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Zambia

Zambia

Zambia is blessed with awe-inspiring natural wonders and offers the experienced safari traveler an opportunity to see an extraordinary amount of wildlife and explore some of the most remote wilderness areas. Formally the territory of Northern Rhodesia, Zambia obtained independence from the UK in 1964. The country is landlocked, sharing its borders with an astonishing eight other countries. Its three great rivers — the Zambezi, Luangwa and the Kafue — flow through Zambia and are the foundation of the country’s top wildlife areas. Zambia's premier park is South Luangwa National Park, home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife including smaller predators such as civet, genet and mongoose. In the west of the country is the vast and largely untouched Kafue National Park, Africa’s largest parks and hidden gems, covering some 22,400 sq km (8,648 sq mi), making it comparable to the size of New Jersey, Belize or Israel. The park supports an abundance of big game including elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and even cheetah. The Lower Zambezi National Park stretches along a narrow swathe (4,000 sq km or 1,544 sq mi) on the river of the same name. It’s home to enormous herds of elephant and sightings of lion and leopard are a regular occurrence. The river eventually flows over the mighty Victoria Falls, one of Africa’s if not the world’s natural wonders and Zambia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. The relatively low number of tourists makes for a satisfying safari experience.

Location: Southern Africa, east of Angola, south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Border countries (8): East (Malawi and Mozambique), West (Angola), North (Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania ), South (Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe)

Area: 752,618 sq km (290,587 sq mi)

Comparative: Slightly larger than Texas

Population: 15,510,711 Million (ranked 70th in the world)

Religions: Protestant 75.3%, Roman Catholic 20.2%, other 2.7% (includes Muslim Buddhist, Hindu, and Baha'i), none 1.8%

Languages: Bembe 33.4%, Nyanja 14.7%, Tonga 11.4%, Lozi 5.5%, Chewa 4.5%, Nsenga 2.9%, Tumbuka 2.5%, Lunda (North Western) 1.9%, Kaonde 1.8%, Lala 1.8%, Lamba 1.8%, English (official) 1.7%, Luvale 1.5%, Mambwe 1.3%, Namwanga 1.2%, Lenje 1.1%, Bisa 1%, other 9.7%, unspecified 0.2%

UNESCO World Heritage Sites (1): Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls (1989)

 

Popular Destinations in Zambia

Victoria Falls

Victoria FallsVictoria Falls borders Zambia and Zimbabwe and is among the most popular natural wonders and waterfalls in the world. A spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, which is more than 2 km wide at this point, the water plunges noisily down a series of basalt cliffs and gorges and raises an iridescent mist that can be seen more than 20 km away. David Livingstone first saw the Falls in 1855 and named the falls after the Queen of England, but they were (and still are) known as Mosi-oa-Tunya in the Kololo language, loosely translated as 'The Smoke that Thunders'.

 

 

South Luangwa National Park

South Lunagwa National ParkSouth Luangwa National Park is Zambia's premier park and is home to an astonishing diversity of life. There’s an amazing density of game to be seen particularly along the riverine areas. The river continually erodes a new course through the soft soil of the valley floor, leaving behind dambos (ox-bow lagoons), which hold water late into the dry season. These conditions support large quantities of game in a stunning habitat, with four of the 'Big Five' present, only the rhino is absent. Where game thrives, predators follow including lion, leopard, hyena and other smaller predators such as civet, genet and mongooses. There is also a good chance visitors will see Thornicroft’s Giraffe, a subspecies found only in the southern end of the Luangwa valley.  Further north, there is the Cookson’s Wildebeest, another endemic resident found nowhere else in the world. Aside from game drives, there are excellent walking safaris and night drives conducted by some of the best guides on the continent. The bird-life in the valley is also exceptional, especially during the rainy summer months. But there are beautiful and interesting birds all through the year and learning about them is often an unexpected bonus on a safari. This park appeals to both the novice safari-goer and the repeat visitor.

 

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National ParkAt just over 4000 square kilometers, the Lower Zambezi National Park stretches in a narrow swathe from the Chongwe River in the west to the Luangwa River in the east. The area was declared a National Park in 1983 and today remains one of the few pristine wilderness areas left in Africa. Opposite the Mana Pool Reserve on the Zimbabwe side, there is an escarpment along the northern end, which acts as a physical barrier to most of the park's animal species. Enormous herds of elephant are often seen at the river’s edge. 'Island hopping' buffalo and waterbuck are common. There are good predator populations with sightings of lion and leopard a regular occurrence. Rich in biodiversity there are a number of eco-systems in the park, ranging from montane thickets on the slopes of the escarpment to miombo woodlands, grassy floodplains and riparian forests. Birdlife in the area is also outstanding, making this a real hotspot for ornithologists.

Kafue National Park

Kafue National ParkThe vast and largely untouched Kafue National Park is Africa’s last hidden gem, covering some 22,400 km sq., making it one of the largest parks in Africa and comparable to the size of Belize or Israel. Kafue has remained largely untouched by development and thus it remains a unique and pristine wilderness with sublime scenery, game viewing and bird watching. More diverse than any park in Africa, the wildlife of the Kafue is as numerous as it is varied, with an abundance of big game including elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and even cheetah. The Kafue is also home to one of the last remaining viable populations of the rare and endangered African wild dog. With 19 species of antelope, Kafue is blessed with the greatest diversity of ungulates in any park in sub-saharan Africa including Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, Defassa waterbuck, puku and red lechwe. Other species such as eland, roan, sable, oribi and blue wildebeest are present, to name but a few. In addition to the antelopes there is a plethora of other unusual wildlife with pangolin, bushpig, side-striped jackal, honey badger and numerous species of the playful mongoose family making up megafaunal diversity unrivaled anywhere in Africa. Although the mammalian diversity is impressive it pales into insignificance when considering that the Kafue is home to almost 500 species of bird, including elusive and rare birds such as the Pel’s Fishing Owl and the African Finfoot.

Zambia Travel Options

Zambia Safari | Women Only Zambia Safari Tours | Couples Only Zambia Safari Tours | Custom Zambia Safari

Cruising | Rail Journeys

 

Sources: CIA 2017, UNESCO 2017