Wildlife, adventure, exclusivity, and close encounters with nature are what define Zambia. It’s what all safari-seekers search for in an African adventure. Zambia is the last of the great African safari experiences, successfully combining comfort and service with terrific game viewing and beautiful landscapes. Glorious rivers, lakes, waterfalls and game parks reveal a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Zambia is a down-to-earth experience which may include walking trails, canoeing, and cruises alongside crocs and hippos. Adrenaline activities such as rafting and bungee jumping are widely available to the intrepid explorer. Zambia is a destination of immense beauty and opportunity – soul food for all who arrive with an open heart.
Zambia can be viewed as slightly rough around the edges, but we love that about the country. It embraces the owner-run lodges, more intimate game-viewing, and fewer crowds than you might find in other countries. With some of the most beautiful rustic and untouched camps in remote, game-rich locations, Zambia is also an excellent choice for walking safaris. Less commercial in nature (and therefore more affordable), Zambia’s infrastructure is not as sophisticated as other African safari destinations and getting around can be tricky. But the rewards of pristine, unspoiled national parks and remote lodges make it all worthwhile.
Best known for its walking safaris, Zambia offers an authentic, back-to-basics safari experience and the opportunity to participate in a number of exciting activities.
The two most famous areas in Zambia are Livingstone to see Victoria Falls and South Luangwa for it’s week-long walking safaris (although it’s very possible to do game drives as well). The Lower Zambezi is another exceptional area with stunning views of the river and the escarpment and Kafue is slowly becoming more popular, especially from July to August.
Zambia is paradise for guests wanting to get up close and personal with nature. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the wild without the interference of civilization or crowds. You can interact with local owners, trackers, and rangers on a personal basis and get a feel for the real Zambia.
Many travelers are drawn to Livingstone, home of Victoria Falls. It offers magnificent views of this World Heritage site and is the spot for adrenaline sports and a host of fun activities: bungee jump from a bridge over the Falls, fly over the Falls in a microlight or flying fox, do class 5 whitewater rafting down the Zambezi, or ride an elephant. Sundowner cruises and helicopter rides over the Falls are other memorable and scenic attractions. Livingstone is geared for active people and adrenaline-junkies, but there are activities for any type of traveler.
Although great for first-time safari travelers, Zambia holds much appeal to visitors looking for a more in-depth experience, or those searching for a particular species of fauna or flora native to the area.
There is a saying among African locals which goes along the lines of Africa not being for the faint-hearted. Zambia is one of those destinations to which they refer.
Zambia is a gorgeous, untouched wilderness for which visiting comes with the territory of getting up close and personal with some of the less talked-about and intriguing wildlife. If the thought of crossing a gecko or spider in your safari tent is a deal-breaker, then perhaps reconsider Zambia as an ideal destination. These harmless inhabitants will be with you for much of your visit. If you are nervous about open spaces and a lack of solid walls, there are more protected, solid, and luxurious options, but these of course come with a higher price tag.
When considering Zambia as a destination, consider quite honestly your comfort level for being close to nature. Are you excited or scared of the prospect of using a bucket shower on the banks of the Zambezi? These are life-changing experiences, but for the right person.
The Zambian dry season stretches from mid-April to mid-November after which many camps become inaccessible. October is great for elephant viewing, but can get uncomfortably hot. Air conditioning is almost non-existant in many of the camps.
We recommend June to September as a good time to travel because the land is dry and game viewing is good during this peak season.
If you have a sensitive budget, the shoulder season (May/June) offers lower rates and great value for money.
The green season, December to April, is terrific for birdlife. However, traveling becomes difficult during this period due to high waters and many camps are closed and inaccessible.
The best whitewater rafting times are straight after the rainy season (March – May) and guests are assured of a longer river run and high water.
Due to a lack of air conditioning in most camps, it is wise to avoid going during October as the heat can be uncomfortable. The rainy season can get a little difficult to get around and all the bush camps close down between the end of November and mid April in the South Luangwa.
The winter months (June and July) can get cool in the evenings, but the days are pleasant.
Rates vary depending on the number of areas a person is visiting, the season and the method of transport. Shoulder season rates offer good deals, but Zambia, while less expensive than other safari destinations, is not a budget holiday.
As a rule, high season (July to October) can cost anything from $500 per person per night at a property like Kapani, to $1,200 per person per night at Chinzombo. Most of the five star bush camps (such as those by Bushcamp Company, Norman Carr, and Robin Pope Safaris) are around $800 per person per night. Low season (January to March) ranges from $300 - $600 at mid-range camps to $1,000 at the high-end camps.
Different areas offer very different experiences.
In the South Luangwa we love the overland and walking safaris. Safari operating companies (Remote Africa, Robin Pope Safaris and Bushcamp Company) each run a main camp which services their remote bush camps. Guests would arrive and depart from the main camp, but they can do a walking safari between bush camps and overnight at the satellite camps. Bush camps in the secluded areas have limited road access which is highly appealing to those on walking safaris. Our favorite experiences in the South Luangwa are the star beds at Luwi Bush Camp and the microlight and mountain biking at Tafika Camp.
In the Kafue you can go on a balloon safari in August and September.
Finally, Livingstone is a town for adrenaline junkies. See "Who would like Zambia?"
We are willing and able to help you pick the right type of accommodation and experience based on your travel style and personality.
Visitors to Zambia will get to see crocodile, hippo, baboon, monkeys, buffalo, lion, elephant, leopard, hyena, wild dog and cheetah as well as many antelope and a variety of birds.
Thornicroft’s Giraffe and Crawshay’s Zebra are endemic to the area and you may also get to see badgers, civets, porcupines, and genets, plus countless other animal species.
The only thing you would not see is rhinoceros. They were unfortunately poached out in the 80s.
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