Zambia is a vast 750,000 sq km, nearly half the size of Europe. It is landlocked in south-central Africa with a population of approximately 12 million and is one of the least travelled and most rewarding wilderness destinations in Africa. Zambia is the most centrally located country in southern/central Africa, bordering with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.
Zambia boasts the Kafue, Luangwa and Zambezi rivers and possesses two of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, the Luangwa Valley and the Kafue National Park. The country has a total of 19 National Parks, abundant with wildlife in the raw wilderness.
This is the land of the legendary African walking safari and the mighty Victoria Falls – one of the largest waterfalls in the world which Zambia shares with neighbouring Zimbabwe. Including the Victoria Falls, Zambia has seventeen waterfalls.
In Livingstone, Zambia features as the Continent’s adrenaline-fuelled holiday capital with visitors partaking in a series of white-knuckling adventures such as white water rafting and bungee jumping, on, or over the Zambezi. Therefore the town of Livingstone is emerging as a destination in its own right as it embraces its colonial roots.
Most of the country falls into a plateau region, which has a pleasant climate.
Zambia’s elevation on a plateau 1,300 metres above sea level gives it a moderate semi-tropical climate, despite being positioned within tropical latitudes.
The Zambezi and the Luangwa valleys have a hotter and more humid climate and the extreme north has a tropical climate as one reaches the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
History and Background
The first humans to inhabit Zambia were the Bushmen. There is evidence that primitive ‘man’ began using fire some 60,000 years ago. A development of ‘digs’ from this distant past is enclosed at the Field Museum at the Victoria Falls. Modern man probably emerged in Zambia at least 25,000 years ago. By 15,000 years ago, the Late Stone Age commenced. Their ancient rock-art is still being discovered in various parts of Zambia.
The Bushmen gave way to the Bantu people from the north. Ensuing were tribal wars and the slave trade until missionaries and David Livingstone arrived in 1840 as a medical evangelist. Imperialist Cecil Rhodes followed in their wake, and in 1911, the country became the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, with the town of Livingstone as its capital. After 10 years Zambia gained its independence as a Commonwealth Republic under Dr Kenneth Kaunda, in October 1964. In 1972 the country reverted back to multiparty politics in December 1990. The current government is committed to rebuilding the country’s economy and tourism industry in partnership with the private sector.
Despite Zambia’s vastness as a country and relatively small population, the country’s main centres such as Lusaka and the Copperbelt town of Ndola are developed and sophisticated places in their own right with reputable hotels and restaurants. Lusaka is particularly graced with international and local quality hotels and lodges.
Zambia’s craftsmen have combined their artistic skills with tradition to produce a fine range of crafts which include intricate basket weaving from Barotseland, fine ebony sculptures from the Southern Province, ceremonial masks, drums, brass, copper and malachite works of art.
Safari Attractions in Zambia
The Victoria Falls in Livingstone, locally known as Musi-Oa-Tunya – “The Smoke that Thunders”, is almost 2km wide and 103 metres deep. This is a World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Although it is shared with Zimbabwe, the acknowledged best view is from Zambia.
The town of Livingstone is the base for visiting the Victoria Falls. Words cannot describe the awesome beauty of the Victoria Falls. They have to be seen to be appreciated. Photographs couldn’t possibly capture the beauty of this majestic spectacle!
For those wanting a holiday of a lifetime, the town of Livingstone offers a wide range of activities for the adrenaline seeking adventurer or for those simply wanting to relax, enjoy the natural views and enjoy a wild safari.
Livingstone’s the place to partake in rafting the most challenging white-water rapids in the world and embarking on a spectacular bungee jump off the Victoria Falls bridge 150 metres above the Zambezi River!
Try a micro-light or high wire across the Batoka Gorge. Go river boarding, kayaking, abseiling, gorge swinging or jet boarding. Perhaps partake in a more relaxing river/boat safari, or game drive in the nearby Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, or enjoy an elephant back or horseback ride along the banks of the Zambezi River.
