Often referred to as one of Africa’s best kept secrets, landlocked Zambia is set atop a high plateau in Central Africa and is geographically defined by its great rivers and basins, of which the most famous is its namesake, the Zambezi. Despite being most widely known for the smoking and staggeringly beautiful Victoria Falls, there is an incredible range of topography and habitats throughout the entire country, and along with a tropical climate, this makes it a wise choice of safari destination for the discerning enthusiast looking for a uniquely African experience.
Land of Variety
The landscape in Zambia, spread over 19 National Parks, offers huge variety and scope for exploration, from wild and raging rivers to luscious forests, expansive wilderness plains to verdant wetlands, not forgetting roaring waterfalls. The South Luangwa valley is one of the finest areas in the continent for wildlife including the notorious big cats and famous ‘Big Five’, and covers 9,000 square kilometres consisting of riverine and mopane woodland dotted with ebony groves, water meadows and the vast Luangwa River carving its way through the parkland. Known to locals as ‘mosi-oa-tunya’ or ‘the smoke that thunders’, Victoria Falls are likely to feature on a Zambia itinerary for their sheer might and visual impact, as well as activities such as canoeing, swimming or rafting.
Zambia is home of the walking safari, getting away from the vehicle noise, and having the ability to smell, feel and hear the bush is a special experience that is not to be missed here. Tracking through the bush with an armed guide, who will track wildlife by some of the most unusual yet successful means, you will learn about the smaller thing that you would otherwise miss in a vehicle, though it is not unknown to come across the large predators too! Night drives here can also be exhilarating and perfect for spotting some predatory action in the African bush. In the Lower Zambezi National Park, there is the added attraction of canoe safaris along the picturesque Zambezi river, ideal for an atmospheric sundowner, dodging hippos frolicking in the depths whilst elephants drink from the banks.
A Zambian Welcome
Zambia is possibly one of the most welcoming countries in Africa; wherever you go people introduce themselves out of curiosity and it leaves the traveller feeling a sense of belonging. Easy to travel round with a combination of air and road transfers, Zambia is home to some of the most accessible wildlife in Africa and is renowned for its high quality of gamewatching guides, which include the legendary Robin Pope and late Norman Carr. Having developed gradually as a safari destination and learnt from the experiences of its neighbouring countries, the result is a comfortable, sustainable and memorable destination for people of all ages.
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