How to do Zambia

June 22nd 2020  |   Wildlife Safaris, Countries, Experiences, Zambia  |  by   Alice Gully
How to do Zambia

Zambia tops the list of many safari specialists’ favourite southern African countries. The woodlands, the rivers, the elephants, the bright red sausage tree flowers, the Zambezi valley escarpment, walking safaris, boating, excellent wild dog and leopard sightings, and exceptional guiding make it a first class safari destination. On top of that, the camps and lodges are wonderfully authentic, built with locally sourced natural materials, so guests can feel at one with the landscape they are exploring.

Puku Ridge sleep out

The sleep out deck at Puku Ridge

The two most famous national parks, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa, deliver an incredibly varied safari experience with day and night wildlife drives, boating and walking safaris, plus fly camping and star beds for those who wish to try them. As good for first timers as for experienced safari goers you can’t go wrong with this combination. You will see plenty of lion, elephant, hyena, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and have excellent chances of seeing leopard and wild dog, all in the company of guides whose knowledge is exceptional. You’ll feel comfortable seeing the bush on foot or by boat, and magical sightings of elephants crossing a river or hyenas stealing a kill from a pack of wild dog are not uncommon. Try Tusk and Mane and Nkonzi for a super-authentic safari, or Old Mondoro and Puku Ridge for a little more luxury in the bush.

Old Mondoro bathroom with elephant

Elephant investigating a bathroom at Old Mondoro Camp

Other possibilities include South Luangwa and North Luangwa, or multi-day Lower Zambezi or multi-day South Luangwa itineraries.

Zambia and Malawi work beautifully for those wanting an adventurous safari and beach combination (it’s a particularly good option for families travelling with teens). You’ll find warm hosting and safari guides who go the extra mile to ensure you have a great time, plus enough variety to keep you entertained at every step of the journey. Combine two properties in South Luangwa, perhaps Time + Tide Kakuli and Time + Tide Nsolo – you can walk between the two – before flying to Lake Malawi for a touch of barefoot luxury where Nkwichi or Kaya Mawa would be great choices.

Crystal clear waters on Lake Malawi close to Nkwichi

Other possibilities include South Luangwa and Mauritius or South Luangwa and Mozambique.

This is a great itinerary if you want a few days on safari plus time to unwind, but do not necessarily want to just lie on the beach. Victoria Falls is choc-a-block full of adventures for all ages. Highlights include seeing the falls, a picnic lunch on Livingstone Island, a sundowner boat cruise on the Zambezi, white water rafting, walking with rhinos, canoeing safaris, helicopter and microlight flights. A safari in South Luangwa, on the other hand, offers total wilderness, outstanding wildlife, expert guiding and varied activities including day and night drives, walking and fly camping. Try Ilala Lodge, Chundukwa River Lodge, Tongabezi or Mpala Jena for the falls, and Flatdogs Camp, Tafika or Lion Camp for safari.

Mpala Jena Camp private dining by the Zambezi at sunset

Mpala Jena’s wonderful setting on the Zambezi River

Other possibilities include Victoria Falls and the Lower Zambezi, Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park or Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta.

This is the exciting one for which we have a phrase in the office; ‘the answer is always Liuwa Plains’. A mix of the Serengeti’s open plains and the Okavango Delta’s maze of wetlands this is a stunningly beautiful national park where visitors can enjoy day and night safaris, boating and walking in the company of superb guides with not another soul around. The wildlife is good and it’s one of the best places in Zambia to see cheetah. Unusually, hyenas are the apex predator here, with over 400 of them roaming the plains. The park is at its best in the Christmas and Easter holidays, making it a great option for families with children over 12. Have a look at Time + Tide King Lewanika. Liuwa Plains combines brilliantly with Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta.

Cheetah in Liuwa Plains

Other possibilities include Kafue National Park, Kasanka National Park and North Luangwa.

What next?

If this has inspired you to dream about future safaris, please do get in touch – we would be delighted to chat, no matter how early in the decision making process you might be. Email is probably the best way to contact us right now and we’ll respond as quickly as we can – usually on the same day.  We very much look forward to talking to you.

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