The Lower Zambezi National Park is situated on the opposite bank of the mighty Zambezi River to Zimbabwe, across from Mana Pools National Park. Like Mana Pools, Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park offers some of the most scenically diverse areas. It is synonymous with the mountainous backdrop of the Zambian escarpment and forests of beautiful albizia trees along the banks of the wildlife-rich Zambezi River.
Once a private game reserve of Zambia's president, the Lower Zambezi is famous for its big game: lions, elephants, leopards, hippos and buffalo.
The Lower Zambezi National Park borders 120 km of the Zambezi's banks and stretches about 32 km inland to the top of the Zambezi Escarpment. This vast expanse of wilderness covers approximately 4,092 square kilometres and offers an array of landscapes, from lush riverbanks to dense forests and open plains.
It was declared a national park in 1983, and today, together with Mana Pools is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A much larger game management area rings the park, yet there are no fences between the two, and both animals and people are free to roam across the whole area.
An attraction of the Lower Zambezi Park and its surrounding GMA is its remote location. There are no paved roads, and tourists are unlikely to encounter other tourists. The poor road access has meant that the stunning Lower Zambezi National Park is rarely visited and remains wild and remote. More accessible towns from which to access the park are Livingstone or Lusaka, and there is an airstrip with service on Proflight Zambia.
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The Zambezi River is the park's defining feature, a source of life for countless animals and a natural wonder for all who visit. It meanders through the park, offering picturesque views and numerous opportunities for wildlife encounters. As you explore the riverbanks, you'll be treated to sights of elephants, hippos, and crocodiles, all gathering at the water's edge.
Along the river, small channels from the Zambezi river divide the mainland from numerous islands. From there, wide open and fertile plains offer a food source to plenty of wildlife species. Visitors are often treated to sights of elephant and buffalo swimming out to the grass-covered islands to graze along with crocodile and hippo.
The park's rich biodiversity is one of its major attractions. With a varied landscape that includes forests, grassy plains, and riverine areas, Lower Zambezi is home to an astonishing range of antelope species; thus attracting numerous predators, including, lion, leopard, African wild dog, and hyena.
The birlife is abundant, and during the warm summer months the area is known to have around 390 species, including, waterfowl, a number of raptors and large birds of prey, Turacos and at least nine-species of kingfisher.
Selecting the ideal time to visit Lower Zambezi National Park largely depends on your interests and what you hope to experience during your safari, but the opening months of the park are generally April to November, and the best time to visit is between July and October.
The dry season (May to October) is the most popular time to visit as it offers prime wildlife viewing opportunities. During these months, animals congregate around the Zambezi River to quench their thirst, and vegetation thins out, making it easier to spot wildlife. It's also the best time for canoe safaris and fishing.
The wet season (November to April) is a beautiful time to visit for those who appreciate the lush, green landscapes and birdwatching. The park transforms into a verdant paradise, with migratory birds adding to the diversity. However, some areas may be inaccessible due to flooding, and wildlife can be more dispersed, and many of the more popular safari lodges and operators close their doors to visitors.
Accessing Lower Zambezi requires some planning, but the journey is part of the adventure. By engaging with Safari Guru we take the stress out of planning, and allow you more time to research your preferences in camera equipment and bush-cuisine.
The most convenient way to reach Lower Zambezi is by flying into Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia's capital. From there, you can take a domestic flight to Jeki Airstrip, which is the nearest airstrip to the park.
If you prefer overland travel, you can hire a vehicle or join a guided tour. The journey from Lusaka to the park can be an adventure in itself, with opportunities to see more of Zambia's rural beauty.
