The greater Bangweulu basin consists of Bangweulu lake and swamp, which are fed by a host of rivers and drained by the Luapula, one of the tributaries of the Congo. David Livingstone described the Bangweulu floodplain as ‘a world of water and anthills’. Visitors lucky enough to visit during nesting season can spot the prehistoric Shoebill bird by mokoro or canoe as well as hundreds of other species. Known also as a hold out of the regionally endemic black lechwe, the wetlands are always alive with movement and the sound thousands of lechwe crashing through the waters. Combine this incredible landscape with the subsistence fishing communities which seasonally migrate in and out of the floodplains and you have a genuine example of strong community conservation. Sunrise over the Bangweulu wetlands guarantees the most stunning start to the African day, and it is a place which will resonate with you long after you leave.
Blue Lagoon National Park
Situated in the northern part of the Kafue Flats in Zambia’s Central Province, and about 100 kilometres west of Lusaka, Blue Lagoon National Park is a small wildlife sanctuary. Most fondly known for its stunning turquoise lagoon, animals and birdlife, the park is also home to picturesque acacia woodlands and vast plains. The landscape attracts thousands of Kafue lechwe, zebra, sitatunga, some buffalo and numerous waterbirds. Having only opened 40 years ago, the park is seen as one of the last relatively untouched natural destinations in Africa. Blue Lagoon is one of the few where herds of hundreds of lechwe can be seen, and several thousand sometimes gather together on the plains. It is also famous for its incredible array of birdlife, and the presence of huge river pythons.
The name ‘Chirundu’ roughly translates to ‘people following one another in a queue’ which hints at this settlement’s primary function as a major border crossing over the Zambezi river between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Wild animals, including elephants, are frequently spotted wandering around the town, apparently unconcerned by the presence of people. Tourists typically make use of Chirundu as a gateway to the nearby Chirundu Petrified Forest and the area’s numerous game reserves including the world-renowned Mana Pools National Park. However, those who linger will find excellent sport fishing opportunities and several fishing camps which welcome visitors and offer boats for hire. On the Zambian side of the river is a slightly smaller town also called Chirundu.
Kafue National Park
Set in the heart of western Zambia, Kafue National Park is the country’s biggest and oldest National Park. Three rivers form the lifeblood of the reserve namely the Lufupa, Lunga and Kafue rivers with the annual summer flood of the Lufupa creating an impressive floodplain delta. The floodplains, rivers, and woodlands support an impressive array of animal and birdlife and a number of private lodges make this remarkable reserve easier to visit. Visitors can look forward to catching a glimpse of the hippos swimming in the waters of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, viewing abundant birdlife and a variety of game on the northern Busanga Plains such as zebras and lions; and in the more remote southern Nanzhila Plains antelopes and elephants can be spotted.
Kasanka National Park
Kasanka National Park is one of the most picturesque parks in Zambia and is open all year round. It contains a rich diversity of animal, bird and plant life including several rare species including sitatunga, wattled crane, Ross’s Lourie and Blue Monkeys. Kasanka is also host to a unique congregation of several million straw-coloured fruitbats every November and December. Witness this spectacle of these bats at dusk and dawn, filling the skies as far as the eye can see. Kasanka also offers a variety of activities including cycling, canoeing, guided walks, game drives, bat experiences and more. Various outings to the surrounding areas can be arranged and visits to interesting sites such as the David Livingstone Memorial, Nsalu Caves decorated by ancient rock paintings and the tumbling Kundalila Falls.
Lake Tanganyika, Zambia
The world’s longest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika, laps the shores of Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Holiday stays along its Zambian banks offer a world of activities, scenery and attractions. As the second deepest lake in the world, with warm, clear waters filled with colourful tropical fish, Tanganyika is a fantastic location for swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, tubing, wakeboarding and waterskiing – and the numerous lodges provide a range of services, facilities and lessons for these activities. Fringed by the Nsumbu National Park, with its fig trees, pools and a hidden waterfall, nature lovers have a world to explore. Numerous animal species can be seen in the area including elephant, hippo, puku, bushbuck and blue duiker. At Mishembe Bay, visitors can indulge in the use of a private beach.
Liuwa Plains National Park
Situated in the vast expanse of Zambia’s remote Western Province, Liuwa Plains National Park is a world-famous wildlife sanctuary. It is home to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa and is known to have the world’s highest population of hyena. This pristine wilderness is characterised by endless golden savannah and grassy floodplains stretching over 3600 square kilometres. The park is inhabited by a diverse variety of birdlife and wildlife including: lion, wild dog, zebra, cheetah, buffalo, roan antelope and flocks of crowned and wattled cranes, to name a few. Visitors can enjoy an exhilarating flight over the awe-inspiring floodplains of the Zambezi, stroll past blooming irises and colourful lilies on a guided walking safari, soak up the spectacular scenery on a game drive, or visit a local village and learn about Liuwa’s fascinating history and traditions.
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
Located near the Zambezi River in southwestern Zambia, the bustling town of Livingstone is famous as the home of the magnificent Victoria Falls. One of the original natural wonders of the world, the World Heritage Site is known locally as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. This spectacle is accessible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe and is an ideal place to combine game viewing and water sports. There is much to do including excellent fishing, a thrilling bungee jump and arguably the best commercial whitewater rafting in the world. Visitors can hike around the falls, try zip lining or enjoy the incredible bridge swing. Those seeking more leisurely activities can take sunset cruises along the river, with champagne and snacks included, meander through the vibrant local Livingstone Market, or discover the region’s history and archaeology at the Livingstone Museum.
