14-day Essential Zambia Safari

Essential Zambia Safari
Essential Zambia Safari

Essential Zambia is a sensational concoction of South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue National Parks with Victoria Falls the cherry on top.

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14 days
Victoria Falls, Zambia, South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park
13 nights accommodation; meals and drinks as indicated in the itinerary; road and air transfers; safari and sight-seeing activities as indicated in the itinerary

Tour Brief

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.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1 and 2: South Luangwa National Park

    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

  • Day 3 and 4: South Luangwa National Park

    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.

    Accommodation: Nsefu Camp or Tena Tena Camp

  • Day 5 and 6: Lower Zambezi National Park

    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.

    Chongwe River Camp
    Chiawa Camp
    Sausage Tree Camp
    Kanyemba Lodge

  • Day 7 and 8: Kafue National Park

    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

  • Day 9 and 10: Kafue National Park

    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

  • Day 11, 12, 13 and 14: Victoria Falls

    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

Just Booked!

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.

    Whoa! Untrodden territory here. It appears nobody has booked this base tour yet so you could be the first to explore these faraway places.

Recent Reviews of This Tour

We don't have any reviews of this exact tour but here's what people have said about their holidays. If you want to read more reviews, visit our client comments section. If you would like to submit your own review please use the contact form on this page.

“Thanks for all your work putting together a holiday we truly loved”

We would like to commend the high service received from Namibian Tours and Safaris especially taking into account the short length of time you had to arrange this holiday for us. The recommendations and itinerary were ideal with the majority of our stay in each location being the right duration. The whole process of booking this holiday was hassle free and we would not hesitate in recommending your services to others.

We would specifically like to thank you, Alison, for all of your hard work which resulted in a truly fabulous holiday for us. Also, it was great to meet up with you in Solitaire where you expressed so much love for your country and this was clearly mirrored in the schedule and service you presented to us allowing us to experience this fantastic country. It will not be the case of 'if' we return to Namibia, it is more the case of 'when' we will return as we enjoyed it so much.

Nik Stevenson, UK

“Edward did a super job”

A special mention for Edward he did a super job – vouchers and maps were with our car hire agency at the airport – book presentation of whole trip was clear, easy to follow and complete. He even gave us his mobile No in case we encounter some problems. Really to recommend as Tour Operator and will use them again next time.

Road – all went well and thanks to have recommended a 4Wheel Drive Car – due to rough road conditions we appreciated – you could do it with a normal car and met tourists with B type cars but they took much longer for the journeys – had more issues with flat tyres and most admitted next time they will take a 4Wheel Drive Car.

Would like to thank you for all your time spent and hard work to find best places, difficult tasks due to budget restrictions. I will recommend you and your agency whenever I can – actually already did in Joburg – hope brings you some new customers - and of course will come to you for my next trip this time to South Africa hopefully in 2012.

Germaine Comin, Switzerland

“Thank you again for planning a perfect vacation for us”

Dear Wilmari,
Back home and I wanted to take a moment to thank you again for planning a perfect vacation for us. I was especially pleased that for the accommodation with dinner all knew about my allergies and cooked accordingly. The Cheetah experience made my daughter very happy and they were so kind to not even charge me for taking pictures.

Highlight of our trip was the stay in Onguma The Fort and we are determined to return one day.

As pointed out before, the Namib Desert Lodge I cannot recommend to anybody (fined for driving on their property and below average dinner buffet) and also the Olivia Guesthouse was a letdown when it came to the food (lunch and breakfast).

I have posted some pictures on Flickr, maybe you want to have a look and I'm always happy to read comments.

Last but not least: Could you please send us the itinerary you prepared for us and we received at arrival electronically? Some of my friends are interested to book the same trip with you.

Dr Andreas Koester, USA
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