Is Zambia Good for Safari?

Weighing the pros and cons of any safari destination before starting your journey is a wise approach. Those of you who might be planning to visit Zambia for their safari trip might ask: Is Zambia good for safari?

Yes, Zambia is a good country for safari due to its unique safari destinations. The country is known for its sustainable safari practices, exceptional wildlife sightings, affordable safari tours, unique landscapes, and birdwatching opportunities. Visitors also admire Zambia’s high quality guides.

How is Zambia a Good Country for Safari?

Let’s look at various safari destinations that make Zambia a good and worthy country for a safari trip.

South Luangwa National Park Makes Zambia a Good Country For Safari

South Luangwa National Park is situated in Zambia’s Eastern province and is an exceptional safari destination that offers a wealth of wildlife experiences. With its abundant fauna and flora, the park is renowned for its captivating safari adventures. Let’s explore why South Luangwa National Park makes Zambia a good country for a safari visit.

Wildlife Riches and Unique Species

South Luangwa National Park boasts an impressive diversity of wildlife, including over 60 mammal species and more than 400 bird species.

Within the park, visitors can encounter magnificent creatures such as antelopes, lions, elephants, and even the exclusive Thornicroft giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest, found nowhere else in the world. This captivating array of wildlife makes every safari experience in South Luangwa truly extraordinary and Zambia a worthy country for a safari trip.

Walking Safaris: A Fascinating Encounter

Walking safaris have become a specialty of South Luangwa National Park. Walking through the park allows visitors to witness lions, leopards, and elephants and delve into the wonders of Zambia’s unique ecosystem.

In addition to encounters with the “big beasts,” these walking safaris provide opportunities to explore termite mounds and gain insights into the park’s flora. Many visitors report that the walking safari in South Luangwa is a once in a lifetime memory.

South Luangwa National Park is famous for its walking safaris, whoch is the primary reason for the popularity of Zambia’s safaris.

The Sanctuary of the Luangwa River

The Luangwa River, the lifeblood of South Luangwa National Park, sustains a wide variety of wildlife, birds, and vegetation. The remarkable concentration of animals around the river and its oxbow lagoons is unparalleled in Africa. This intact major river system enhances the park’s richness, transforming the landscape from a dry, bare bush in the winter to a lush, green wonderland in the summer months. South Luangwa’s changing seasons create a dynamic safari experience, with plenty to discover throughout the year.

Birdwatching Paradise

With an impressive 400 bird species, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migratory species during summer, South Luangwa National Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts.

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply appreciate the beauty of avian diversity, the park’s vast array of feathered inhabitants will captivate you. From the enchanting melodies of bird songs to the sight of magnificent winged creatures soaring above, South Luangwa promises a truly unforgettable bird watching experience.

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park, located in Zambia’s southern region, is a true hidden gem for travelers seeking an authentic African experience. While the majestic Victoria Falls may steal the spotlight, the Lower Zambezi offers a captivating landscape and an abundance of wildlife that will leave visitors in awe. Let’s explore the top reasons why Lower Zambezi National Park should be on your must-visit list.

A Wildlife Haven

The park is named after the mighty Zambezi River, which flows through it, providing a vital lifeline to an astonishing array of wildlife. With over 60 mammal species and an impressive 378 bird species, Lower Zambezi National Park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Keep your eyes peeled for elephants, leopards, buffalo, waterbuck, and the elusive wild dogs as you explore the park’s diverse ecosystems.

Canoe Safaris: Immersive River Adventures

Lower Zambezi is renowned for its unforgettable canoe safaris along the Zambezi River. Embark on a 3-5 day journey, accompanied by experienced guides, and spend nights at enchanting bush camps nestled along the riverbanks. Paddling the channels of the Zambezi allows you to witness wildlife and birds up close, immersing yourself in the untouched beauty of the park.

Lower Zambezi National Park of Zambia provides exceptional opportunities of unique sightings to its tourists.

Thrilling Activities for Every Adventurer

Whether you’re an angling enthusiast or a wildlife enthusiast, Lower Zambezi National Park has something to offer. Engage in catch-and-release angling for tigerfish and bream, or hop on a boat and enjoy the scenic transfer between camps.

For a refreshing hike, head to Chongwe Falls and indulge in a picturesque picnic. Embark on a pontoon boat for afternoon tea and sundowners, allowing you to relax and absorb the breathtaking surroundings. Classic game drives and guided nature walks provide additional opportunities to spot wildlife and explore the park’s natural wonders.

