantastic birdlife, but is relatively unvisited, offering adventurous travellers an unparalleled experience. It’s the only national park in Zambia where people live inside the park, and the seasonal migration by boat of the Lozi from their fishing villages is a spectacle to rival the wildlife.
African Wild Dog – One exciting success story of recent years is the resurgence of the African Wild Dog population in South Luangwa. Over the past decade numbers have strengthened considerably and today, although far from guaranteed, sightings of wild dog are common.
Lower Zambezi National Park – Here, guests are guaranteed plentiful Elephants & Hippos, as well as the opportunity to fish, canoe or just laze on a deck and watch adventure unfold.
Kafue National Park – Wild & remote, due to it’s annual floods access to this fabulous national park is limited to just 5 months of the year. With plentiful game species such as Puku, red lechwe, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, oribi, buffalo and wildebeest Kafue is renowned for some of the best Lion viewing in Africa.
Great reasons to Visit
Walking Safaris – Zambia is the home of the walking safari, and you’ll never feel more alive than when you’re on foot with an experienced guide, allowing you to become part of the landscape rather than just a spectator.
Boating Safaris – The Zambezi offers amazing water-based game viewing all year, and it’s even possible on the meandering Luangwa between January and April. Or stay dry and get a different perspective on Elephants & Hippos while you sip a sundowner on the banks, the photo opportunities are outstanding.
Adventures at Victoria Falls – white water rafting, helicopter rides, bungee jumping are just some of the activities on offer for adrenaline junkies. Alternatively, marvel at the view while taking a stroll along the edge of the famous Mosi oa Tunya, (Smoke that Thunders), just don’t expect to stay dry!
Quality of Guiding – It’s widely known amongst safari aficionados and old Africa hands that the quality of guiding in Zambia is second to none. The guides undergo rigorous training and no matter if it’s your first safari or your 21st you’ll always learn something new.
Photo opportunities – Zambia is a photographer’s dream! The perspective offered by boating safaris enables even the most inept snapper to capture some fantastic shots. Leopards are easily the most photogenic predator on the planet, and you’re virtually guaranteed multiple sightings in South Luangwa. During the autumn the banks of the Luangwa are home to vibrant, camera loving colonies of Carmine Bee Eaters.
The summer months are when the most rain falls. Temperatures range from 31-35 max, down to around 20-23 min at night.
WINTER (May – end Aug):
It typically stays fairly cool in the evenings and at night until around the middle of September. Temperatures during the day reach an average of 28-32 degrees, falling to an absolute minimum of around 11 or 12 degrees at night.
HOT SEASON (Sep –Nov):
From the end of August until the first rains come in around the middle of November it gets hot. From the end of September temperatures reach an average of 36-38 degrees in the middle of the day and fall to around 18-20 at night. After this time until the rains come temperatures can rise to a maximum of around 42 degrees, only falling to around 26 degrees at night.
“There’s something about Zambia that really ticks all my boxes. Low tourist numbers, abundant wildlife, and truly wild spaces. There are fantastic camps to suit a range of budgets, the guides always teach me something new, while the walking and boating are brilliant. It’s possible to take a 10day safari in Zambia and feel like you’ve been out of the world for weeks. In an ideal world, I’d stop off in Oman on the way home for some sea and sand.”
Lucie Thaxter, Savile Row Travel Africa Specialist
We advise that you seek advice on recommended vaccinations and precautions from a health professional – either a GP, a practice nurse, a pharmacist or a travel health clinic – ideally at least eight weeks before departure. Visit NHS Fit for Travel for Botswana specific guidance.
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How To Get There
The main hub in Zambia is Lusaka, which is served by numerous airlines, the easiest option being Emirates via Dubai. From Lusaka it’s a short scheduled flight to Mfuwe for the South Luangwa, or Jeki and Royal airstrips for the Lower Zambezi.
Livingstone is also an international hub and is served by British Airways, Qatar and South African amongst others. A short flight connects to Kalabo for Liuwa Plain.