Safari with the wildlife featured on BBC’s Dynasties 2
The latest episodes of BBC’s Dynasties 2 series have featured spectacular cinematography from two areas in which we organise safari holidays. If you have been captivated by the elephants of Amboseli and cheetahs of Liuwa Plain (the programme returns to Liuwa in episode four to focus on hyena) then here is all you need to know about visiting these two super safari areas.
Framed by towering Kilimanjaro – and fed by the waters from its melting glaciated peak – Amboseli is one of Kenya’s smaller national parks and something of a gem. Elephant tramp around parched stretches of savannah, tracked by dust-devils, and gather in vast herds around life-sustaining wetlands amongst strutting secretary birds and prowling lion. Within easy reach both of Nairobi and the coast, this is a good safari stop to spot a wide variety of wildlife very quickly as there isn’t much water and both your trackers, and the animals, know where it is.
Worth knowing about too, are the Chyulu Hills, a range of heavily-forested volcanic peaks that form a natural barrier between Amboseli and the vast Tsavo National Park. Scenically beautiful there’s good wildlife here including a sizeable elephant population. It’s interesting to note that while Amboseli and Tsavo were carved out as Kenya’s earliest official national parks, much of the land around the Chyulu Hills National Park has remained under Masai ownership, and has been at the forefront of the community ranch schemes that helped allow indigenous people manage the wildlife and benefit from tourism. Today, your guide will often be someone who grew up in the area and knows the animals intimately.
Liuwa Plain, Zambia
Away from the Victoria Falls, much of Zambia would be considered pretty off the beaten track. Liuwa Plain, though, takes out of the way to a new level. In fact, tell a seasoned Africa traveller you are going to Liuwa Plain and you have their attention: many have heard of these vast open grasslands in the far west of Zambia but very few have been there.
This magnificent wilderness of seasonally flooded grass plains and wooded islands is likened by some as ‘the Masai Mara meets Okavango Delta’. It is home to Africa’s ‘other’ wildebeest migration, carpets of wildflowers, and prolific birdlife. The lion and cheetah populations are burgeoning, and, unusually, hyena are the top predator with some clans numbering 50.
The wildebeest move to and fro between the western boundary on the Angolan border and the centre of the plains, with the biggest numbers congregating around November/December-time when you can expect to see herds of up to 1,000, with zebra and sometimes tsessebe amongst them, criss-crossing the plains. Among other wildlife are red lechwe, oribi and steinbuck with the less common roan, eland and buffalo.
Birdlife is spectacular year-round. Liuwa is home to large groups of dancing crowned crane, sometimes numbering several hundred and often mingling with the many wattled cranes that are never far from view. Bustards, both Denham and white-bellied, are common and secretary birds are regulars, stalking across the plains. The water birds are diverse in species and the sheer numbers are staggering. Flocks containing hundreds of pelicans, egrets, spoonbills, yellow and open-billed storks gather at the pans, which are often a white carpet of water lilies. The waders run around the shores of these pans keeping any birder occupied for hours. In December the resident birds are joined by many thousands of migrants passing through.
Time + Tide’s King Lewanaka Lodge is the only permanent camp in the park. Designed by acclaimed architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, and with sweeping vistas over the plains it’s a luxurious spot from which to enjoy a complete wildlife immersion in such an extraordinary place.
About the programme
Dynasties 2 is the BBC’s 2022 follow up to the popular Dynasties series from 2018. The first programme in the series aired at 8pm on BBC1 on Sunday 20 March 2022. The four programmes are narrated by David Attenborough who also provided the voiceover for the original Dynasties series. If you’ve missed any of the episodes as they were shown, they are available on iPlayer.
We would be delighted to help plan your perfect safari holiday, perhaps including time in Amboseli, the Chyulus or Liuwa Plain. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.