Zambia Holidays & Safaris
It is the raw physical and spiritual energy that makes Zambia one of Africa’s most thrilling countries to visit. As the churning waters of the Zambezi River disappear into a cauldron of swirling mist, the sheer magnitude and majesty of the Victoria Falls become apparent. Three hundred feet of basalt gorge resonates to the thunder of these life-giving waters as they surge downstream.
Kafue National Park
Covering an area similar in size to Wales (22,500sq km) Kafue National Park is one of Africa’s largest and also one of the most geographically diverse wildlife havens. Its remote location and poor accessibility have helped to preserve its pristine environment, which reveals some of the finest game viewing to those who visit. With the abundance of plains’ game in the area, predators thrive here with several large resident prides of lion, as well as a significant number of leopard and hyena.
Cheetah are quite regularly seen in the Busanga Plains area and even the endangered wild dog occurs in many parts of the park as its vast size suits their wide-ranging existence very well. The elephant population is increasing gradually and there are a number of small family herds, whilst there are also large herds of buffalo in the area. The antelope population is dazzling with large herds of red lechwe and puku in the Busanga Plains area along with bushbuck, roan, sable, oribi, eland, kudu, reedbuck, duiker, impala and also zebra and blue wildebeest.
Meanwhile the waters of the Lunga and Kafue Rivers are alive with large pods of hippo and also significant numbers of crocodiles on account of the fish-rich waters. With the fertile riverine ecosystems and the rivers teeming with aquatic life, this is a birder’s paradise with a bird population totalling over 450 species recorded. Bee-eaters, kingfishers, wattled and crowned cranes, African finfoot, black egrets, storks, pink-throated long claw ibises and vultures are all resident as well as many raptors including the graceful fish eagle and darters and cormorants. With several small, exclusive and rustic camps strategically set in differing areas of the park the opportunities for game viewing are excellent and include day & night game drives, bush walks, canoeing and fishing.
Our preferred camps in this area include:
Busanga Bush Camp
Kasanka National Park
Situated in a remote region to the west of South Luangwa, Kasanka is a beautiful park famed for its gathering of millions of straw-coloured fruit bats in the months of November & December.
The park encompasses a number of different ecosystems ranging from evergreen forests to papyrus swamps and as well as the bats is home to large herds of puku, elephant, buffalo, sable and roan, as well as the shy and elusive sitatunga (which can be observed from a well concealed tree hide).
There is also excellent birdlife in Kasanka with wattled cranes, green sunbirds, Lady Ross’s turaco and the African finfoot all present.
Our preferred lodges include:
Livingstone & Victoria Falls
Where the gently swirling waters of the Zambezi River suddenly plunge more than 100 metres vertically down into the deep, basalt gorge throwing up great clouds of spray hundreds of feet into the air can be found one of nature’s most spectacular wonders. Famous the world over, the power and energy of the Victoria Falls are both breathtaking and awe-inspiring.
The ‘Flight of the Angels’ over the falls themselves allows an unusual perspective whilst other activities in the area include a boat trip to Livingstone Island on the lip of the Falls for a champagne lunch, a visit to the museums and local markets of Livingstone town, game viewing in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, picnic lunches on one of the river’s islands, white water rafting, bungee jumping, game viewing in the Zambezi National Park, canoeing or golfing.
Two particularly fine lodges in the area are Tongabezi: a small, secluded lodge set in a shady grove of ebony trees situated approximately 20 km upstream from the mighty Falls; and the River Club, which has a distinctive Edwardian flavour and enjoys a tranquil setting amongst the lush riverine vegetation, boasting just ten luxury thatched chalets – a true romantic’s paradise!
Our preferred lodges & hotels include:
The River Club
Sindabezi Island Camp
Royal Livingstone Hotel
Zambezi Sun Hotel
Sussi & Chuma
Stanley Safari Lodge
Islands of Siankaba
Lower Zambezi National Park
Below the wall of the Kariba Dam the mighty Zambezi River descends just 42m (371m to 329m in altitude) over a distance of around 150 km, which accounts for its very gentle pace and the wide meandering across much of the valley floor.
The valley is made up of the Lower Zambezi National Park and the Chiawa Game Management Area on the Zambian side and the Mana Pools National Park (designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) on the Zimbabwean side.
