One of the most underrated destinations in southern Africa, Zambia is a large, land-locked country tucked between Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia in the south, Angola to the west, Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, and Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique to the east. It’s home to some incredible wildlife events that barely anyone visits and is the original walking safari destination. For travellers seeking adventure without feeling unsafe, this is it. Here are seven reasons to visit Zambia.
1. Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and you can visit from either side. Livingstone is the town on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls and its international airport – Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport – makes it easy to fly straight in or out at the start or end of your trip. Aside from seeing the epic falls themselves, you can go for a bush walk with rhinos, enjoy sundowners on the Zambezi River or take a dip in the not-as-scary-as-it-looks Devil’s Pool.
2. Secret migrations
Did you know there are a couple of animal migrations in Zambia that barely anyone knows about? Though we tend to fixate on the ‘Great Migration’ of wildebeest in Kenya and Tanzania, Zambia also has a wildebeest migration. It’s not quite as large, but still sees tens of thousands of wildebeest move across Liuwa Plain National Park. And unlike the East African migration, there’s virtually no other tourists around. It’s best viewed in November, as is the great bat migration of Kasanka National Park where eight million fruit bats make their way from Democratic Republic of Congo to Zambia.
3. Walking safaris
Zambia is known as the home of walking safaris, with the first ones pioneered by Norman Carr in the 1950s. Today it is still one of the best places for a proper fly-camping walking safari where you walk through the day and set up camp at a new place each night. In South Luangwa National Park, you can do luxury versions of this, staying at high-end camps and lodges a few hours apart from each other. A walking safari is considered by many to be the most authentic safari experience, allowing you to use all your senses, take things at a slower pace, and to become more intimately acquainted with the bush and its ecosystem.
4. Fewer tourists
One of the big advantages of safari-ing in Zambia is the lack of other tourists, in comparison to more popular safari destinations such as those in South Africa. Enjoy quieter wildlife sightings and a sense of real wilderness travel.
5. It’s safe
Zambia is one of the safest countries in Africa for tourists and its crime rates are similar to those of Western Europe.
South Luangwa National Park is said to have the highest concentration of leopards in Africa; these big cats love the forest cover the park provides. Leopards are notoriously tricky to spot, as they’re solitary and generally shy, but South Luangwa is considered one of the best places in Africa to see these beautiful felines.
For a taste of traditional Zambian culture, travel to Zambia in late March or early April to see the Kuomboka festival when the Lozi king, the Litunga, travels from his summer residence to his winter home. Along the upper Zambezi River, a ceremonial procession sails down the waterway with drumming, hundreds of rowers, and a large black-and-white barge on which the king travels, decorated with a black elephant sculpture.
Keen to visit Zambia? Get in touch!