Experience the untouched wilderness of the vast Bangweulu wetland in a quest for the remarkable endangered shoebill, and spend time at Kasanka and the Luangwa Valley, both home to incredible numbers of mammals and birdlife.
After a night in Lusaka, your wildlife adventure starts with a stay in Kasanka National Park which famously has over 400 bird species, as well as both tsessebe and sitatunga.
Not far from Kasanka are the Bangweulu Swamps, which hold a spectacular wildlife secret: over 30,000 black lechwe and the most visible, highly endangered, shoebill. On your quest to spot this remarkable bird, you may also see elephant, lion, giraffe and many other species.
Concluding in the magnificent Luangwa Valley creates a memorable wildlife experience – with a chance to see wild dog and explore the lush valley landscape here.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Lusaka
On arrival at Lusaka you will be met and transferred to your hotel, and the rest of the day is free to relax after the journey.
Days3-5: Transfer to Kasanka; vehicle, boat & walking safaris
After breakfast you will be transferred to Kasanka National Park by road, arriving at your accommodation mid afternoon in time for some birding along the Luwombwa River. With luck you may see African finfoot, Ross’ lourie, Pel’s fishing owl and osprey. Return to camp for dinner and an early night or after dinner drinks around the campfire.
The next two full days are filled with birding and wildlife watching, in the hope of seeing Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable antelope, reedbuck and the rare blue monkey. You will visit a sitatunga hide with panoramic views over Kapabi Swamp where you can see up to 40 sitatungas feeding at one time.
Days6-8: Fly to Bangweulu Swamps; vehicle, boat & walking safaris
Today you will transfer by privately chartered light aircraft directly from Wasa Camp to Bangweulu Swamp. Depending on your arrival time, after you’ve settled in at camp there may be time to set out on foot and/or by boat to start your search for shoebill storks. Here you are also virtually guaranteed to see the herds of antelope for which the area is famous.
On the following two days here, enjoy morning and evening birdwatching, and watch from the hides at dawn and dusk as thousands of waterfowl fly overhead.
Accommodation: Shoebill Island Camp, 3-nights
Days9-11: Fly to South Luangwa National Park; vehicle & foot safaris
After a short boat trip to the airstrip, you transfer by light aircraft to Mfuwe, from where you will be driven to your camp. The drive into Nkwali takes approximately one hour through colourful local villages and bush. Depending on your arrival time you will enjoy a lunch or afternoon tea looking out over the lagoon to the back of the camp, followed by afternoon and/or night drives.
This vast, waterlogged wilderness about 55 kilometres north-east of Kasanka is a destination for the connoisseur. The still waters of these swamps and the surrounding floodplains are one of the last remaining habitats of the rare and elusive shoebill who lurk on the grassy fringes after the rains.
Where: Luapula Province
Ideal for viewing: black lechwe, reedbuck, shoebill, sitatunga, tsessebe
Excellent for: 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, Wildlife Art Safaris, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife
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
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.