The vegetation is lush and the wildlife abundant throughout the area, making it the ideal place to enjoy both excellent walking and canoeing safaris: it is often possible to see the game wading across the river between the different National Parks. Buffalo and elephant are resident here in large herds whilst antelope species include eland, kudu, impala, waterbuck and bushbuck as well as zebra and wildebeest. Large prides of lion lord over the valley with other resident carnivores including leopard and spotted hyena. Crocodiles can be seen basking on the muddy banks whilst large pods of hippo wallow in the river with the occasional snort and flick of an ear or gaping yawn to show off some huge yellow molars.
There are a number of excellent camps in the area which offer superb game viewing either on foot, by 4×4 safari vehicle or even by canoe which allows you to enjoy wildlife viewing from a totally different perspective.
Our preferred camps include:
Sausage Tree Camp
Chongwe River Camp & Chongwe River House
Kasaka River Lodge
Tsika Island Camp
Amanzi Bush Camp
Mobile Walking Safaris
The most exciting way to experience and enjoy the African bush is on foot and Zambia offers the very best in walking safaris. To walk in the bush is to interact with it and appreciate it from a very different perspective, allowing you to discover with your professional guide all the smaller and more unusual animals, plants and facets of some beautiful wildlife areas. We work with several different walking safari operations in the South Luangwa, each of which offer a truly exhilarating and professional service.
Robin Pope has lived in this area for the past 25 years and is considered to be one of Africa’s top guides. It is possible to join a fully mobile walking safari sleeping under canvas in mobile tented camps or at any of three secluded bush camps, namely Tena Tena, Nkwali and Nsefu. The mobile camps are simple but comfortable with walk-in tents, bucket showers and long-drop toilets. The walks typically last for 7 – 10 nights.
Meanwhile Norman Carr Safaris operates four bush camps – Nsolo, Luwi, Kakuli & Mchenja – all of which are small and exclusive and beautifully located for you to soak up the true essence of this magical park. The ideal safari is to have a couple of nights at each bush camp, walking between each one and then have a full day’s game viewing having reached each camp. You can also choose to start or finish your safari at the main lodge of Kapani.
You tend to walk early in the morning when the day is still cool, before resting beneath the shady canopy of a handy ebony or fig tree to enjoy a well earned lunch and siesta. The game viewing in the area is exceptional and this is brought to life by being in the company of some of Zambia’s finest guides.
Our preferred walking safaris include:
Robin Pope Safaris
Norman Carr Safaris
The Bushcamp Company
Remote Africa Safaris
North Luangwa National Park
Comprising part of the same Rift Valley system and sharing similar vegetation and landscapes to South Luangwa, North Luangwa is a wonderfully wild area where the main focus is on bush walking (game drives are limited on just a few bush tracks). The clear, shallow Mwaleshi River flows permanently through the park, even at the height of the dry season, and can be easily crossed on foot.
North Luangwa National Park measures just over 4600 sq. km and has traditionally been much less visited than its southern counterpart. Private walking safaris started to be operated here in the mid-1980’s and the American zoologists, Mark & Delia Owens, brought the area to wider attention with the publication of their book Survivor’s Song.
The native game species to be found in the park are almost identical to those in South Luangwa with very similar ecosystems. However there are some notable differences: as well as a number of East African bird species found in North Luangwa which are not found in South Luangwa, the Cookson’s wildebeest is much more prolific here and both eland and hartebeest also tend to be more commonly seen. The buffalo herds reach huge numbers and lion and hyena are the major predators.
Our preferred camps include:
The story of the old manor house of Shiwa Ng’andu rose to fame in the acclaimed book The Africa House and now offers a fascinating insight into the colonial history of Northern Rhodesia, as well as a base to explore an otherwise remote area of northern Zambia.
The house was built by Sir Stewart Gore-Browne in the early 20th Century as a stately home complete with formal gardens and filled with antiques and historical memorabilia. Recently restored by the founder’s grandson Charlie and his wife Jo, Shiwa Ng’andu is a wonderful estate to explore by foot, on horseback, by boat and 4×4 vehicle; there is great bird watching, hot springs for swimming and hill walks to be enjoyed.
Shiwa Ng’andu can be easily reached as an extension from a safari in the Luangwa Valley.
South Luangwa National Park
Although the area had been gazetted previously, the current South Luangwa National Park was only born in 1972 and covers over 9000 sq km of bush with only the great Luangwa River slowly meandering along its rather sluggish course along the wide valley floor.
With the valley arising from ancient volcanic activity, the soils are mineral rich and, combined with the alluvial sediments left by the river, the vegetation has thrived with an interesting diversity of habitats being the result. Stands of giant red mahogany and ebony are seen in the lush riverine vegetation at the confluence of the Luangwa’s tributaries, whilst there are many areas of thick scrubland and large open savannah plains.
