An estimated 12 million fruitbats arrive in Kasanka National Park from mid-November to feast on the newly ripened fruit - a remarkable wildlife spectacle. This trip is designed to combine seeing this fantastic event with time on safari in the national parks of Zambia and Malawi.
Guided walks in Kasanka National Park at dawn and dusk will take you deep into the indigenous woodland used by the fruitbats as a roost. The numbers are so large that this is believed to be the highest density of mammals on the planet. This mass of activity attracts all manner of predators and scavengers including leopards and crocodiles who lie in wait for any bats unfortunate enough to fall to the forest floor.
Day1: Depart UK
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Lusaka
Day2: Arrive Lusaka
On arrival in Lusaka you will be met and transferred to our hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to spend as you wish, which could involve a swim in the hotel pool.
Accommodation: Pioneer Lodge and Camp, 1-night.
Days3-5: Fly to Mulembo for Kasanka National Park
In the morning you will board a charter flight from Lusaka to Mulembo airstrip where you will be transferred to the Wasa Camp on the edges of the Kasanka National Park. After settling in at the accommodation you will venture into the park on an afternoon game drive, which will finish with the quintessential safari sundowner.
Over the next two days, you will have a number of excursions into Kasanka National Park, both on foot and by vehicle to see one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world. At this time of year an estimated 12 million straw-coloured fruitbats come to feed on the newly ripened fruits and roost in the indigenous forest. This attracts a number of predators and scavengers as well, including leopards, martial eagles, African hawk-eagles and crocodiles. Other notable species to look out for in Kasanka are sitatunga, Pel’s fishing owl and the rare blue monkey.
Days6-8: Charter flight to Mfuwe and explore the South Luangwa National Park
Another morning charter flight will take you to Mfuwe airstrip where you will be driven to the Nkwali Camp, which has stunning views of the South Luangwa National Park. After lunch you will be taken on a game drive into the park. South Luangwa is believed to have the world’s largest naturally occurring population of leopards, and the Thornicroft's giraffe, Cookson's wildebeest and Crawshay's zebra are all endemic to the area.
The following two days will involve various excursions; you will set out on foot to enjoy the birdlife of the park, including marabou stork, Steppe eagle and crowned cranes. There will be boat trips along the river to see some the water-loving creatures, such as crocodiles and hippos, and more game drives to try and see as much of this incredible national park as possible.
Days9-11: Fly to Blantyre, Malawi and drive to Majete National Park
Today, you will be crossing the border into Malawi on a charter flight bound for Blantyre. Upon reaching Blantyre you will then be transferred to the Mkulumadzi Camp on the banks of the Shire River in the Majete National Park.
Majete is the only national park in Malawi to have the ‘Big 5’ game animals, and so this will be the first opportunity to see the black rhino on this trip as well as leopards, lions, elephants and buffalo. Majete has an array of wildlife and a beautiful landscape; in order to explore this wonderful wilderness you will head out on vehicle and walking safaris for two full days.
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 13 daysfrom £6,345 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 11 daysfrom £5,245 pp
Single supplement: From £375
When to go: Nov-Dec: mid-Nov to mid-Dec
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
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.
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife, Just Conservation
Standing beside the Shire River in the south west of Malawi, this area of the Great Rift Valley is characterised by sculpted miombo woodland undulating across the hills, which in turn overlook stunning river valleys and riverine forest. It is surprising then that so few decide to travel to this natural treasure.
Where: Southern Region
Ideal for viewing: black rhino, African elephant, Burchell’s zebra, leopard, Cape buffalo
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris
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
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
The perfect combination of luxury and isolation, Mkulumadzi is located on a private concession beside the Shire River. Eight spacious chalets, shaded by giant mango trees, have a deck, sunken bath and outside shower. The lodge offers game drives, walking and boat safaris in Majete Reserve.
Located on private land just outside South Luangwa National Park, this lodge lies in an area of ebony woodland and open grassland that is superb for wildlife viewing. It consists of five cool and spacious chalets - including one for a family - built from woven bamboo with stone floors and thatched roofs.
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.