If you love the thought of a slow immensely fascinating three hour bush walk with a world class guide, dream of paddling a two man canoe down the Zambezi as elephants cavort at the water’s edge and kingfishers dive, or crave the excitement of watching a gorgeous leopard move with graceful power through the savannah, you’ll certainly enjoy aZambia safariexperience.
AZambia safariis for people who like their safaris a little more active and adventurous and because the best camps have been set up by enterprising guides, the accommodation, while certainly comfortable, is at heart a “bush camp” each with its own personality.
The Zambezi is one of the world’s great rivers, up to half a mile wide. Its faster flowing near Victoria Falls, slower and filled with wildlife 500 miles east by the Lower Zambezi National Park. From June to November the Lower Zambezi teems with wildlife. The highlight of a Zambia safari in the Lower Zambezi has to be the unforgettable sight of elephants emerging from the bush at the end of a long day to drink, splash themselves down, play and relax on the river. You could sit in a boat with a cool drink and watch them forever.
Further east the South Luangwa in the southern end of the Rift Valley, has some of the best walking country criss-crossed by wildlife, paths, cool streams and a scattering of lagoons, you see huge herds of buffalo, giraffe, antelope, big cats and more elephant.
West of Lusaka, the Busanga Plains are exceptionally beautiful, flat grassy plains with islands of trees and of course no Zambia safari would be complete without seeing Victoria Falls – a mile width of cascading water forcing a spray cloud hundreds of feet into the air.
Zambia is the safari country most influenced by seasonal weather. The reasons are that some areas have “cotton soil” which is impassable after a small amount of rain, and also because the Luangwa River is not controlled by a dam so it floods part of the National Park in the Luangwa valley. The main safari season in Zambia runs from April to November. As that season advances game viewing becomes progressively more spectacular. By July many of the seasonal waterholes have dried out so more animals make their way to the Zambezi, Luangwa and other rivers for vital water. The Zambezi is often besieged by elephants by late afternoon in the second half of the year!
However, the rainy season from December to March can be a great time to take a low cost safari in Zambia focussing upon the all weather tracks of the South Luangwa National Park. At this time the river is in spate, the skies are monumental, the trees magnificent and the birdlife abundant. The wildlife is all there though more spread through the national park.
Victoria Falls is at its fullest from February to September and you can enjoy a wide range of adventure activities there all year round.
Zambia - Useful Information
Direct flights operate from London to Lusaka, Zambia three times a week. It’s just over 9 hours away and from Lusaka a flight of 30 minutes takes you over the escarpment to superb little camps like Chiawa right on the Zambezi River. Or head an hour east by air to reach the heart of the South Luangwa National Park. Other excellent areas like the Kafue National Park, the Busanga Plains and Liuwa are accessible by small plane which can be chartered at reasonable cost to meet your convenience. Victoria Falls is reached by air from all parts of Zambia and from Johannesburg. It is an excellent location for a few days relaxation beside the Zambezi, and for adrenalin rush adventures like white water rafting and microlighting over the mile wide falls.
A visa ($50 depending on your nationality) is available at the airport on arrival. Please consult your medical doctor about vaccinations and malaria protection.
This long wide valley with its big meandering river is perfect for a slow morning walk with an armed scout and expert guide. You feel safe, yet you’re suddenly on the same level as the animals. A walk allows you to see a smaller part of the beautiful landscape in depth, noticing things you’d miss from a vehicle: Leopard tracks, an iridescent dragonfly, an army of marching matabele ants on a raiding mission. Then simply sit by the river for half an hour with a cool drink and watch the elephants drinking and playing.
In the long dry season the Zambezi’s the main water source for thousands of animals. From mid- afternoon elephants, cats, antelope and buffalo emerge from the bush and crowd the water’s edge. This is the best time for a slow boat ride or even better to drift past at a respectful distance in a stable canoe. From superb Chiawa camp the guides will take you downstream by boat past all the animals and birds. Then a vehicle will meet you and you can see them all again as you meander back to camp as the sun sets.
Zambia has many fascinating less visited reserves where you really feel that you’re pioneering. The North Luangwa has amazing walking and a real sense of remoteness. From June to October the Busanga Plains are an ocean of glorious grassland with vast herds of antelope menaced by prides of lion. There’s a huge migration of zebra and plains game across the Liuwa Plains for a few weeks before the end of the year. In May and June the Banguelu swamps are invaded by hundreds of thousands of black lechwe and immense numbers of birds.
We know Zambia and its delightful small camps and lodges intimately. Call us now to plan your perfect Zambia safari.
One of Africa’s great scenic wonders. You can stand half way across facing a mile’s width of waterfall. The ground vibrates through your feet, the roar fills your head and a million droplets of spray swirl upwards - a multi-sensory experience! We’ll take you over the falls in a microlight, below in a raft, and along the big river above on a sundowner cruise. There are elephant back safaris, walking with lions, fishing and much more. The five star Royal Livingstone or the small lodges on the river are perfect for a some relaxation after your safari.
These are just a few experiences you can enjoy on your Zambia safari. Contact us now to plan your perfect safari.