With such rich vegetation, the area supports a huge variety of wildlife, including large herds of buffalo and elephant, as well as significant populations of impala, puku, waterbuck, eland and kudu. Thornicroft’s giraffe is an interesting subspecies of the common southern giraffe and the Cookson’s wildebeest is another speciality and a subspecies of the common blue wildebeest. The main predators in the park include lion, leopard and the spotted hyena, whilst the endangered wild dog can quite often be seen here, as can the elusive cheetah. There is also a large variety of resident birdlife with over 400 species recorded including flocks of crowned cranes, colonies of the beautiful carmine bee-eater, as well as African skimmer, egrets and herons.
There are a number of excellent camps within the park, but it is the walking safari that has made this park so famous. Pioneered by the late Norman Carr, walking safaris either under canvas or between bushcamps are one of the most exciting and unusual ways to see the pristine African bush.
Our preferred camps include:
Nkwali, Nsefu, Tena Tena, Luangwa River Lodge, Robin’s House & Luangwa Safari House (Robin Pope Safaris)
Kapani Lodge, Chinzombo, Kakuli, Nsolo, Luwi & Mchenja Bushcamps (Norman Carr Safaris)
Kaingo Camp & Mwamba Bushcamp (Shenton Safaris)
Tafika, Chikoko & Crocodile Camp (Remote Africa Safaris)
Mfuwe Lodge, Kuyenda, Chindeni, Chamilandu, Bilimungwe & Kapamba Bushcamps (The Bushcamp Company)
Puku Ridge Tented Camp & Chichele Presidential Lodge (Sanctuary Lodges)
Kafunta River Lodge & Island Bush Camp (Kafunta Safaris)
The Bangweulu Wetlands
The remote wilderness of the Bangweulu Wetlands is a unique wildlife destination comprising reedbeds and lagoons surrounded by floodplains and forests. The birdlife is a key attraction with a host of waders and other water birds present (including the shoebill stork), whilst the big game includes huge herds of black lechwe, sitatunga, oribi, elephant & buffalo.
Our preferred camp is:
Shoebill Island Camp
Steeped in the legends of great explorers, Zambia remains little changed and the spirit of David Livingstone and his contemporaries lives on in this beautiful country lying at the heart of truly wild Africa. Few have ventured here over the years, but for those who have, the rewards are tremendous as it remains, to the cognoscenti, the ultimate bush experience. South Luangwa is the home of the walking safari with some of the continent’s most diverse animal and bird populations living within the lush valley and just a handful of camps.
Further to the west, the remote Kafue National Park boasts the wildlife-rich floodplains of Busanga and a remarkable population of leopard, whilst on the southern border and hugging the contours of the river, lies the Lower Zambezi Valley. This unspoiled wildlife environment of mahogany forest and riverine backwaters is home to large populations of elephant, buffalo, hippos and crocodiles that wallow in its pools.
Day 1 – Arrive Lusaka & fly to South Luangwa National Park – Tafika Camp – 3 nights
Days 2 & 3 – Two full days of game activities in the South Luangwa National Park
Day 4 – Fly to Livingstone & road transfer to Sanctuary Sussi Lodge – 3 nights
Days 5 & 6 – Two full day of activities in & around Livingstone
Day 7 – Fly to the Lower Zambezi National Park - Anabezi Camp – 3 nights
Days 8 & 9 – Two full days of game activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park
Day 10 – Early morning flight to Lusaka for connection to international flight
2015 price from £ 5,470 per person sharing
(Price based on two people sharing a twin/double room excluding the cost of international flights London/Lusaka/London).
Zambia Bush & Beach
Day 1 – Fly from London Heathrow
Day 2 – Arrive Lusaka & fly to Lower Zambezi National Park – Chongwe River Camp – 3 nights
Days 3 & 4 – Two full days of game activities in the area
Day 5 – Light aircraft flight to Mfuwe & South Luangwa National Park – Luangwa River Lodge – 3 nights
Days 6 & 7 – Two full days of game activities in this area
Day 8 – Light aircraft flight to Lilongwe & then to Likoma on Lake Malawi – Kaya Mawa – 6 nights
Days 9 – 13 – Five full days of activities
Day 14 – Light aircraft flight back to Lilongwe – fly to Johannesburg for connection to London
Day 15 – Arrive London Heathrow
2015 price from £ 6,485 per person sharing
(Price based on two persons sharing a twin/double room excluding the cost of international flights London/Lusaka/Lilongwe & Lilongwe/Johannesburg/London).