We mentioned our love for Zimbabwe last week, so we thought we would continue with this and hop across the Zambezi River to Zambia’s shores and tell you all about our passion for this wonderful landlocked country on Africa’s continent.
Zambia, as well as Zimbabwe, is probably most well-known for Victoria Falls, one of the worlds natural wonders and it is awe-inspiring to set your eyes upon the falls, especially when it is flowing fast and aggressively during its wettest months – for one, you can barely see the falls, due to the sheer amount of water that falls, but you can catch snippets of its vastness and majesty during small breaks in the spray – if you don’t see the whole falls, at least you can take advantage of a ‘free shower’!!
Zambia is fast becoming known as one of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife destinations, with remote corners offering un-compromised wildlife viewing. The Zambian culture is rich and colourful, with traditional ceremonies witnessed throughout the country offering a fantastic insight into the tribal nature of Zambia as country. Zambia consists mostly of high plateaus, hills and mountains, all dissected by river valleys. Zambia’s two main river basins, the Zambezi basin to the South and Southeast, to the Congo basin in the north. These form havens for wildlife. Zambia’s most famous safari destinations are the Luangwa Valley, the Lower Zambezi and the Victoria Falls. These areas combine to create one of the ultimate bespoke safari tours in Africa, with very few people for miles around.
We will start with one of the lesser-known destinations of the Kafue, which is fast becoming a real go to areas to visit. Kafue is the largest and most remote National Park in Zambia, covering around 22,400 sqkm (the same size as Wales) and offers some unrivalled game viewing, completely alone. The Park is sparsely populated with just a few camps and the game is utterly phenomenal. The ultimate destination for those looking for off the beaten track, unique Zambia locations and bespoke itineraries.
Kafue is fed by three main rivers, and the Lufupa in the north-west floods in the summer, creating large floodplains which attract thousands of waterbirds. We often like to call Zambia Botswana’s lesser-known little sister as it offers similar eco-systems to that you may find in Botswana (but with less people!). The Busanga Plains in the far North of Kafue are known as one of Zambia’s jewels. Kafue remains untouched by human hand and development. Places we would recommend you stay are Chisa Busanga’s new and wonderfully quirky ‘weavers’ bird’ nest rooms – if you’re looking for unique stays, this should be on your bucket list!
(Chisa Busanga‘s Quirky Weavers rooms)
(Chisa Busanga‘s main mess area)
Next, we will take you down to the stunning Lower Zambezi. This National Park is a key park of Zambia and just a thirty-minute plain ride from Lusaka. Being half the size of the South Luangwa and lies between the dramatic Zambezi escarpment and the spectacular Zambezi River and is an absolute haven for wildlife, all shapes, and sizes. The many channels, lagoons, sandbanks, and islands open up to open plains, woodland and bush making for extremely diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife. Drifting along in a dug-out canoes, or fishing, after a morning’s game drive is one of the most relaxing ways to see the Zambezi. Walking safaris here are also some of the best, with the most superb guides in the industry stationed right there in Zambia – stay at the luxurious Sausage Tree and you will see what we mean!
(Room views from Sausage Tree)
(Aerial view of the Zambezi River)
Fishing is a key activity on the Zambezi, and you can fly fish as well as cast and reel. There is a strict catch and release for most species. The key species are tigerfish, vundu (similar to a catfish or a barbell) and banded tilapia. The tigerfish gives a good fight, leaping and twisting out of the water once hooked, which makes for a dramatic scenes in the African sunlight – they are sought after by many keen fisherman. The best months to travel to the Lower Zambezi for tigerfish are September to November.
Finally, let us finish our whirlwind trip of Zambia with the South Luangwa. It has long been known as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world and is one of Zambia’s main draws. At 9,050 sqkm the park is centred around the Luangwa River and certainly lives up to its reputation as it is one of Africa’s largest concentrations of wildlife. The density of leopards here is among the highest in the world, although sometimes spotting these elusive creatures can still be tricky. Stay at the Norman Carr camps and enjoy a traditional walking safari experience with one of the oldest companies in Zambia, Mchenja and Chinzombo are some of our favourites.
(a leopard spotted outside of Mchenja)
(views from Chinzombo‘s fire pit)
If you would like to begin planning your trip to Zambia, then please get in touch and we can talk until the end of the world about all the sights sounds and things you are likely to witness and enjoy when staying in this remarkable country.