Zambia is one of Africa’s wildest and unspoilt safari destinations, offering an authentic safari filled with unforgettable animal encounters. The Luangwa Valley pioneered walking safaris which offer the ultimate wilderness experience, whilst the Lower Zambezi is home to boat and canoe safaris and awesome elephant activity, or how about the second largest wildebeest migration on earth in the exclusive Liuwa Plain? And who could forget the majestic Victoria Falls – no trip would be complete without visiting them!
Ask any safari specialist for their favourite spot in Africa and Zambia will often feature highly. The wilderness experience, exceptional game viewing and outstanding guiding on offer are often their explanation for this.
Getting out on foot is a huge draw for visitors to Zambia’s South Luangwa and North Luangwa National Parks, with Norman Carr establishing the concept of walking safaris back in the 1950s. Over half a century later this is still one of the top reasons to go on safari in Zambia, offering unique encounters with wildlife which wouldn’t be possible if confined to a vehicle and spending each night in remote bush camps. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or not you are sure to find the perfect walking safari, and will relish in the feeling of wilderness that it offers. Wildlife viewing is always rewarding with South Luangwa being famed for its leopard sightings and endemic species including Thornicroft giraffe as well as a recovering population of the endangered African wild dog.
One of Africa’s most diverse safari experiences is on offer in the Lower Zambezi National Park where the mighty river plays host to a wide variety of activities with boat cruises, canoe safaris and fishing complimenting bush walks and game drives. The game viewing on offer is impressive, although not often on the same scale as the Luangwa Valley, but the scenery is hard to beat. There can be few more breath-taking encounters than canoeing through a channel only to see a herd of elephants swimming across from the Zimbabwean side of the river and the birding is exceptional thanks to the river. The Lower Zambezi is perfect in combination with a more intensive safari experience in the South Luangwa or as a standalone destination for those after a more relaxed safari without compromising on experience.
For those looking for the ultimate in wild experiences, Zambia is home to two of the most exclusive national parks – Kafue and Liuwa Plain which offer truly off-the-beaten-track safaris. Kafue is not just Zambia’s, but Africa’s largest national park and similar in size to Wales or Belgium. Game viewing is varied thanks to the diversity of landscapes with the north of the park around Busanga Plains offering higher densities with particularly impressive lion sightings (often found climbing trees) as well as leopard and some of the rarer antelope species including roan and sable. Liuwa Plain in the far west of the country is one of the most remote (yet accessible) of Africa’s safari destinations and for true aficionados it is a must-visit. One of the greatest spectacles on offer here is when tens of thousands of blue wildebeest migrate across the plains, as well as despite there being a small pride of lions, hyenas ruling the roost as the apex predator.
Whether at the beginning or end of a Zambian adventure, Victoria Falls never fails to impress and is perfect if you are looking for adrenaline-fuelled activities or just to relax by the river for a few days. Known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, translated as ‘the smoke that thunders’ it is one of Zambia’s most popular attractions and is best viewed from the air on a ‘flight of angels’ or for the particularly brave, by taking a dip in Devil’s Pool on the lip of the Falls.