Zambia Travel Destinations & Suggested Accommodation


Zambia - The land of the legendary walking safaris, the Victoria Falls, the mighty Zambezi, breathtaking lakes, abundant wildlife, and raw pulsating wilderness, all packaged in one friendly country.   Zambia can be divided into five distinct regions including Livingstone, South Luangwa, North Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue.  A common question is - "when is the best time to travel?" There is no easy answer. The seasons are divided into the dry months (April-October) and the wet months (November - March). Of course there is variation during these months in temperature and each season has their highlights.

Why book Zambia - many of the camps are small and intimate and are predominately owner run.  Average camp size is around 20 beds for the lodges, around 12-16 beds for the camps and the bush camps have around 6-8 beds.  Zambia has perfected the art of “bush camps” in remote areas, with walking as a specialty.  The guides, mostly locals, are exceptional and are probably the best in Africa, with well- rounded knowledge and experience. 

The best way to experience Zambia is to combine various areas to maximize your experience - DesireAfrica Travel is able to put together interesting and diverse combinations for you.   See our suggested itineraries incorporating various areas and regions now!

Livingstone


Livingstone is an interesting town and you should take a morning to spend time here.  It has not been modernized and the old colonial buildings are still there. In places you certainly feel like you are dropping back fifty years.  The museum is a gem and well worth a visit and if you don't mind being a little pushed, so is the market.  The Victoria Falls is where the wide Zambezi River simply drops some 100 meters into a narrow gorge. The Falls lie across the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Livingstone is the town on the Zambian side. Called "Mosi-oa-Tunya", (the smoke that thunders) in the local language the Falls are one of the seven wonders of the world and when you first come to Zambia Livingstone is must visit destination.  Of course there is more to Livingstone than just visiting the Falls.

The gorges themselves create many high adrenalin stunt-like opportunities; the wide and very beautiful Zambezi upstream of the Falls is wonderful for boating and canoeing.  And of course the bridge is famous for jumping off!  One of the top things to book is a few hours on Livingstone Island - this is a small island right on the edge of the Falls. Here you are not looking at the Falls but are right on the edge, as the water starts to tumble over. Quite an experience.  Then there is viewing the Falls like the angels, from above - by helicopter or microlight.
Livingstone

South Luangwa


South Luangwa is Zambia's premier park. Many places are claimed to be "one of the remaining wilderness areas" or "one of the last wildlife sanctuaries" but the South Luangwa National Park can live up to all these names and more. The Luangwa Valley is vast, remote and home to both people and a truly impressive number of animals.  The South Luangwa Park is 9050 sq. km with the river, its tributaries and the riverine strips being the focus of the wildlife viewing.   There are the diverse habitats, from huge ox bow lagoons of varying stages of maturity, woodlands, ebony groves, grassland and thickets, that host truly impressive numbers of wildlife. The birdlife is also excellent with around 450 species to be seen.  The Luangwa River remains one of the last untouched major river systems in the world.  Each year the river drops to almost knee deep and then rises to the top of the banks.

The river is up to 4 meters deep and averages 400 meters wide and at peak will flow at 47 million gallons per hour. The South Luangwa is known as the home of the walking safari and all the camps offer walks. There are also smaller bush camps or mobile tented camps for those who would like to experience a dedicated walking safari. Walking through big game country is a truly exciting experience and as South Luangwa led the way for guide training and licensing in Zambia the standard of guiding here is superb.  The abundance of leopards in the Luangwa is famous and although not guaranteed it is usual for everyone coming through on a three or more night safari to see at least one leopard. The Luangwa has two endemic species - the Thornicoft giraffe which is found mostly in the central area of the park and the Cookson's wildebeest which is more scattered and only in the north. Usually it is great number of game that impresses people.
South Luangwa

Lower Zambezi


The Lower Zambezi, a key national park of Zambia, is only a 30 minute flight from Lusaka.  Half the size of the South Luangwa (4092 sq km), this park lies between the rugged and dramatic Zambezi escarpment and the wide and spectacular Zambezi River. The Zambezi runs for 120 km through the park and with the protection of the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe on the opposite side this is a haven for wildlife. There are many channels, lagoons, sandbanks and islands along the river and then open plains, woodland and bush areas behind the riverine strip.  The river is a massive attraction to this park - to spend time boating, drifting, canoeing on this extraordinary river with breathtaking views all around is a wonderful experience.

