The perfect safari holiday in the Lower Zambezi
The Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4092 square kilometres, but most of the game is concentrated along the valley floor
Nestled away in the Southern part of Zambia and wedged between the Zambezi River and Zambezi Escarpment, this beautiful park is the perfect natural catchment area for all manner of wildlife making it one of the best spots in Zambia for big game viewing. Generally speaking, this is a dry season park, with the majority of the camps and lodges opening between May and November each year, although one does remain open throughout the year.
Accommodation is found in both the main part of the park itself and the much smaller Chiawa Game Management Area at the park’s Western boundary, but all lodges offer the same experience of scenery, wildlife and activities. One of the huge draws of a tailor made Lower Zambezi safari is that all of the properties are strung out along the Zambezi River, well away from one another so there is a very private feel, and the views out across the river and to Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park on the far bank are truly breathtaking.
The choice of lodges in the Lower Zambezi tends to be skewed towards the higher end of the cost scale, which is a reflection of the exclusivity of the area as well as the relatively short season in which they are able to operate. The accommodation style tends to be ‘rustic luxury’, with either reed and thatch bush camps or luxury safari tents being the predominant offering. Overall the quality is outstanding with great food, superb guides and most lodges have swimming pools which are perfect for cooling off in the heat of the afternoons.
Wildlife-wise there is plenty to see in the Lower Zambezi with large herds of elephant and buffalo, a strong lion population and excellent leopard sightings perfect for visitors who want to tick off the highlight species. There is a huge variety of herbivores within the park and the presence of the Zambezi River means that both crocodile and hippo are very common, but is also means a wonderfully diverse range of birdlife which is supported by the permanent water.
As well as the amazing wildlife, a huge draw for coming to the Lower Zambezi is the sheer variety of activities on offer and there are few, if any parks in Africa which can rival it on this front. Game drives are of course a major part of the activities programme, along with guided walks, Zambezi canoe safaris, boat cruises, fishing and dedicated birding safaris. Taking a lead from the South Luangwa National Park there are also now a number of lodges installing viewing hides in their grounds. A photographer’s dream and a great way to pass the afternoons.
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