People tend to forget about Zambia when organising their safari. They think in terms of their more famous regional neighbours: Botswana, South Africa and Kenya with their iconic destinations of the Okavango Delta, the Kruger and the Masai Mara. Even the Victoria Falls is seen purely as a Zimbabwean venue. In our opinion however, Zambia as a safari destination, is easily one of the top five venues in Africa. Unique wildlife, game reserves and national parks as well as one of the most famous rivers and waterfalls in the world make this a safari destination second to none. Coupled with the fact that some of the areas within the country are still more difficult to access makes it a more pure safari experience which tallies with its marketing moniker of “the real Africa” as well as the home of the walking safari.
1.Victoria Falls-One of the old seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls is without a doubt the most popular safari destinations in the whole of Zambia and with good reason. With not only the Falls and the Zambezi River on offer, there are countless adventure activities to be had; from River rafting to bungee jumping and helicopter flights to canoeing all the way through to elephant back riding. Victoria Falls is without doubt as popular as Cape Town, the Kruger National Park or the Okavango Delta.
Getting there: Fly into either Victoria Falls or Livingstone airports, as part of a safari or self-drive.
2. South Luangwa-Undoubtedly one of the greatest wildlife centres in the world.There are very few national parks within Africa that come close to it in terms of wildlife numbers and sightings, it is truly a photographers paradise. You can find wildlife which is unique to this valley. For example: Thornycroft giraffes, Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra. For the birders out there, the South Luangwa offers a paradise all of its own with over 400 bird species to be found. The park itself covers 9050 square kilometres and interestingly only became a national Park in 1972.
Getting there: Fly from Lusaka to Mfuwe International Airport, as part of a safari or self-drive.
3. Kafue National Park-Kafue is Zambia’s largest National Park, roughly the same size as Wales in the United Kingdom. For reasons more to do with marketing and less with experience, the Kafue National Park is not as popular as either the South Luangwa or Lower Zambezi National Parks and which consequently offers the visitor a more exclusive experience. The Busanga Plains found in the north of the park offer fantastic wildlife and birdlife along with luxury lodges, combining to offer a truly memorable safari adventure. The Busanga Plains are famous for their lion, leopard and cheetah sightings along with large herds of buffalo and antelope. We would highly recommend adding the Kafue National Park to any Safari itinerary within Zambia.
Getting there: Fly directly to lodge as part of a safari
4. Lake Kariba-Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man made dam and can be found along the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. 220 km’s long and 40 km’s wide covering a total of 5580 km², the lake needs to be seen to be believed. Certainly one of the more photographic areas within Zambia with classic African sunsets against the backdrop of water and the African bush. One of the main attractions of Lake Kariba is the fantastic game fishing on offer especially tiger fish. Accommodation is either in lodges or houseboats on the lake itself. We would highly recommend a few nights on a houseboat.
Getting there: Forms part of a safari package, fly-in or safari vehicle.
5. Zambezi River-Is the fourth longest river in Africa, has its source in Zambia and flows through eastern Angola, along the eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, then along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and ends up penetrating into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. The river plays host to the mighty Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba and flows past the Lower Zambezi and Mana Pools National Parks. Activities that she offers include canoeing, whitewater rafting, some of the finest fishing in Africa, as well as superb wildlife and birdlife. All of the above locations are highly recommended by the Uyaphi team, as all are easily accessible when on a scheduled or tailor-made Zambian safari.
Getting there: As part of a safari, fly-in or safari vehicle
6. Lower Zambezi National Park-Other than the South Luangwa valley, the Lower Zambezi National Park is without doubt one of the top safari destinations that we have the privilege of offering to our clients. If you’re looking for a remote safari location that offers exceptional wildlife and superb lodging with really exciting activities, this is the destination for you. The park is as wild as wild can get in Africa today. Most safaris will fly directly into this National Park due to difficult accessibility by road although there are a few self drive options ( not recommended especially in summer). Lower Zambezi National Park is best combined with a safari to the South Luangwa National Park; you will certainly not be disappointed with the amount wildlife and photographic opportunities that abound.
Getting there: Fly directly to lodge as part of a safari is the recommend option.
7. Kasanka National Park-This National Park hosts a unique wildlife event every year between November and December when millions and millions of straw-coloured fruit bats congregate during part of a migration. During the day the trees are thickly laden with bats shoulder to shoulder, at sunset in the region of 10 million bats take to the sky in what can only be described as a living cloud. This particular safari is on our bucket list and we highly recommend it to you. Remember, this safari only runs between November and December of every year.
Getting there: As part of a safari, fly-in or safari vehicle.
8. Walking Safaris Zambia and in particular, the Luangwa valley are known to be the home of the walking safari. There are very few places within Africa that lend themselves so well to walking with wildlife and maximises the visual experience. The lodges and camps along with professionally trained guides make for a safari where you are active from morning to night. There is simply nothing like getting up close and personal with a pride of lions or turning a corner and bumping into a herd of buffalo, this my friends is what a true safari is all about.
Getting there: Forms part of a safari package, fly-in or safari vehicle.
9. Tiger fishing on the Zambezi River-Now for those of you out there who love the idea of fishing and fishing one of the best game fish on the planet, Zambia is where you need to be. Flyfishing or spinning for tiger fish on the Zambezi River offers a thrill second to none. The idea of fishing with hippopotamus and crocodiles within the depths of deep dark Africa adds to a truly visceral adventure. The Zambezi River as well as the Kafue River, not forgetting Lake Victoria are the preferred destinations for this adventure. Most Zambian fishing safaris are tailor-made based on your budget and time frame available.
Getting there: Depends on where but in general safari vehicles are used to get you to the point where a boat is waiting.
10. Direct flights into Lusaka-Zambia wouldn’t be one of the top five Safari destinations if access was difficult to the capital city. In the last few years, more international airlines are flying directly into Lusaka, with direct flights from Johannesburg as well as select European cities. Air France, KML and British Airways are among those who fly daily into Lusaka. So with daily international flights available why not make Zambia your next African safari destination? your trip of a lifetime is waiting!
Getting there: Daily flights from Johannesburg as well as select destinations within Europe.
For more of the Best tourist attractions Zambia, see our Zambia Safari page – http://www.uyaphi.com/zambia/safari/