Fishing is a key activity in the Zambezi and you can fly fish as well as cast and reel. There is a strict catch and release for most of the species. The key species are tigerfish, vundu, (similar to a "catfish" or barbell) and banded tilapia. The tigerfish gives a good fight will leap and twist out of the water in the sunlight - they are sought after by many keen fishermen. The best months for the tigers are September to November.
Lower Zambezi National Park

Kafue


Kafue is Zambia's oldest park and the second largest national park in the world (22400 sq. km and about the size of Wales) and yet it is not a park with a success story. For many years the park was mostly unvisited and it is only recently that camps have started to develop. Any undeveloped wildlife area will attract poaching and thus the game has been reduced but it is still exceptional - more in diversity than in numbers.  The park has three main rivers - the Lunga, Lufupa and the Kafue Rivers that combine and feed into the Itezhi Tezhi Lake in the South. In the north the astounding Busanga Plains is an area of swamp, some 750 sq km,  which make it inaccessible in the rains.  But by May, as the water recedes, the birds flock in, the puku and thousands of red lechwe and other species including zebra and buffalo, move back with the water line and the wide open plains become a great wildlife attraction.

The predators here are not only the famous tree climbing lions but also the cheetah which is a rare sighting in Zambia.  The plains are edged by mombo woodland that cover most of the park - broken by the open dambos which become prolific in the south.  These habitats host antelope species which are mostly not seen elsewhere in Zambia, and if are then rarely. Included are sable, roan, blue wildebeest, Lichenstein's hartebeest, oribi, duiker, defassa waterbuck, tsessebe. So having stayed in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi you are unlikely to have seen any of these, hence including a visit to Kafue, for the wildlife enthusiast, is most rewarding. And for any birder, again there will be species you have not yet picked up including wattled crane, purple crested lourie and possibly the Pel's fishing owl.

Kafue National Park
Further south from the plains the game will be harder to see but game drives are still most rewarding. Leopard, lion and cheetah continue to be seen throughout most of the park. For the casual or keen fisherman, there is a chance for superb fishing in the rivers with good bream, barbell and fresh water pike.  The Kafue river runs into the Itezhi Tezhi Lake - a dammed lake of some 370 sq.km at the south end of the park. This is a popular destination for fishermen as it is teaming with bream and the variable shore line of submerges trees, grass lawns, rocky outcrops makes for interesting walking and birding.

North Luangwa


This remote park, once almost forgotten and certainly heavily poached, now offers a superb wilderness experience.  It is 4640 sq. km and has one main honey pot - the Mwaleshi River.  It was turned around by firstly Mark and Delia Owens, then later by the sponsorship of the Frankfurt Zoo. It is really a great example of how a park can recover and the game viewing along the Mwaleshi River is very good and makes for great walking safaris.  There are few roads in the park and the camps offer mainly walking safaris. The game in the area includes the rare Cookson's wildebeest and the occasional eland.  The lion along the Mwaleshi River are known for their confidence and walking safaris can get great views.  The valley is not so wide here and the camps are near the escarpment. A great day's walk is to hike up to the Chipopoma Falls where there are clear water rock pools to swim in.  The North Luangwa remains remote, under utilised and a true gem in Zambia's collection of parks. It is simply unspoiled.
North Luangwa

Zambia Experiences & Camps


Luangwa Bush Camping …. Name one of the most exclusive experiences on offer in Africa and it will be bush camping … What is “bush camping”? …walking with the best of guides, dipping deeper into the bush from the fixed camps by camping out for a couple of nights, dinner and stories around the fire, simple but delicious food… When staying at Tena Tena and Nsefu you can walk between the two lodges for two to three days, camping on the way.  This is simple camping but with that extra touch of comfort.  Tents, mattresses on the ground, sheets and blankets, wash basin, shared 60L bucket shower, bush loo, full bar and food service, fully serviced camp (except laundry).  The walking is in one of the most lagoon-rich areas of the Luangwa and hence the game is superb.

