In 1855 David Livingstone stood on the banks of the Zambezi gazing at the Falls and described them as “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. Today many visitors flock to the town of Livingstone to view the Victoria Falls for themselves, but very few venture further into this astonishing country to explore the incredible reserves within. For astonishing they are in their beauty, diversity and authenticity. Zambia offers some of the most pristine wildernesses in Africa, wild and untamed, and largely unexplored. Of all their reserves the most well known are South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi National Parks and each bring a dramatic flair to the safari adventure. For those wanting to explore further there is also the extremely special Liuwa Plains and Lake Kariba, among others
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
The oldest protected area and one of the largest in Africa at 22,500km2, this is one of the more interesting stories in the tapestry of conservation in Zambia. For many years until the 1980s the game in this area was poached relentlessly and low visitor numbers meant little to no investment in conservation or protection. Enter Wilderness Safaris in 2005 and their long term plan to build conservation efforts in Kafue, specifically on the Busanga Plains in the north west sector of the park. This is considered the prime area for game viewing. The Lufupa river enters the park’s northwest corner as a substantial stream, filling a relatively modest year-round wetland area known as the Busanga Swamp. What makes this area so unique is that in the wet months up to June/July the Busanga Swamp is under water attracting the most incredible and diverse birdlife, and as this swamp dries up it opens up the area for incredible grazing by a variety of animals, including red lechwe, semi-aquatic puku and buffalo among others. And of course the predators that follow. A truly unique experience is the hot air balloon trip over the Busanga Plains, available at Wilderness Camps. The only region in southern to central africa where guests can enjoy hot air ballooning over a wildlife area.
The concentration of game in this 9,000km2 park is extraordinary, but more so is the nature of the guest experience. In South Luangwa visitors can expect to feel the earth beneath their boots as they forgo the safari vehicle for a slow and steady walk into Africa. Accommodation options can be as adventurous as the experience, ranging from seasonally built reed huts to tented suites. And for the brave enjoy a riverbed sleepout under the seemingly endless starry night while guides keep watch. South Luangwa demands an adventurous spirit, and those who dare will be well rewarded indeed.
LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK
The magic of the Lower Zambezi National Park is in the fact that it is so wild and so authentic, and guarantees any safari experience will be a thrilling adventure. Within easy reach of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, it packs a punch in terms of activities offered. Boating on the Zambezi, catch and release Tiger & Bream fishing, canoeing on the hippo and crocodile filled river, game drives in the national park and bush walks and hikes. All, of course, under the very watchful guide of experienced local guides to ensure safety and maximum enjoyment. Our favourite experience is the surprise luncheon on chairs and tables buried in a shallow part of the river, soaking one’s feet in the gorgeous waters of the Zambezi.
Zambia is a country that will bury itself in one’s heart, begging a return to this true Africa time and time again. Note this is a very seasonal destination, usually only between July and October, and does demand a fair budget to access these utterly pristine and remote regions.
Choose your Luxury Escape
The costs indicated are dependent on various factors including seasonality and availability, they are estimates based on mid to high season rates. Let us put you in touch with an experienced travel planner who will build a package to suit your requirements and budget.