Birdwatcher’s Paradise

With an impressive record of 391 bird species, Lower Zambezi National Park is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. From magnificent raptors to colorful migratory species, the park’s diverse avian population offers endless opportunities for observation and photography. Keep your binoculars handy and revel in the symphony of bird songs echoing through the wilderness.

A Sustainable Haven

Lower Zambezi National Park holds the distinction of being the world’s first carbon-neutral national park. Through the collaborative efforts of lodge operators under the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project, the park has made significant strides in promoting sustainability and environmental conservation. By visiting the park, you contribute to these conservation initiatives and help preserve this pristine wilderness for future generations.

Lower Zambezi National Park invites you to immerse yourself in its untouched beauty, remarkable wildlife, and thrilling adventures. Embark on a journey of discovery and create unforgettable memories in this hidden gem of Zambia.

Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest and oldest national park, spanning an area of 22,400 square kilometers. It gained its national park status in the 1950s and remains largely uncharted, allowing for the continuous development of its rich wildlife, plant, and bird species. The park is traversed by the Kafue River, which flows throughout, creating diverse landscapes and habitats. 

Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities in the park, including game drives, birding, canoeing, nature walks, and fishing.

The park is renowned for its game drives, which offer thrilling wildlife sightings. It is also a popular destination for birdwatchers, with a wide variety of bird species to spot. Canoeing is an exciting activity that allows visitors to explore the park’s waterways while sharing the environment with crocodiles and hippos.

Walking safaris provide an intimate and immersive experience in the wilderness, while fishing enthusiasts can enjoy angling in the park’s rivers. Other activities include exploring the park’s diverse ecology, spotting wildlife, and learning about the local culture through cultural tours.

Kafue National Park is a vital conservation area and part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. Despite facing challenges such as poaching and human encroachment, the park still retains large tracts of wilderness, making it a potential exceptional tourist destination. 

Efforts are being made to improve park management, law enforcement, infrastructure development, and community engagement to restore and protect its wildlife populations. With its vast landscape, diverse wildlife, and remote lodges, Kafue National Park offers an opportunity to support Zambia’s tourism industry, generate revenue for conservation efforts, and provide benefits to local communities.

Highlights of Kafue National Park include its status as Zambia’s largest national park, its establishment in 1950, and its diverse wildlife, including 158 mammal species, 515 bird species, and various reptiles, fish, and amphibians. The park has the potential to become a globally significant wildlife sanctuary, hosting key species such as elephants, wild dogs, cheetahs, and lions. Its incredible tourism potential makes it an emerging premiere destination within Zambia and across Africa.

Kafue National Park provides excellent wildlife sighting opportunities to its visitors

Accessing Kafue National Park can be done by road from Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, which takes approximately 13 hours, or from Livingstone, another major city, which takes about 16 hours. It is also possible to reach the park by air through chartered flights from Lusaka and Livingstone. The park’s history dates back to 1924, when the local inhabitants, the Nkoya people, were displaced from their traditional hunting grounds.

In terms of wildlife, Kafue National Park is home to a wide range of species. Common sightings include antelope such as lechwe, puku, and zebras. During the dry season, other species like kudus, bushbucks, elands, reedbucks, and waterbucks are more prevalent. Lions are sought-after inhabitants, often found near herds of pukus and lechwes, their preferred prey. The park is also inhabited by elephants, leopards, cheetahs, cape wild dogs, hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, and various bird species.

Liuwa Plains National Park

Liuwa Plains National Park is a remarkable wildlife destination located in the Upper Zambezi floodplains of Western Zambia. Spanning an expansive area of 3,600 square kilometers, the park is characterized by vast wooded islands and a sprawling plain that stretches 70 kilometers in length and 30 kilometers in width. The park derives its name from this expansive plain, which transforms into a magnificent water landscape during the flood season from late December to early May.

The Zambezi River, normally 100 meters wide, swells to a remarkable 40 kilometers during these flood months, giving rise to a diverse habitat of water, swamps, reeds, and islands. Amidst this remarkable scenery, a thriving ecosystem thrives, supporting a variety of wildlife. One of the most awe-inspiring sights in Liuwa Plains National Park is the presence of approximately 30,000 blue wildebeest that roam the plains, accompanied by zebra, red lechwe, oribi, eland, buffalo, and other antelope species.

