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Join legendary guide Robin Pope on this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Zambia, visiting the wildlife-rich Liuwa Plains and Kasanka National Park during peak wildebeest and bat migration.

This exclusive 12 day trip visits the remote and unique Liuwa Plains to see the many thousands of blue wildebeest and zebra which migrate to the centre of the plain at the end of October each year. After four nights at the new Mambeti Camp, you travel to the phenomenal Kasanka National Park to witness one of nature’s greatest events – a gathering of fruitbats, creating the highest density of mammals on the planet. 

Liuwa and Kasanka are not only known for their spectacular mammal migrations, they are also renowned for their prolific birdlife and you can expect to see an incredible array of unusual species during your stay. In Liuwa, highlights include red-billed and Hottentot teal, sooty chat and long-tailed whydah, while in Kasanka, you may see the rare Pel’s fishing owl, wattled crane and Ross’s turaco.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

    Depart London on an overnight flight to Lusaka, Zambia.

  2. Day 2: Arrive Lusaka

    On arrival at Lusaka international airport,you will be met and transferred to your overnight accommodation in Lusaka to relax after your journey. 

    Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, 1-night 

  3. Day 3: Lusaka to Liuwa Plains

    Today, you transfer back to Lusaka airport, where you will meet your guide – the legendary Robin Pope. From here you will fly to Kalabo by chartered light aircraft, which takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours – depending on the aircraft used. The first half of the flight takes you over the extensive flats of the Kafue River, with reedbeds and water channels extending as far as the eye can see. After crossing the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam, the terrain changes abruptly to sandveldt bush, and you will see Mongu lying off to the left hand side, with the Zambezi River and its floodplain.

    On arrival at Kalabo airstrip, you will be driven to the pontoon at the crossing point of the Luanginga River. From here, the drive to camp takes around two hours, initially on sandy roads through woodland, then emerging onto open plain. The wildlife and birds spotted en route will inevitably slow the journey down, but we’ll still arrive in time for a late lunch.

    Once you’ve settled in, relax with an afternoon siesta to recover from the journey, before taking a late afternoon drive onto the plains, where there is a host of birds and wildlife to see. After watching the sunset, head back to camp for a shower, with time to relax around the campfire, and dinner.

    Accommodation: Mambeti Camp, 4-nights 

  4. Days 4-6 : Liuwa Plain National Park

    Over the next three days, the pattern of each day will vary, but is essentially based on an early start with a light breakfast, before returning to camp in time for an early lunch. After a siesta, enjoy afternoon tea before setting out on an afternoon drive. Following a sundowner out on the plains, you return to the camp in darkness.

  5. Day 7: Liuwa Plains to Lusaka

    After breakfast, leave camp for the two hour drive back to Kalabo, where a chartered light aircraft will be waiting at the airstrip for take-off. Fly to Lusaka, for one night’s stay in a comfortable hotel in the city centre. 

    Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, 1-night 

  6. Day 8: Fly to Kasanka

    Today, you fly to Kasanka National Park, via Mfuwe. On arrival at Mulembo airstrip, you will be met and transferred to your simple accommodation, just a short drive away. Before dusk, enjoy a game drive into the forest to watch the spectacle of the bats leaving their daytime roost. 

    Accommodation: Wasa Camp, 3-nights

  7. Days 9-10 : Kasanka National Park

    Each day at Kasanka starts with a pre-dawn wake-up call and a quick cup of tea or coffee, before heading off to the bat forest before first light. Each day we will pre-book one of the specialist hides or viewing platforms and be in place before dawn when the bats return to their roost.

    After breakfast back at camp, there is still time to head out again for either a game drive or a walk to look for shy sitatunga, which are relatively numerous in Kasanka, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and other mammals. The park’s birdlife is impressive and includes the rare Pel’s fishing owl, wattled crane and Ross’s turaco.

    After a short siesta, afternoon tea and cake is served, followed by another relaxed walk or drive to the evening bat-watching location in time to see the dusk mass exodus. Once the sun has gone down, you head back to camp for sundowners and dinner. Other options while at Kasanka include a day trip to Kundalila Falls and the rock paintings of Nsalu Caves.