Kawaza Village … Robin Pope Safaris and the Nsefu Community have worked together to start the Kawaza Village.  The village is an authentic village with extra huts built to house overnight visitors. Day visitors are also welcome. Time is spent with the villagers, learning about their life. There is the chance to meet the Chief, a local traditional healer, to spend a morning with the ladies collecting water and cooking, to help with constructions and dance with the ladies. The food is totally traditional and delicious!  Many guests say the visit to Kawaza is the highlight of their safari.

The Bushcamp Company own and run a group of seven individual bush camps, some are within walking distance of each other,  allowing you to choose to experience each camp individually, walk through the park by day and camp at a new location at night or to relax for the entire duration of your stay in the camp of your choice.

Zambia Experiences & Camps
Island Bushcamp - this small, personalised camp lies under a grove of Mahogany trees on the banks of the Luangwa River two hours south of Kafunta River Lodge. The Island Bushcamp offers rustic accommodation in grass/reed huts built on silts that ensure safety from wild animals and provide an unlimited view of the Luangwa River. The five chalets are equipped with the modern comforts of hot showers and running water. The Island Bushcamp emphasis is on exclusive walking safaris, which are accompanied by a safari guide as well as a National Park ranger, alternatively game drives can be arranged.

Norman Carr Safaris runs Kapani Safari Lodge as well as operating four seasonal bush camps.  Kapani Safari Lodge is a privately owned lodge situated on the banks of a large lagoon beside the Luangwa River. Accommodating 20 guests, the ten brick and thatch rooms are designed with high ceilings, overhead fans and large gauzed windows. Each of the eight standard suites has an en-suite bathroom and a lounge with bar fridge and individual room safes.  Two Lagoon Houses overlook the Lagoon and are very private and spacious with en-suite facilities. The camp is on mains electricity. Attached building in the centre of the camp houses the lounge and library. The bar and dining area overlooks the Kapani Lagoon where there is plenty of space for guests to relax between game drives.

Remote Africa Safaris currently run three camps in the South and one in North Luangwa.  Tafika Camp is the home and base camp run by John and Carol Coppinger.  There are four double grass chalets with two double beds in each, all en-suite and a honeymoon chalet with king-sized bed and en-suite with twin shower.  In addition there is a family chalet with a king size bed in one room and two double beds in the other - shared bathroom. The chalets are made of grass/reed walls and a thatched roof. Tafika offers walking, driving and cycle safaris. There is also a hide overlooking a small waterhole.  The camp is outside the park, but a mere 5 minute drive to get into the Nsefu sector on the one side and  a canoe trip across the river to walk in the park on the opposite bank in front of camp.

Crocodile Camp and Chikoko Camp are the Walking Trails camps and are conducted in a scenic area in the northern sector of the South Luangwa National Park, containing an abundance of wildlife. Being a Wilderness Area, there are no roads: all game viewing is done on foot. The 3 day trails move between the two bush camps, simple but comfortable with en-suite bucket showers and flush loos.

Shenton Safaris is the safari company of the Shenton family, which has a proud history of three generations of wildlife conservation in Southern Africa.  Derek Shenton lives at Kaingo and guides at the camps.  Both Kaingo and Mwamba are located in one of the most game-intensive areas inside the South Luangwa National Park. This area, opposite the Nsefu sector and so with park on both sides of the river, allows visitors to experience this ancient valley without interference from human settlement.  Kaingo Camp is a well-established twelve-bed, brick and thatch lodge overlooking the Luangwa River.  The large centrally located open-sided sitting room includes a dining area, library and Kaingo's renowned leadwood bar. Accommodation comprises of four twin bedded chalets and two honeymoon suites. All the rooms have en-suite facilities, are well ventilated, mosquito-proofed and silently lit by solar power.

Wildlife Camp is a safari-camp on the banks of the Luangwa River, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. The property is situated on land owned by Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ).  A considerable portion of funds generated are donated to the WECSZ - roughly 60% of all the accommodation and camping fees, supports the wildlife and people of the Luangwa Valley and Zambia.  Wildlife Camp is divided into four main parts, all with its own unique atmosphere and views.  The lodge offers a tranquil setting alongside the Luangwa River and lagoon areas.  The main bar and restaurant caters for all tastes and is conveniently located.  The tented camp is located with magnificent views over the Luangwa River.  It is perfectly set up for groups of up to 10, but also for the independent traveller with its own entertainment and barbeque area and a self-catering kitchen.



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