While these herbivores dominate the landscape, they also attract numerous predators. The park is home to hyenas, wild dogs, and a few cheetahs that prey on the abundant antelope population. Currently, there is only one lion present in the park, but plans were underway in 2009 to introduce additional individuals to bolster the population. The birdlife in Liuwa Plains National Park is simply breathtaking, particularly during the migration months of May, June, November, and December. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of species, including blacksmith plovers, secretary birds, grey herons, storks, Hottentot teal, and both wattled and crowned cranes. The park is renowned for its black-winged pratincoles and serves as a crucial breeding ground for the slaty egret and whiskered tern.

In addition to its diverse wildlife, Liuwa Plains National Park is also notable for its successful coexistence between humans and animals. The park is home to approximately 12,500 people who have been appointed as guardians of the park for over 200 years. Their dedication to protecting the park has led to a harmonious relationship between local communities and wildlife, serving as an inspiring example for conservation efforts in Africa.

The park is bounded by two significant rivers, the Luambimba and Luanginga, which further contribute to the diverse ecosystem within its boundaries. Due to the scattered distribution of wildlife across the plain, spotting animals may require some effort, but with patience and perseverance, visitors can expect to witness a plethora of beautiful creatures, including wild dogs, African lions, and buffalo.

For bird enthusiasts, Liuwa Plains National Park is a haven, offering a chance to observe numerous species in their natural habitat. The wet season from November to April sees a significant influx of migratory birds to the plains, providing an incredible opportunity to witness these avian wonders.

Despite being one of the least visited parks in Zambia, Liuwa Plains National Park offers a truly unique and unforgettable safari experience. With its rich wildlife, awe-inspiring landscapes, and the harmonious coexistence of humans and animals, this hidden gem is a must-visit for safari enthusiasts and nature lovers seeking an authentic African adventure.

What Does Other People Think of a Safari Trip in Zambia

Let’s see what other safari tourists have to say about the worthiness of Zambia as a safari destination. We talked with a half a dozen safari travelers who have been to the country and asked them if Zambia is good for safari. They told us their reasons why they think it is a good country for a safari trip. Here are all the reasons.

  1. Abundance of Wildlife

Zambia is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo). It also offers the opportunity to spot unique species such as Cookson’s wildebeest, Thornicroft’s giraffes, black lechwes, and the rare African shoebill.

  1. Remote and Unspoiled Wilderness

Unlike some popular safari destinations, Zambia’s parks and reserves are not crowded with tourists. The country offers vast, wild open spaces where you can experience the untamed beauty of Africa with fewer people around.

  1. Walking Safaris

Zambia is renowned for its walking safaris, which allow you to track wildlife on foot and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of the bush. This up-close and personal experience provides a deeper connection with nature and a chance to appreciate the finer details of the African wilderness.

  1. Rivers and Wetlands

Zambia is blessed with remarkable rivers like the Zambezi, Luangwa, and Kafue, which add to the allure of its safari experiences. River safaris, canoeing, and boat trips offer unique perspectives and opportunities to observe hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of waterbirds.

  1. Variety of Parks and Conservation Areas

Zambia boasts a significant number of protected areas, including three premier national parks (South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi, and Kafue). Beyond these, there are lesser-known parks like Liuwa Plain, Kasanka, and Bangweulu Wetlands, each offering distinct wildlife encounters and natural wonders.

  1. High-Quality Guiding

Zambia’s safari industry is known for its highly qualified guides who provide exceptional knowledge and expertise. Their passion for the bush and conservation contributes to a more immersive and enriching safari experience.

  1. Unique Experiences

Zambia offers diverse activities such as guided walks, boat trips, birdwatching, and even extreme adventure sports around Victoria Falls. The country’s varied landscapes and ecosystems provide opportunities for unforgettable encounters, whether it’s witnessing wildebeest migrations, spotting elusive predators, or marveling at the power of the falls.

  1. Authentic and Community-Focused Tourism

Zambia promotes responsible tourism and has a tradition of community and conservation partnerships. Many lodges and camps are owner-run, providing an intimate and authentic experience. There are also opportunities to engage with local communities and support conservation initiatives.

Final Words

It is due to countries like Zambia that Africa is a worthy safari destination. Despite being less popular among tourists, those who have once visited Zambia safaris remember it for a long time.

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