Zambia: Off-the-beaten-track Safari Experiences
Zambia is wild in the way the wild ought to be done. As the original home of the guided walking safari, this is safari country at its best. Travelling in Zambia will take you into a remote wilderness where animals wander through unfenced camps and where the human footprint is almost non-existent.
Zambia will reward you with some of the most exceptional safari experiences on the planet at its many National Parks. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is home to giraffes, zebras, impalas, and abundant birdlife. Zambia’s other national parks include massive Kafue, whose woodlands, plains and wetlands sustain lions, elephants, and hippos. Another exciting Zambia safari destination is South Luangwa, where leopards, giraffes, buffalo, and other animals are viewable by walking safari.
Although landlocked, Zambia has more natural water resources than any other destination in Southern Africa. The Kafue, Luangwa and Zambezi rivers flow through Zambia to feed seventeen magnificent waterfalls, defining the country’s geography and providing adrenaline-fueled thrills or a leisurely playground of activities for all ages. Above all, Zambia is famous for sharing “the smoke that thunders” with neighboring Zimbabwe. So your Zambia safari will undoubtedly include Victoria Falls.
Blessed with natural wonders, wildlife, impressive bodies of water and vast open spaces, Zambia offers unforgettable holidays exploring Africa at her most authentic.
Best Time to visit Zambia:
The best time for a safari in Zambia is during the dry season, from May to October. This is when animals congregate around the rivers and waterholes. Similarly, the best time to see Victoria Falls is from June through September.
Experience a sense of wonder at Victoria Falls: Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders.”
Discover the incredible wildlife of the Lower Zambezi National Park; make sure to enjoy a sunset cruise.
For the ultimate off-the-beaten-track experience, head to the Busanga Plains for a hot air balloon safari.
Top Destinations in Zambia Safari
One of the Africa’s oldest and largest parks, Kafue National Park is a patchwork of different habitats thronging with wildlife. The Kafue River dissects the park’s undulating terrain from where it enters the park in the North East, to where it culminates at Lake Itezhi-Tezhi to the South.
The unspoilt grasslands, riverine forests and floodplains of Kafue stretch across a massive 22,400 km2 of western Zambia. The park has several airstrips and is imminently accessible by chartered flight. However, a 350 km self-drive from Lusaka is an easy scenic option on relatively well-graded roads. Within the park itself a 4 x 4 vehicle is recommended.
Despite its accessibility, the area is largely unfrequented by the tourist hordes and therefore offers a truly remote safari experience for the nature purist. Combine your Kafue safari with a tour of other Zambian highlights or a visit to the breathtaking Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Kafue River alternatively meanders or thunders across the plateau, hosting hordes of hippo, crocodile and fish. Take a boat safari or canoe trip to hippo-spot and enjoy the sunset spectacle of lions drinking at the water’s edge, carefully monitored by the ever-alert impala, puku, bushbuck, and waterbuck nearby. The park has a rich mammal population including elephant, buffalo, sable, roan, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, spotted hyena, and endangered wild dog.
Take the opportunity to explore on foot like the pioneers of old, view the vast herds of wildebeest, zebra and antelope grazing on the Busanga Plains from the lofty perspective of a hot air balloon or enjoy the adrenaline rush of a night drive in search of the elusive leopard. An African safari at Kafue is a quiet, but intense bushveld experience.
Best Time to Visit Kafue National Park
While some of the camps stay open and boating activities are available throughout the year, the flooded plains in the wet season can affect accessibility in large parts of the park. Wildlife viewing peaks during the drier months from June to October.View
Eastern Zambia’s South Luangwa Park is a game-rich 9050 square kilometre stretch of fertile valley-floor, cupped by the Muchinga Escarpment to the West and North West and Luangwa River to the South. Located at the tail-end of the Great Rift Valley, this park is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries. The woodland savannahs of Luangwa teem with animals, including large herds of buffalo, Thornicroft giraffe, zebra and elephant and around 14 varieties of antelope.
The Park’s magnificent predator population includes lion prides of up to 30-strong as well as wild dog, caracal and jackal. The wary resident leopard are most likely to be seen on one of Luangwa’s unique escorted night drives, along with smaller creatures like serval, genet, civet, and honey badgers.
South Luangwa National Park is just a two-hour drive from Mfuwe International Airport in the Mambwe District of the Eastern Province, an airstrip serviced by domestic carrier, Proflight Zambia.
Best known for its privately-guided walking safaris, South Luangwa National Park not only provides on-foot and up-close encounters with its resident wildlife, but also the opportunity to explore its extraordinary tree population, including the odd-shaped Baobab, ancient creaking Leadwoods, Sausage trees, Tamarinds, Wild Mango and the dramatic scenery of the Ebony Forests. Indulge in a walking tour and Inhale the dusty essence of the African bush, relish the warmth of the sun on your shoulders and discern the nicker of nearby zebra amongst a tapestry of sounds carried on the breeze.
The spectacular oxbow lakes that characterize South Luangwa National Park are rich repositories for wildlife such as basking crocodiles, elephant, buffalo and water birds. The lakes’ ever-changing foot traffic leaves a unique history along the water’s edge as the sun crosses the sky.
Best Time to Visit the South Luangwa
Prime wildlife viewing at South Luangwa National Park is during the dry season from July to October. However, a visit during the wet season from November to April, when some lodges are still open, affords visitors the priceless sight of a multitude of newborns clustered amongst the vegetation.View
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Top Experiences in Zambia Safari
Hop from camp to camp and enjoy the full breadth of the Lower Zambezi’s fresh-water fishing opportunities, with not only tigerfish on offer, but Chessa, Nkupe, bream and barbel too.
The breathtaking Kafue National Park is best enjoyed from the air, where wildlife such as red lechwe, puku and blue wildebeest can be spotted leaping through the grassy seasonal Busanga floodplains.
Drift, paddle and glide down the ever widening Zambezi River in a shared canoe, while watching for hippo grazing on the bank, swimming elephants and a beautiful array of birdlife.
For a truly remote safari experience away from high visitor numbers, a trip to Liuwa Plains in Zambia’s far west is recommended. Your rewards include abundant birdlife, dramatic skies and prowling predators…
Widely considered the birthplace of the African walking safari, South Luangwa is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream. Wander through woodland savannah with your knowledgable guide to come across elephant herds, rare Thornicroft giraffe and baobab trees.