Zambia is still one of the world’s best-kept secrets and has recently opened up their borders for international travellers. Known as a top destination for adventure seekers and anyone who wants to experience an authentic and wild safari, Zambia is the ultimate authentic safari destination.
Zambia is a large country, but not densely populated, making it the perfect social distancing destination plus their official language is English. The Zambian people are peace-loving and proud of their culture and natural heritage, making them excellent hosts and passionate local guides. Zambian guides are some of the best trained and professional, anywhere in the world. Those in the Luangwa region in particular are constantly winning international awards and praise for their guiding.
Zambia offers visitors breathtaking wildlife and scenery and is one of the best destinations for photographic and safari holidays. It is blessed with vast tracts of untouched wilderness, much of which is preserved in National Parks.
Like any safari destination, the main attraction is the opportunity to come into close contact with some of Africa’s greatest wildlife and especially the predators. In Zambia, this can be done on foot! The country has carved a niche for itself as the place to go for walking safaris as well as a wide range of river adventure activities. Pioneered by Norman Carr in the 1950s and taken further by Robin Pope, the walking safari changed the approach to modern-day safaris. Carr believed that traditional safaris – in a vehicle from afar – force you to become a spectator in the bush. Walking, on the other hand, allows you to become part of the bush and offers the opportunity to see safari animals, insects and trees etc up-close creating a far more intense and educational experience.
Which Areas To Visit?
The Lower Zambezi and the South Luangwa River valleys are the best for safari and outdoor adventures. Here life revolves around the river. The river is a source of life for the animals and perfect for water-based activities for humans. The safari season is also dictated to by the river, with most of the camps closing for the rainy months when the river swells and floods the valleys.
The Lower Zambezi River in particular offers a wide range of adventure holidays and water-based activities: Canoeing safaris are calm and peaceful, and you get especially close to the elephants that are often seen swimming across the river. Boating safaris allow you to get safely close to pods of hippo and fishing (catch and release) for Tiger Fish is every angler’s dream come true. Some camps even offer wildlife hides at the water’s edge where you can sit, unseen by the animals and birds for amazing eye level photographic opportunities. The South Luangwa is far bigger than the Lower Zambezi and offers far more fun activities if you are considering a safari in the wet season.
Best Time To Visit
Zambia has three distinct seasons. The dry season runs from May to August and is the coolest time of the year, with temperatures 24 to 28°C during the day that can drop as low as 7°C at night. This is probably the best time of the year to visit Zambia as the bird-watching is prolific, and the Falls are at their biggest.
The hot season is from September to November when temperatures rocket up to a scorching 38 to 42°C! If you can take the heat, it’s a good time for African safari tours as wildlife clusters around the rivers and waterholes.
December to April is the wet season (also known as the ‘Emerald’ season) when temperatures hover around 32°C, and it rains a lot. Roads become muddy and are often impassable; the river rises, and most of the seasonal camps are dismantled and closed.
Peak safari season spans from June to October, which also falls in the country’s dry season. Zambia weather is scorching at this time (40°C in the shade!), but if you are unfazed by the heat, the game sightings are well worth it. Most of the camps are situated quite deep in the bush and ideally near or on the river banks.
From the adventure capital of the region, the Victoria Falls to the remote Lower Zambezi Valley and the wildlife rich South Luangwa National Park, as well as the vast plains of the Kafue National Park, Zambia offers the safari purist, photographer or adrenalin junkie plenty of opportunity for close-up big game encounters, adventure and wonder at every turn and is an incredible country to visit.
The Kafue National Park is located in remote Western Zambia and although it is a journey to get there, you’ll be rewarded!
This diverse wilderness is vast and the terrain and landscape is absolutely pristine and spectacular. Endless floodplains, seasonal grasslands, isolated tree islands, woodlands, riverine forests and evergreen forest lining the Kafue River banks. The northern parts of the park are the jewel and dominated by the Zambezi flooded grasslands. This includes the well known Busanga swamp and plains. Our preferred partner Wilderness Safaris operates their camps and lodges in this northern territory.
The Kafue is noted for its birdlife with an impressive count of 490 species. The Kafue also has a very definite rainy season (November to April) where the plains flood. Many of the camps close during this time as routes become inaccessible.
Victoria Falls is absolute must-include on every Southern Africa itinerary
The Zambian side of the spectacular Victoria Falls (Livingstone town and surrounds) is an ideal base from which to explore the magnificent falls, enjoy a myriad of adrenalin adventure activities and the wildlife of the surrounding National Parks. It is from here that you can access to the famous Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool during the low water season. Livingstone Airport is the perfect gateway to the region.
Going on safari in Zambia is guaranteed to be memorable and will give you new perspective on nature and your place in it