Enjoy walking safaris, game drives and night drives in South Luangwa National Park before travelling to Kasanka National Park to witness the incredible sight of millions of fruit bats taking up residence there.
The world's largest mammal migration - that of the straw-coloured fruit bat - takes place from November to December when between eight and ten million bats congregate in a two-hectare patch of mushitu forest. Each day at dusk, the bats - many of which have a wingspan of more than two metres - fly out of the forest in a ‘blizzard of bats’ to feed, returning only at dawn. Kasanka also offers excellent sightings of the shy and elusive sitatunga antelope, and is a birder’s paradise in which 466 species of bird have been recorded.
Combined with five nights in the Luangwa Valley on escorted walking safaris, vehicle safaris and night drives, this makes for a fantastic trip exploring the diverse wildlife of Zambia.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Lusaka
On arrival at Lusaka airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, located in the centre of the capital, for an overnight stay. The rest of the day is free to relax.
Days3-7: Fly to Mfuwe & transfer to South Luangwa National Park
This morning you will transfer back to the airport and board a light aircraft to Mfuwe, from where you will be driven to Nkwali. The drive takes approximately 1 hour through colourful local villages and bush.
Safaris from all the camps and lodges in the South Luangwa are conducted both by open 4-wheel drive vehicles and on foot (in the dry months of mid-May to early November), with armed scouts and fully qualified safari guides. Night drives with powerful spotlights are a highlight.
Days8-10: Fly to Kasanka National Park; fruit bat migration
Today fly by light aircraft to Kasanka National Park, and transfer to your camp overlooking the blue waters of Lake Wasa.
Each day at Kasanka starts with a pre-dawn wake-up call and a quick cup of tea or coffee, so you can watch the bats returning to their roost first thing in the morning from one of the various hides around the forest. After breakfast back at camp, there is still plenty of time to head out again before lunch to look for shy sitatunga - which are relatively numerous here - Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, or birds that include Pel’s fishing owl.
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 exodus. Once the sun has gone down you head back to camp for dinner and sundowners. Other options while in Kasanka include a day trip to the amazing Kundalila Falls and the rock paintings of Nsalu Caves.
Depending on your departure time, there may be an opportunity for a final early morning wildlife activity before transferring back to Lusaka by road, in time to connect with your flights back to the UK.
Day12: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 12 daysfrom £4,995 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 daysfrom £4,195 pp
Single supplement: From £395
When to go: Nov-Dec: Mid November to mid December
It might be one of Zambia's smallest parks, but Kasanka is packed full of different habitats with miombo woodland, riverine forest and papyrus swamps being just a few. Picturesque and peaceful, the birdlife here is exceptional and each year the park plays host to the migration of over ten million bats.
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
Comprising some 9,050 square kilometres of unspoilt African wilderness, South Luangwa is undoubtedly the jewel of Zambia’s national parks and a magnet to outstanding wildlife, particularly leopard. Its eastern boundary is the meandering Luangwa River whose regular changes in course leave scenic oxbow lagoons.
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife, Just Conservation
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.
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 six cool and spacious chalets - including one for a family - built from woven bamboo with stone floors and thatched roofs.
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 Lodge is a well-maintained, rustic but comfortable camp, overlooking the blue waters of Lake Wasa in the eastern part of Kasanka National Park. It is close to a sitatunga hide and swamp forest and offers excellent walking trails, as well as safaris by canoe and four-wheel drive.