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Best National Parks in Zambia

Zambia has some of the best safari experiences on offer in Africa. The country is home to a variety of different ecosystems, each with its own unique array of wildlife.


Though Zambia's is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, it has an enormous amount of water sources in the form of rivers and lakes that are almost as big as seas.


With its mix of stunning scenery, impressive wildlife, and fascinating local cultures, Zambia is home to some of the best national parks and game reserves in Africa. Whether you're looking for a wilderness adventure or simply want to relax and take in the beauty of nature.


The experiences in Zambia differ very much in the different seasons. During the rainfall in the rainy season (December - March) the country turns green, after which its slowly becomes brownies and animals gather around water pools when the rain stops falling. Which makes Zambia fascinating to visit.


Besides that Zambia is one of the safest countries in Africa to visit, though still poor in many areas the country is developing fast which makes it easy to travel through.


Underneath is our guide to our best national parks in Zambia. Where we show you the highlights of the different parks. We also created a section for special interest and how to prepare yourself for a visit.


Bangweulu Wetlands
Bangweulu Wetlands


Kasanka National Park


Kasanka National Park is located north of Lusaka in the central province about a 6-hr drive. The park is managed by a private non-profit trust that improves the biodiversity and sustainability of the park. Kasanka is a smaller park with lots shallow water lakes, rivers, the famous papyrus swamps with lots of birds, fish and the unique Sitatunga the Marshbuck that can live in the water as well as on land, lagoons, forests, meadows and grassland. Though the park is mostly visited by bird lovers, because of the more then 450 species that can be seen. There are also big animals you can spot like Elephants, Zebra's, Buffalos, Hippos, Antelopes are among the more then 100 mammals you can find in the Kasanka Park. Special to mention are the millions of migrating fruit bats that come between October and December, the biggest mammal migration on the planet. The tree platforms where you can sit and have an amazing view over the swamp. Other activities include game drives and canoe safaris. The Kasamba Women’s Group is conducting incoming generating activities that include making bakery items, grow soya beans and crafting handicrafts.


Kafue National Park


Zambia's oldest and largest national park is about as big as Wales and the second largest park in Africa. Though the park still has a raw, untouched wild safari experience, its very accessible through good roads from Lusaka and its only a 2 hours drive from Livingstone. The vast range of landscapes are divided by three large streams that run through the park. Its a perfect habitat to see Antelopes, but also Lions, Leopards and when very lucky Cheetahs can be spotted in Kafue. The many hippos enjoy the rivers, and there are plenty of birds to discover. The Kafue and Lunga rivers provide excellent fishing spots. Canoeing and boating are among the activities to do in Kafue. Because of the size of the park Kafue is an excellent place to put on your guided self drive itinerary through Zambia and explore the park and its lodges by car.


South Luangwa National Park


This is Zambia's most popular national park, and for a good reason. The Luangwa river runs through the park and creates a very diverse ecosystem with lots of different animals. The meanders of the river create lagoons that are full of hippos and crocodiles. South Luangwa is also home to the densest population of Elephants in Zambia. You can see Leopards, Puku, Cookson's Wildebeest and many more. The area is also excellent for a walking safari where your guide will show you all sorts of different plants and animals that you would normally not see from the car. South Luangwa is home to many excellent family friendly safari lodges. Special to mention is the Project Luangwa, which is supported by some of the lodges in South Luangwa and that supports community development in the area.



Game Drive in South Luangwa
Game Drive in South Luangwa

Mosi-O-Tunya National Park


Mosi-O-Tunya which means in local language The Smoke Which Thunders refers to the indigenous name of Victoria Falls. It is a small park and world heritage site, the falls are the major attraction but you can also see wildlife. Animal life consists of antelopes, zebras and giraffes and also Elephants are often seen. The highlight of the national park is definitely a walk to the edge of the falls, taking about half an hour. The best time for this is usually early morning or late afternoon when there are less people and you can take a swim in one of the small pools at the edge of the falls. There are also many different viewpoints from where you can see the falls, the Knife-Edge Bridge is probably the most famous one.