After an activity packed day, there’s no better way to unwind than to relax with a cocktail on a sunset cruise. (Top of Page)
The Luangwa Valley comprises of the South Luangwa National Park and the North Luangwa National Park.
The South Luangwa National Park offers a wide range of accommodation, from sheer luxury to camping. Regardless of where you stay your wilderness experience will be unequalled.
The North Luangwa National Park is a remote tract of land in the north of the game rich Luangwa Valley offering one of the finest wilderness experiences in Zambia, if not Africa itself. It is not open to the public and there are no permanent lodges there. Access is with some of the few safari operators granted permission to conduct walking safaris. The beauty of visiting this park allows the opportunity to experience this part of Africa as it was and still is today – truly wild and untouched, as nature intended! Visitors are simply spectators to its natural beauty and drama!
The South Luangwa National Park is where the famous “Walking Safari” originated. It is acknowledged as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. The concentration of game around the Luangwa River and its ox bow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa.
The South Luangwa National Park is Zambia’s most highly developed game-viewing area, with lodges and camps offering astounding accommodation;
The Lower Zambezi National Park provides an added dimension to that on offer elsewhere. It remains uninhabited and unadulterated. It’s not unusual to wake up to an elephant or hippo just outside your chalet or tent!
The park is fronted by the waters of the Zambezi River, allowing for water-based and land-based safaris, a haven for naturalists and wild life photographers. The river is renowned for its two great attractions, Lake Kariba and the majestic Victoria Falls. Hence canoeing is a popular feature and gives a chance to get up close with crocodile, hippo and elephant – in a low-impact way. Enjoy fishing expeditions with the opportunity to catch “the big one”.
‘Island hopping’ buffalo and waterbuck are common amongst a profusion of birdlife. The park also hosts good populations of lion and leopard and listen too for the frequent cry of the fish eagle.
Traditional game drives and walking safaris are the cornerstone of any safari experience and these are delivered at the highest standards.
Kafu National Park is Zambia’s largest and oldest national park. It is the second largest national park in the world and is about the size of Wales. This amazing destination provides a raw and diverse slice of African wilderness with superb game viewing, fishing opportunities and bird watching.
Kafue is fed by the Lufupa, Lunga and Kafue Rivers.
Game to be viewed are thousands of red Lechwe, the stately sable, puku, roan and other variations of antelope. Herds of tsessebe, buffalo, hartebeest, and zebra all add to the glorious herd of antelope.
The Busanga Plains in the north is one of Zambia’s most significant wetland resources. It is a huge flat expanse that stretches in all directions as far as the eye can see and is one of the few areas untouched by development or human activity.
The wealth of game on the plains is a huge attraction for predators such as solitary leopards, cheetahs and prides of lions which are spotted regularly.
In the south, the Kafue River runs into the Itezhi Tezhi Dam, which covers an area of 370 square kilometres. This expanse of inland sea is surrounded in parts by grassy plains, abundant with hippo. Miles of submerged trees are perfect habitats for the plentiful water birds.
Lake Kariba and Lochnivar National Park
Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake! As the sun casts its glow across the shimmering waters, Lake Kariba’s vastness creates spectacular panoramas. It is a perfect destination for big open space seekers.
Lake Kariba supports a thriving commercial fishing industry and provides considerable electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Chete Island is uninhabited and abounds in wildlife including elephant, lion, leopard, hyena, hippopotamus, crocodile and a wide variety of buck. More than 170 species of birds have been identified so far, including the African Fish Eagle.
Lochnivar is a wetland paradise with outstanding birding opportunities with over 420 recorded species in its 428 square kilometres. Although not abundant in the larger mammals apart from buffalo, visitors are encouraged to walk about. Lochnivar is a superb bird sanctuary featuring many different woodland species and migrants, waterfowl and raptors.
Zambia is one of the most interesting and least travelled and rewarding destinations in Africa. It is the perfect African destination to visit for those who want to step off the conveyor belt of mass tourism. Zambia enjoys modest visitor levels, so you get to appreciate the true beauty of the country without too much commercialisation.
We have other Zambia Attractions that you might want to visit on your Zambia Safari. Please contact us for further details.