Zambia Highlights Safari
Victoria Falls, South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park
Essential Zambia is a sensational concoction of South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue National Parks with Victoria Falls the cherry on top.
In 14 days, the Essential Zambia Safari covers the four must-see, must-do attractions of Zambia: the Kafue National Park with its great diversity of habitats, rare species of wildlife and the fascinating Busanga Plains; the South Luangwa National Park , birthplace of the walking safari and one of Africa's best game reserves; the Lower Zambezi National Park with it's massive arterial river, big game experience, dramatic scenery and fantastic water safaris; and Victoria Falls , one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a magical start or end to your discovery of Zambia's finest attractions.
The Essential Zambia Safari is flexible with the option to change the order of safari lodges and destinations. You can also add or remove destinations to shorten your safari or to spend more time in one destination. Talk to your Travel Expert about the options to tailor-make your Zambia safari.
Arriving at Mfuwe Airport, you will immediately sense the raw wilderness of Zambia. Your guide will meet you and your discovery of Zambia begins.
On the way: On the way to your safari lodge in the South Luangwa National Park, you will drive through the villages and conservation area that provides a buffer between game reserve and public land known in Zambia as a Game Management Area (GMA). The villages are vibrant slices of Africa with progressive conservation practices encourage the protection of the indigenous flora and fuana.
When you're there: Nkwali Lodge is on the edge of the South Luangwa Park and the Luangwa River is the focal point here. With lagoons, channels and broad flood plains, the game viewing is excellent.
Walking safaris, with an expert guide, are a highlight in the South Luangwa National Park and the fascinating discoveries you make along the way have the added excitement of being in a big game wilderness area. Lions, elephant, buffalo, leopard, hyena and many large herbivores lay claim to these lands and you'll be thankful for the vigilance and experience of your armed ranger.
Accommodation: Nkwali Camp
From Nkwali your next stop is deep inside the South Luangwa National Park in an area called Nsefu, famous for its excellent game viewing.
On the way: Cross the Luangwa River into the game reserve and enjoy a game drive to your next lodge through a variety of habitats.
When you're there: Your safari lodge is on the Luangwa River with a wonderful view from your private balcony over the river towards the floodplain. The river is often visited by elephants and buffalo and, beyond, a variety of plains game is always in the picture.
The South Luangwa National Park has a great variety of wildlife including three endemic sub-species of wildebeest, zebra and giraffe. Birdlife is excellent with a variety of habitats from riparian forest to savannah and broad-leafed woodlands.
Daily activities in the Luangwa include walking safaris, game drives, night drives and birdwatching. The guides are excellent and the wildlife plays its part.
From one great game reserve to another, it's time to transfer back through the Luangwa Valley GMA to Mfuwe Airport destination Zambezi River.
On the way: About four hours from lodge to lodge, the light aircraft transfer to the Lower Zambezi National Park starts and ends with a game drive. As you arrive, the Zambezi unfurls to reveal a network of channels, lagoons and islands dotted with elephant, buffalo and hippos. That's for starters.
When you're there: The game drive from airstrip to lodge introduces the scenery and the wildlife of the Lower Zam Park and your safari here is quite different from the safari in the South Luangwa.
Where you would walk in the Luangwa, you now boat in the Zambezi. Safari activities focus on the river with canoeing, sunset cruises and motor boat safaris. You can also go on game drives through the park and, not to be outdone, walking safaris also feature in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
The picturesque Zambezi Valley is a haven for Africa's big game. In addition to those elephants, buffalos and hippos, the river attracts some monstrous crocodiles, lion, leopard, giraffe, zebra, kudu, wildebeest and many other species of plains game. Birds like it here too and there is always something to do between game viewing activities.
A final game drive will take you to the airstrip for a quick hop off the beaten track to the northern section of the Kafue National Park
On the way: The flight is a little over one hour and you will be greeted at the Kafue end by a smile, a cool drink and a short game drive to your luxury Kafue safari lodge.
When you're there: If the Lower Zambezi presented a striking contrast to the South Luangwa, be prepared for yet another, more striking contrast as you discover Kafue.
Situated near the Kafue and Lufupa Rivers, the habitats in northern Kafue include riverine forests, floodplains, dense wooded plains and open grasslands that turn to swamps in the rainy season.
Wildlife in the Kafue includes animals not seen anywhere else in Zambia, and rarely seen in the whole of southern Africa. The Kafue is your best chance of seeing cheetah in Zambia and the large herds of puku, impala, hartebeest, roan and sable attract the attention of lion and leopard. Birdlife, like everywhere in Zambia, is prolific with water and woodland types in abundance.
Activities include walking nature trails, river safaris, game drives and night drives, which often follow the active lions as they search for prey.
Accommodation: Lufupa Tented Camp
From Lufupa you have an exciting helicopter transfer to Busanga Plains, deep into this remote region of the Kafue wilderness.
On the way: The 950sq km Busanga Plains open up beneath you for a visual treat and an appreciation of their scale.
When you're there: The Busanga Plains are similar to the open plains of East Africa. Impenetrable during the rains, the entire area becomes a marsh similar to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. As the water recedes, leaving behind lush nutriet-rich grassland, so do the large herds of antelope move in. With predators at their heels.
The Busanga Plains host huge herds of puku, red lechwe and sitatunga – three diminutive antelope rarely seen anywhere else. Here you may also see waterbuck, roan and sable – rare, noble and rather large antelopes – and with all this prey prancing about, lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena are relatively common sights.
Activities at Busanga include nature walks and extended game drives into the plains.
Accommodation: Busanga Bush Camp
From the remote isolation of the Busanga Plains its time to head into the semi-civilised world of Victoria Falls: the pride of Africa.
On the way: Arriving by air, you get an idea of the size of the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls and the swathe of natural wilderness beyond.
When you're there: With a quick transfer to your luxury Victoria Falls lodge, you'll re-united with a barely recognisable Zambezi River. Unlike in the Lower Zambezi National Park, the river here flows full and deep building up all its might before descending the precipice known as Victoria Falls – one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Spend most of the day exploring Victoria Falls from its many vantage points: opposite, above, below and from the air. The sight and sound of a million tonnes of water falling in a single curtain is exhilarating.
Around Victoria Falls there are many activities ranging from a serene sunset river cruise, to lunch on Livingstone Island, just above the falls. Game viewing is never far from the agenda with game reserves all around Victoria Falls and some exciting close encounters with elepants and lions. Craft markets provide plenty of local colour and the throng of adventure activities provide an energetic atmosphere charged with the power of the Zambezi River.
Spend a few days exploring the Victoria Falls area, enjoying the many and varied activities on offer. Your last day usually allows for one last frolic before your transfer to the international airport and the end of your essential Zambian experience.
Accommodation: Victoria Falls Accommodation
Customers who enquire about this tour end up making many changes to the standard itinerary. Below are the most recent variations of this base tour booked by us for our clients. Have a look at their itineraries, see what changes they requested, what the final cost was and read what they have to say about their holidays.
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