Lower Zambezi National Park


The Zambezi river forms the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is one of Africa's mightiest rivers. Lower Zambezi National Park is on the Zambian side of the river and just a short drive from Lusaka. The park is famous for its walking safaris, canoeing and boat trips on the Zambezi. You can see a variety of animals like Elephants, Hippos , Crocodiles, and many different kinds of birds. The Lower Zambezi is also becoming increasingly popular for tiger fishing. In the park you find a mix of private luxury safari lodges as well as more affordable campsites.


Read more about the Lower Zambezi Park in Zambia


Best National Parks in Zambia per Interest


Off the beaten track Parks in Zambia:


A selection of top national parks in Zambia that are lesser known but home to even more authentic, wild and raw African wildlife.


Isangano National Park


This park is located in the north east of Zambia and is one of the lesser known parks. It covers an area of 1140 square kilometers, the park is less good to view a lot of different wildlife though Elephants, Leopards, Buffalos, Crocodiles, Elands and can be spotted. The wetlands of the park are a great resting place for migratory birds and for bird lovers who love to be away from the crowds.


Nsumbu National Park


This park is also located in the north of Zambia on the shore of Lake Tanganyika the longest fresh water lake of the world. It has some beautiful scenery over the lake, though not known for its large variety of wildlife. In this park you can find Hippos, Crocodiles, Antelopes and many Bird species. Its a great place for snorkeling, fishing and boat trips on the lake. There are also interesting local stories about the spirits of the lake to discover.


Lusenga plain national park


The national park in the north that receives the most rainfall in Zambia and home to Zambia's 2nd highest waterfall: the Lumangwe Falls. You can also find ancient rock paintings in the park at the Kundabwika Falls. In the park two indigenous groups of people live, the Chishinga and Luda people. Not much spectacular wildlife, there are restocking programs that bring back Zebra's, Puku's and Impala's.


Liuwa Plain National Park


Liuwa is the place in Zambia to see the Wildebeest migration. About 30,000 of them are migrating through the park. Best time to see this is between November and March. The park is located in the Western Province of Zambia other animals that can be found in the park are Zebras, Cheetahs, Leopards, Lions , Wild dogs , Impala's and more.

Lochinvar National Park


The Lochinvar National Park on the south side of the Kafue park has much more to offer than wildlife. In Lochinvar you find hot springs, echoing rocks, lots of caves, remains of a Neolithic settlement and an Iron Age village on Sebanzi Hill, and landscapes with the characteristic Africa ancient tree the baobab. The park also has some beautiful pools that are great for swimming.


Best Parks in Zambia for Birdwatching


Kasanka


Kasanka is an excellent bird watching area with its lush vegetation and over 476 species have been identified at the site. You'll also see birds not or rarely seen in other parks of Africa like the bare-faced go-off bird and the red-chested cordon bleu.


Lochinvar National Park


The wetlands and lagoon are home to thousands of waterbirds. The best time to see them is between November and March. Some of the birds you'll see here are the wattled crane, slaty egret, lesser Jacana and the rosy-faced lovebird.


Bangweulu Wetlands


The Bangweulu Wetlands is one of the largest Ramsar wetlands in the world and a birder's paradise. You can see over 400 species of birds including the shoebill stork, African skimmer and wattled crane.


Luambe National Park

This park is home to the second largest miombo woodland in Zambia and has an excellent variety of birds. You can see species like the red-fronted parrot, Narina trogon and the Livingstone's flycatcher. With over 360 bird species identified at the park, it is definitely worth visiting for any bird lover.


Best Parks for: walking safaris


Lusenga Plain National Park


Lusenga Plain National Park is one of the best parks in Zambia for walking safaris. Not only does it offer some spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, but it also has many ancient rock paintings, interesting local legends, and remains of settlements from different historical periods.


Luambe National Park

Luambe National Park is another great option for walking safaris. The park has a diverse range of landscapes, from miombo woodlands to teak forests, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including some rare and endangered species such as the African wild dog and the Congo peafowl.