  8. Day 11: Depart Kasanka

    After a relaxing breakfast, you are transferred to the airstrip to meet your plane for your flight to Mfuwe and onward connection to Lusaka. Depending on the flight times, you may have free time in Lusaka, before catching your flight back to London in the evening. 

  9. Day 12: Arrive UK

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 12 days from £9,995 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 days from £9,195 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,685
  • Group size: 10
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Domestic and charter flights between Lusaka/Liuwa/Kasanka
    • Transfers
    • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Lusaka
    • 4 nights Mambeti Camp in Liuwa Plain National Park
    • 3 nights Wasa Camp in Kasanka National Park
    • Most meals
  • Activities available:
    • Camping
    • Culture
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Walking

Expert leader

Robin Pope

Photo of Robin Pope

Robin Pope is among the best guides in Africa and founder of Robin Pope Safaris – our award winning safari partner in Zambia and Malawi, a company with strong beliefs of responsible and sustainable tourism.

His passion was sparked by many visits to Zambia's Luangwa Valley with his brothers, which inspired his great love of the outdoors, its wildlife and of journeys into wild places. 

Back in 1975, Robin began his guiding career under the mentorship of two other Zambian Safari legends – Norman Carr and Phil Berry. Using his incredible experience and passion for the region, Robin set up his first camp, Tena Tena, in 1986. With views across the Luangwa River in the wildlife-rich Nsefu sector of South Luangwa National Park, Tena Tena continues to be a firm favourite. Joined by his wife, Jo, and an incredible sense of exploration, they expanded their operations within South Luangwa, and into remote areas such as the Nyika Plateau. Robin Pope Safaris now have properties in Livingstone, Zambia and Malawi. 

Following a successful career, Robin is now in retirement - or semi-retirement, as he continues to guide an exclusive selection of off-the-beaten-track experiences in his favourite wildlife locations.

Featured locations:

Liuwa Plain National Park

Liuwa is a pristine wilderness. Its wooded areas offer excellent birding, especially during the October rains when the remote grasslands are a carpet of wild flowers. And the rains bring wildebeest, mingled with zebra, from across the Angolan border for Africa’s second largest migration.

  • Where: Western Province
  • Ideal for viewing: African wildcat, serval, steenbok, tsessebe, wild dog
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching

Kasanka National Park

It might be one of the smallest parks in Zambia, but Kasanka is packed full of different habitats with miombo woodland, riverine forest and papyrus swamps being just a few. It also has lakes, lagoons, plains, dambos and marshes. Picturesque and peaceful, the birdlife here is exceptional.

  • Where: Central Province
  • Ideal for viewing: blue monkey, sitatunga, straw-coloured fruit bat, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, wattled crane
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching

Lusaka

Starting life as a village, Zambia’s capital city was expanded by colonial settlers and is now very much the beating heart of the country. With vibrant market stalls and tree-lined boulevards, it offers an authentic African experience as well as a variety of good quality accommodation and a cosmopolitan sensibility.

  • Where: Southern region of the Central plateau
  • Excellent for: City stopover
Featured accommodation:

King Lewanika Lodge

Located on the Upper Munde Stream in Liuwa Plains National Park, King Lewanika Lodge is due to open in April 2017 and will comprise of six luxury villas (to include a two-bedroom family villa), accommodating a maximum of 15 guests. Liuwa is home to a wealth of wildlife including its famed lion pride and over 300 bird species.

Radisson Blu Lusaka

This conveniently located hotel is close to both the city centre and the airport in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka – the perfect stop before or after your safari. It has 142 modern en suite rooms and suites, all with balcony and air conditioning, and a variety of leisure facilities are available.

Wasa Camp

Wasa Camp is a well-maintained, rustic but comfortable camp, overlooking the blue waters of Lake Wasa in the eastern part of Kasanka National Park. The camp is close to a sitatunga hide and swamp forest and offers excellent walking trails, as well as safaris by canoe and four-wheel drive.