Lower Zambezi Safari Ideas
The Lower Zambezi National Park lies on the northern banks of the magnificent Zambezi River in Zambia. We think that the Lower Zambezi is one of the most beautiful parks in Africa. So it’s certainly one of our favourite wildlife areas. It is bounded by the Zambezi River on one side (with 120 km of river frontage) and a dramatic wooded escarpment on the other. This escarpment provides a picturesque backdrop for your photos. But more pertinently, it’s also a natural boundary for the animals’ movements. In between the floodplain grasslands are beautiful stands of leadwood, ebony and fig trees. Under the trees the bush is relatively sparse which means, in practical terms, that you can spot the game easily. Thus a Lower Zambezi safari offers some of the best game-viewing in Southern Africa especially in the dry season (June to October). Then the wildlife concentrates near the river to quench their desperate thirst.
Lower Zambezi Safari Activities
The Lower Zambezi provides a rich and mesmerizing water sanctuary for wildlife. Great herds of elephant, buffalo and impala, and small groups of warthog, zebra and baboon are drawn to the river. So this in turn attracts lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Other commonly seen animals are wild dog, serval and the African wild cat. Interestingly giraffe are not to be found here.
We think every Zambia safari should include the Lower Zambezi because of the sheer range of game-viewing activities. Safaris takes place on foot, in open 4×4 vehicles, by boat and, most characteristically, by canoe. By canoe, you can glide silently among animals quenching their thirst at the Zambezi river. Excellent tiger fishing is also available on a catch and release basis.
Birding is superb in the Lower Zambezi with over 500 species recorded here. Some of the specials are saddle-billed stork, African skimmer, roufous-bellied heron, bee-eaters,sunbirds, Jamson’s firefinch and black crowned night heron.
Attractions of a Lower Zambezi Safari:
- Excellent predator sightings especially lion and leopard
- Huge herds of elephant and buffalo; hippo pods galore
- Stunning sunsets over the Zambezi river
- Romantic safari destination, perfect for honeymoons
- Canoe excursions on the Zambezi’s channels
- Boat cruises at sunset
- Tiger fishing is excellent on the Zambezi river
Lower Zambezi lodges
Each of the Lower Zambezi lodges has its special charms. They vary in terms of luxury and especially, location. The more exclusive, (and expensive), are located inside the Lower Zambezi National Park whereas other safari camps are located in the GMA (Game Management Area) which is adjacent to the park. If your budget allows, we recommend a camp inside or at least on the park borders. However this is a cost-reward trade-off…
Best time to go to the Lower Zambezi?
The Lower Zambezi becomes completely water-logged in the extremely wet summer months of late November to March when virtually all of the safari camps close. They open up again in April and offer early season safari specials until late May/June. The main safari season stretches from June to end October. An ideal time to visit is between July and early September. As you continue into October the temperatures rise. (Late October is known as ‘suicide month’ ! So you need to be happy dealing with heat to visit then.)