Kafue National Park

With its vast areas of wilderness and untouched landscapes, Kafue National Park is one of the best parks in Zambia for walking safaris. The park has some excellent game viewing opportunities, including sightings of big cats like lions and leopards, as well as elephants and antelope.

If you're looking for an unforgettable walking safari adventure in Zambia, be sure to put these national parks at the top of your list!


Best parks for: canoe safaris

In Zambia, canoe safaris are popular among outdoor adventurers. The country has three magnificent river systems: the Zambezi, Luangwa, and Kafue. Each of these rivers offers unique landscapes, wildlife viewing opportunities, and adventure opportunities, making them ideal for canoe safaris.


Liuwa Plain National Park


One of the best parks for canoe safaris in Zambia is Liuwa Plain National Park. Located on the upper Zambezi, this incredible park offers spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities, including sightings of big cats like lions and leopards, as well as elephants and antelope.


Kafue National Park


Another great park for canoe safaris in Zambia is Kafue National Park. With its vast areas of wilderness and untouched landscapes, this sprawling park offers some of the best game viewing opportunities in the country, including sightings of big cats like lions and leopards, as well as elephants and antelope.


South Luangwa National Park


Finally, South Luangwa National Park is another excellent option for canoe safaris in Zambia. This park is home to the world-famous Luangwa River, which is teeming with hippos and crocodiles. Canoeing on the river is an incredible experience, and you're sure to see some amazing wildlife along the way.


Best Parks for Community Experiences


If you're looking for an unforgettable wildlife experience in Zambia, be sure to check out some of the country's best national parks for community experiences. These parks offer unique opportunities to interact with local communities and learn about the culture and history of Zambia.


South Luangwa National Park


One of the best parks for community experiences in Zambia is South Luangwa National Park. This park is home to the Luangwa River, a world-famous wildlife haven that offers incredible opportunities for game viewing and interactions with local communities.


Kafue National Park


Another great option for community experiences in Zambia is Kafue National Park. This sprawling park is home to a wide range of wildlife, as well as several local communities that offer fascinating insights into the culture and history of the region.


Liuwa Plain National Park

A fantastic location for community activities in Zambia is Liuwa Plain National Park. Located near the upper Zambezi, this park has a rich history of human settlement, and is home to many communities that are eager to share their unique traditions and customs with visitors.


Luambe National Park


Finally, Luambe National Park is another excellent choice for community experiences in Zambia. This park is home to a number of local communities, as well as a variety of wildlife, making it an ideal destination for those looking to learn more about the culture and history of the region.


Suggested itineraries to discover the best national parks of Zambia:

1. If you're looking for an unforgettable wildlife experience in Zambia, start by exploring South Luangwa National Park. This park is home to the world-famous Luangwa River, which offers incredible opportunities for game viewing and interactions with local communities.


2. Next, head to Kafue National Park, one of the largest and most diverse parks in the country. This park is home to a wide range of wildlife, as well as several local communities that offer fascinating insights into the culture and history of Zambia.


3. Finally, conclude your trip with a visit to Liuwa Plain National Park, one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the country. This park is home to a rich history of human settlement, and is sure to offer an unforgettable experience.


4. If you're looking for a shorter trip, consider spending a few days exploring the national parks Kafue and South Luangwa. Both of these parks offer incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing and cultural experiences.


Tips for getting the most out of your visit to a national park:


1. When planning your trip, be sure to allow plenty of time to explore the park and see all it has to offer.


2.Bring clothing and equipment that you'll need on your trip, including comfortable walking shoes, sun protection, and insect repellent.


3. Book a guided tour with local experts that can tell your everything about the parks your visit and the animals and people that live there.


4. Above all, be sure to stay safe and respectful of the park's natural environment and local communities at all times.


And that was our blog about the best national parks in Zambia. Contact / +260 966904376 (Kerry) award winning local expert Ntanda Ventures to create your dream safari.

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