Located on the Zimbabwean border in the southern reaches of Zambia, the Lower Zambezi region is best known as the home to the Lower Zambezi National Park which features exceptional, undeveloped wildlife areas. It is renowned for its abundant game and a variety of different wildlife can be spotted such as hippos, buffalo, crocodiles, fish eagles and herds of elephants. The landscape features rugged unspoilt wilderness made up of vast floodplains scattered with indigenous woodlands. Visitors can look forward to an array of wonderful activities along the Zambezi including game drives, walking safaris, canoe trips and excellent tiger fishing.
Lower Zambezi National Park
Set opposite the Mana Pools Reserve of Zimbabwe, at the broadening of the Lower Zambezi, the eponymous Lower Zambezi National Park is a wonderland of jaw-dropping scenery, enthralling wildlife, and rich culture. Visitors can look forward to viewing elephant herds reaching up to a hundred strong and watch hippo, buffalo, leopard, lion, and 52 other mammal species play in their natural habitat. Paddle along the river to watch the action along its banks, indulge in sundowners on a pontoon boat while more than 400 bird species surround you, and enjoy the excellent tiger fishing in the area. Don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the spectacular Chongwe Falls for a picnic, lunch on the sandbank with the water at your feet and discover the ancient traditional cultures of the Goba Villages with an interactive tour.
Luangwa National Park
Resting in the eastern part of Zambia northwest of Chipata, The Luangwa National Park is divided into two areas both along the impressive Luangwa river. The South Luangwa National Park is easily accessible and being home to 50 animal species and 400 bird species, it is no wonder that is has been dubbed one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The North Luangwa National Park is almost undeveloped with only three safari operators in the whole area. The Luangwa River is one of the strongest major river systems in Africa, and feeds the abundant vegetation and wildlife. Spectacular trees, plants and exotic wildflowers grow prolifically in the Luangwa Valley. The culture of the people is another drawcard: the friendly, genuinely hospitable Zambian locals welcome visitors and enjoy helping them to explore the area. Don’t miss the opportunity to do some excellent star-gazing in Luangwa’s clear night skies.
Lusaka, Zambia’s cosmopolitan capital, is a typical modern African city. Set on open plains at the heart of the country, the city serves as Zambia’s rapidly developing economic and transport hub with new buildings popping up everywhere and many chain stores and shopping malls springing up all over the sprawling suburbs. Lusaka’s wide, tree-lined boulevards feature a range of tourist facilities including hotels, guest houses, coffee shops, fast food outlets, nightclubs and pubs. Visitor attractions include the Henry Tayali Gallery, showcasing local artworks; The National Museum, covering Zambia’s colonial history; the Lilayi Elephant Orphanage; and a number of colourful markets. Don’t miss the popular Munda Wanga Environmental Park where you will find a Wildlife Park and Sanctuary, Botanical Gardens, Recreational Village and an Environmental Education Centre
North Luangwa National Park
Tourists can only access this magnificent private park via a safari operator, who can take them on exciting walking safaris through the park, where visitors will find themselves surrounded by pristine wilderness. North Luangwa provides a sanctuary for a plethora of wildlife, including buffalo, lion, hyena, wildebeest, bushbuck, zebra, warthog, baboon, puku, elephant, leopard, hartebeest, reedbuck and eland.
South Luangwa National Park
Bordering the Luangwa River, the northern and southern Luangwa National Parks contain some of the most breathtaking and untouched wilderness in Africa. As a result of this and the parks’ successful anti-poaching campaigns, the area has developed into a world-renowned wildlife haven. The South Luangwa National Park is renowned for its walking safari, which allows visitors to view elephant, hippo and even lion close-up under the supervision of professional and knowledgeable armed guides.
From its source in the North-Western Province of Zambia, the Zambezi flows into Angola before re-entering Zambia and meandering down to the breathtaking spectacle of the world’s largest waterfall, The Victoria Falls. This section of the river above the falls forms a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and it is here that the majority of water based activities can be found. While the Zimbabwean banks are home to the Zambezi National Park, the Zambian banks are dotted with lodges blending into the natural landscape. The ideal way to appreciate the beauty of the Upper Zambezi is on a guided canoe trip, during which you can camp overnight on the river banks. Exhilarating wildlife encounters can be experienced as your canoe slips silently past a group of hippos, a crocodile lazing in the sun, or a herd of elephant drinking at the water’s edge.
Forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the mighty Zambezi River is the 4th largest river in Africa and forms the Zambezi Gorge which zigzags through the earth’s crust below the Victoria Falls creating a dramatic, beautiful and isolated area. Visitors can look forward to exploring the unique Batoka gorges on an array of Zambezi River hikes, rafting down the white water rapids and spotting a variety of diverse wildlife in the many reserves which line the banks of the Zambezi. Other popular activities include: tiger fishing, canoeing, river boarding, and sunset cruises.
This unique, peanut-shaped country, once known as Northern Rhodesia, offers visitors an authentic African experience complete with adrenalin pumping adventure sports, a variety of fascinating cultural activities, and an abundance of indigenous wildlife, which finds refuge in Zambia’s vast national parks. Spend your evenings enjoying the spectacular site of the world’s largest waterfall, the Victoria Falls, while sipping on sundowners after an exhilarating day of whitewater rafting down the rapids of the mighty Zambezi River. If that sounds a little too adventurous for your taste, take a houseboat cruise along the exquisite Lake Kariba while watching wild elephants drink at the riverbank as you try your hand at catching the elusive tiger fish. However you choose to spend your time in this unique country, you are bound to leave with a heavy heart and a desire to return again soon to this exceptionally beautiful Southern African country.