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Join wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt to witness the extraordinary annual event of millions of fruit bats roosting in Kasanka National Park, coupled with South Luangwa.

The world's largest mammal migration – that of the straw-coloured fruit bat – takes place each November when 10 million or more bats congregate in a two-hectare patch of mushitu (swamp) forest. Each day as day turn to dusk brat columns of bats come pouring out of the forest and disappear in great clouds across the sky to feed on fruit trees some 60 kilometres away. And, each morning they return in the same gigantic waves to roost for the day in the swamp forest.

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

  2. Day 2: Arrive Lusaka, fly to Mfuwe and transfer to South Luangwa National Park

    On arrival in Lusaka, connect to a short domestic flight to Mfuwe where you are met and transferred to your accommodation in nearby South Luangwa National Park. Evening briefing.

    Luangwa River Camp, 5-nights

  3. Days 3-6 : South Luangwa National Park

    Three full days of morning and afternoon game drives and walks in Zambia’s richest protected area, with talks and tutorials in between and in the evenings, gives you ample opportunity to develop your wildlife photographic skills under the tutelage of acclaimed photographer Nick Garbutt.  

  4. Day 7: Transfer to Mfuwe and chartered light aircraft to Kasanka National Park

    Transfer back to Mfuwe to pick up a chartered light aircraft for the short flight to Kasanka National Park, then settle into your new accommodation. Late afternoon excursion for the impressive first sight of millions of bats heading out at dusk.

    Wasa Camp, 3-nights

  5. Days 8-9 : Kasanka National Park

    Another two full days of morning and afternoon game drives and walks to photograph the bats and Kasanka’s other wildlife – including the reclusive sitatunga, which is seen with relative ease from the renowned Fibwe hide, and rich birdlife. Walks in Zambia’s richest protected area, with talks and tutorials in between and in the evenings, gives you ample opportunity to develop your wildlife photographic skills

  6. Day 10: Fly to Lusaka and depart

  7. Day 11: Arrive UK

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 days from £5,195 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 days from £4,295 pp
  • Single supplement: From £225
  • Group size: 8
  • When to go: Nov
  • Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Domestic flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe
    • Charter flights Mfuwe to Kasanka and Kasanka to Lusaka
    • All transfers
    • 5 nights ensuite tented camp in South Luangwa (twin-share)
    • 3 nights ensuite lodge in Kasanka (twin-share)
    • Most meals
    • All National Park Fees
    • Local naturalist guide
    • Excursions at lodges, camps in parks and reserves
  • Activities available:
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Walking

Expert leader

Nick Garbutt

Photo of Nick Garbutt

An award-winning photographer and author, with a background in zoology, Nick has forged a career by combining these skills with leading tours and lecturing.

Nick has written and photographed several critically acclaimed books, including: ‘100 Animals to See Before They Die’, ‘Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide’, ‘Wild Borneo’, and ‘Chameleons’. He is a regular contributor to international magazines such as National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Africa Geographic and Geographical.

Nick has twice been a winner in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. In 2000, he won the prestigious Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife. His photographs appear widely in books, calendars and other publications worldwide. He is a Special Lecturer on the MSc course in the Wildlife Photography and Imaging at Nottingham University, where he studied.

Featured locations:

South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa is undoubtedly the jewel of Zambia’s national parks. It lies in the north-eastern part of Zambia and comprises some 9,050 square kilometres of unspoilt African wilderness. Its eastern boundary is the meandering Luangwa River whose regular changes in course leave scenic ox-bow lagoons.

  • Where: Eastern Province
  • Ideal for viewing: leopard, Cookson’s wildebeest, Thornicroft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s zebra, African elephant
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife, Just Conservation

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
Featured accommodation:

Luangwa River Camp

Nestled under an ancient ebony grove, the intimate and exclusive Luangwa River Camp accommodates a maximum of five couples. The surrounding oxbow lagoon and plains of the Luangwa Valley hold vast concentrations of wildlife, including elephant, leopard, lion, hippo and puku, as well as over 400 bird species.

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.