Accommodations in and around Lower Zambezi National Park cater to various budgets and preferences. From luxurious lodges and villas to rustic tented safari camps, there's something for everyone. Here are some options:
For those seeking a truly opulent experience, the luxury lodges and villas in Lower Zambezi National Park are second to none. These accommodations offer a harmonious blend of indulgence and immersion in the wild. Here's what you can expect:
a. Breathtaking Views: Many of these lodges and villas are strategically positioned along the riverbanks, providing unparalleled views of the Zambezi River and the park's wildlife. Imagine sipping your morning coffee on a private deck while elephants graze nearby.
b. World-Class Amenities: These lodges boast an array of amenities, including spacious suites, gourmet dining, spa services, and private plunge pools. It's a luxurious experience that will make you feel pampered and at one with nature and its surroundings.
c. Expert Guided Safaris: Luxury lodges often provide exclusive access to expert guides who can lead you on game drives, walking safaris, and canoe trips, offering insights into the local flora and fauna.
For those who prefer a more authentic and close-to-nature experience, the tented safari camps in Lower Zambezi National Park are the perfect choice. Here's what you can look forward to:
a. Under the Stars: These camps typically feature spacious, comfortable canvas tents that give you a unique opportunity to connect with the environment. The sounds of the bush and the starry African nights are your companions.
b. Guided Wildlife Experiences: Tented camps often provide skilled guides who lead you on thrilling game drives, canoeing adventures, and walking safaris. These camps emphasize responsible and sustainable tourism, ensuring minimal environmental impact.
c. Communal Dining: Mealtimes are a social affair in tented camps, with communal dining areas where you can share stories and experiences with fellow travellers. It's an excellent way to meet like-minded nature enthusiasts.
For budget-conscious adventurers, Lower Zambezi also offers self-catering options and campsites. These options are ideal for those who prefer a more hands-on experience, and they often include access to shared facilities like kitchen areas and bathrooms.
Although they may not offer the same level of opulence as luxury lodges and the tented safari camps, they still provide an enjoyable and authentic safari experience.
Lower Zambezi National Park, situated along the stunning Zambezi River in Zambia, is a treasure trove of natural beauty and wildlife. With its diverse terrain and rich biodiversity, this park offers many thrilling activities for travellers seeking an authentic African adventure.
Your days in Lower Zambezi can be filled with a variety of exciting safari activities:
One of the most popular and classic ways to explore Lower Zambezi National Park is through a 4x4 safari. Here's what you can expect:
a. Game Drives: Experienced guides will take you on game drives, allowing you to witness Africa's iconic wildlife. From lions and leopards to herds of elephants, you'll have the chance to get up close to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
b. Nocturnal Night Safaris: Nighttime game drives provide a unique opportunity to spot elusive nocturnal animals like leopards, hyenas, and owls. The experience of driving through the park under the starlit African sky is truly magical.
For those seeking a more intimate and immersive experience with nature, walking safaris are an excellent choice:
a. Up-Close Encounters: Guided walking safaris offer the chance to get closer to the smaller wonders of the park, including tracking wildlife footprints and observing birds, insects, and plant life. It's an opportunity to connect with the environment at a more personal level.
b. Sensory Experience: Walking safaris awaken your senses, from feeling the crunch of leaves underfoot to listening to the sounds of the wild. Guides will share their knowledge about the park's ecosystem and wildlife, creating a rich educational experience.
Lower Zambezi National Park is famous for its incredible canoe safaris, providing a unique perspective on the park's natural beauty:
a. Zambezi River Exploration: Paddling down the Zambezi River in a canoe offers the chance to spot hippos, crocodiles, and various bird species. The river's gentle flow allows you to relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.
b. Close to Wildlife: Canoe safaris often take you close to riverbank wildlife, allowing for exceptional photographic opportunities and unforgettable moments as elephants and other animals come to drink.
The Zambezi River is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, making fishing expeditions a thrilling activity for enthusiasts:
a. Tiger Fishing: The Zambezi is famous for its tiger fish, known for their powerful fights and impressive size. Anglers from around the world come here to test their skills against these fierce fish.
b. Catch and Release: To protect the delicate ecosystem, most fishing expeditions in the park operate on a catch-and-release basis, ensuring the conservation of fish stocks.
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