One of Zambia’s top wildlife destinations is the Lower Zambezi National Park. With over 120 km of river frontage and over 4 000km² of wild bushveld which supports some of the richest ecosystems in the world, it’s truly a nature lover’s paradise.
The park is still largely unheard of and little visited which allows for a more exclusive safari experience. Combined with a visit to Victoria Falls, South Luangwa and Kafue makes for a wildlife focus filled trip to Zambia.
Over millions of years, volcanic activity created mineral-rich deposits which in turn has created a lush oasis for nature. There are few camps in and around the park and with the absence of mass tourism the area remains pristine and free from overcrowding.
On the opposite side of the river lies Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, another well known wildlife hub in Africa. The Lower Zambezi Valley is a rich, versatile, and fertile land, and home to many different species of plant, animal and bird species. Large leadwoods, splayed acacias, towering figs and ebony trees bring shade to the vast grasslands and riverbanks and attract a variety of species.
Buffalo, elephant and hippos are found in abundance here, and leopards and lions are regularly seen throughout the park. However, you will not see rhinos as poaching has had a devastating effect on the species here.
One species that was once on the brink has now returned to the reserve, the rare African wild dog. There are also 300 different species of birds that have been recorded, including kingfishers, eagles, bee-eaters, fishing owls, cranes and bishop birds.
Activities & When to go
The best time to go into the Lower Zambezi is in the dry season and between the months of May to October. This is when the river levels are low, the vegetation is sparse and the wildlife can be found drinking at the water holes or along the banks of the abundant Zambezi.
In rainy season, also known as the ‘Emerald Season’ the vegetation is thick and green, making for picturesque scenery. However during this time it’s harder to spot wildlife, as they tend to scatter away from the river banks and waterholes.
There are many activities to choose from during your visit to the National Park such as the classic 4x4 safari in an open top vehicle, which is a great way to experience nature up close.
Fishing is a popular activity in the Lower Zambezi River and a walking safari is also a common excursion. One of the best ways to experience the park is by boat, whether its in a canoe or in a motor boat, the river is what makes this reserve unique and abundant.
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