Zambia boasts some of the finest National Parks in the World
From fishing on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and swimming in Devil’s Pool to fine dining at the exclusive Elephant Cafe — home to a herd of hand-reared elephants — there’s no shortage of things to do in Zambia.
Explorers looking for a road trip across the wilderness will love Kafue, home to an astonishing range of antelope, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs and almost 500 species of birds, while the Luangwa National Park proves a huge hit with honeymooners, with its spa treatments and private pools. Cosy up and share a bottle of wine as the sun sets and the nearby giraffe hum.
Thrill-seekers looking for an adventure will be right at home in Livingstone, home to Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, where among more relaxing sunset and sunrise boat trips, you can enjoy adrenaline-pumping activities like bungee-jumping, white-water rafting and scenic flights over the Falls.
Where in Zambia can you go?
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
In the valley of the Luangwa River in eastern Zambia lie the North and South Luangwa National Parks, world-renowned havens of wildlife. Things to do in Luangwa include going on walks and game drives, where you can spot species exclusive to this region. Visit Luangwa during the “emerald season” (from December to March) and you can cruise down the river and spot the summer migrants, including waders, flocks of herons, egrets, storks and more. Luangwa is also home to the big five, where you’ll see lions and leopards in all their majestic glory.
LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK
For holiday-goers looking for breathtaking scenery and wildlife in abundance but conscious about their carbon footprint, you’ll struggle to find a more perfect place to visit in Zambia than Zambezi. The Lower Zambezi National Park is the first carbon-neutral park in the world, and its tall leadwood, ebonies, acacias and fig trees provide a spectacular view.
LIVINGSTONE VICTORIA FALLS
Located in the south of Zambia, this former capital is a huge attraction and one you won’t want to leave off your travel list. Home to the famous Victoria Falls, a huge 100m waterfall, Livingstone has plenty to offer to intrepid adrenaline junkies and relaxing holiday-seekers alike. Enjoy fine dining at its best with a meal at the exclusive Elephant Cafe, where hand-reared elephants roam within view, or head to Devil’s Pool and swim at the very edge of the waterfall. One of the most majestic sights in Livingstone is Victoria Falls at night.
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Zambia’s largest national park — and one of the largest in the world — lies in Kafue, where adventurers can explore 22,400 square kilometres of terrain. That’s the size of a small country – Wales, to be exact! It’s a truly diverse part of Zambia, with the landscape ranging from flat, open grasslands to woodland and huge granite hills, and you can take your pick when it comes to spotting wildlife. The flat grasslands are the perfect place to see buffalo, zebra and wildebeest, and Kafue is also one of the best places to visit in Zambia to see lions, cheetahs and wild dogs.
No trip to Zambia would be complete without travelling through Liuwa Plain National Park.
Liuwa is Zambia’s best-kept secret, a stunning park with a story to match. Prior to 2003, when African Parks, the non-profit conservation organisation responsible for many national parks across the continent, took over management of Liuwa Plain National Park, the area was in decline. Decades of poaching had near decimated wildlife populations, and only one lioness, Lady Liuwa, roamed the remote plains.
Over the years, new lions were introduced, giving this lonely lioness an opportunity to be reunited with her kind. In 2017, Lady Liuwa passed away, having lived to the ripe old age of 18, but she left behind a legacy that flourishes every day.
Now, Liuwa Plain National Park is home to a healthy pride of lions, along with leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and zebras. It’s also home to the continent’s second-largest wildebeest migration.
East of Liuwa, Kasanka National Park offers a wide range of activities for the solo adventurer and family alike.
You won’t be able to get up close and personal with herds of elephants, and it’s not the best place to spot a lion brushing past your vehicle as it looks for prey, but there’s still plenty to do and see.
As one of Zambia’s smallest parks, Kasanka National Park offers an intimacy that larger parks just can’t provide.
You’ll feel as though it’s just you and the vast landscape, which ranges from miombo woodlands and swamp forest to grasslands and floodplains.
Aside from witnessing the bat migration, which is a sight everyone should behold at least once, you’ll also see hippo venturing out from the waters of the Luwombwa River as well as the swamp-dwelling sitatunga, the rare blue monkey and over 300 species of birds. It’s also well worth a trip to the David Livingstone memorial.
Think of Africa and few would forget to mention Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest freshwater lake. Nestled among lush tropical vegetation opening onto its own exclusive beach, Ndole Bay Lodge offers visitors a singular African experience on the shores of a unique lake.
Long-time residents of the lake include Nile crocodiles and plenty of fish, so if your idea of relaxation is sitting on the shores and catching fish, you’ll be in your element. Common species caught include Tanganyika perch, lake salmon, yellowbelly, tigerfish, bream and more, and if you’re lucky, you may catch the rare golden perch and the giant goliath tiger. Every year in March, the Zambia National Fishing Competition is held, attracting 100s of fishermen from throughout Africa. It’s the most prestigious fishing competition in Zambia, so if you venture to Lake Tanganyika during the six days of the competition, you might be able to pick up some tips from the pros.