Zambia has been my home for over 30 years and one of the things I love most about the country is its amazing safari destinations. With its pristine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and exceptional conservation efforts, Zambia has emerged as one of Africa’s best safari spots. Whether you’re looking for the Big Five or just seeking the unspoiled African wilderness, Zambia has it all.
Let’s head on an adventure together, through the heart of Africa, and explore five of the country’s top safari destinations. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of Zambia.
5 Best Safari Tours In Zambia, Africa
1. Lower Zambezi National Park
Game Drives, Fishing, And Canoeing
The Lower Zambezi National Park is one of Africa’s greatest wildernesses featuring 2,542 square miles of unspoilt nature. With no paved roads, it’s rare to encounter another safari vehicle, and night time here is all about sitting out by the fire, under a sky full of stars.
The Zambezi, Africa’s fourth longest river, forms the boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The area is an incredible wildlife sanctuary — herds of elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, wild dogs, and over 400 different bird species. Most of the wildlife is concentrated along the river, so a great way to experience the park is to board a boat, or drift silently past the riverbank in a canoe. You’ll see plenty of hippos peeking curiously above the water’s surface. Look out for the magnificent carmine bee-eaters who nest in the riverbanks from September to November. The river is also home to the coveted tiger fish — highly prized by serious sport fishermen.
Where To Stay: Sausage Tree Camp is the epitome of bush chic, set in a stunning location along the Zambezi River right in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable; the rooms are well designed, opening onto private plunge pools that overlook the river; and the cocktails are so good you may never want to leave!
2. South Luangwa National Park
The 3,500-square-mile South Luangwa National Park is renowned as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife destinations, with 60 animal species and over 450 different species of bird. Often referred to as “The Valley of Leopards,” the main predators here are leopard, lion, spotted hyena, and wild dog — with the leopard population among the densest in the world. Expect to see large herds of elephants, sometimes up to 70 strong. South Luangwa is also home to the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, Cookson’s wildebeest, and the near-endemic Crawshay’s zebra.
The best way to see South Luangwa’s wildlife is on a morning or afternoon game drive from your lodge. Expect early wake-ups as most morning drives set off at around 6 a.m. You’ll return to camp for a middle-of-the-day siesta and then head out again in the afternoon; the animals are more active at these cooler times of day.
Where To Stay: Shawa Luangwa is a small, eco-friendly bush camp overlooking the Luangwa River in one of the park’s most untouched areas with excellent year-round game viewing.
3. North Luangwa National Park
The remote, 2,880-square-mile North Luangwa National Park is synonymous with walking safaris. The beauty of this park is the opportunity to experience Africa as it once was — wild and untouched. No game drives are permitted in a majority of the park and access is primarily for walking safaris. You’ll leave the four-by-four game-drive vehicle at camp and set out on foot with your guide and an armed park ranger. You’ll walk among elephants, antelope, zebras, and even the occasional predator, always maintaining a safe distance from the magnificent wildlife. In addition to strong populations of buffalo and elephants, there’s a number of black rhinos, making it the only Big Five park in Zambia.
Where To Stay: Remote Africa Safaris operate two camps that specialize in guided walking safaris. For the more adventurous, the Samala and Ituba Community Camps offer self-catering, and for the intrepid, there’s the Amatololo Experience, a self-drive camping route.
4. Kasanka National Park
Bats And Beyond
Kasanka National Park is one of Zambia’s smallest national parks. But it’s one of the country’s hidden treasures and has an incredible 480 bird species and 114 mammals; there is a lot for you to see.
Kasanka is best known as home to the annual migration of straw-colored fruit bats — the largest bat migration in the world and, in fact, the world’s largest mammal migration. From October to December each year, about 10 million bats descend on a tiny patch of forest in the park. They migrate from thousands of miles away, some from as far away as West Africa. The migration is one of the natural world’s best-kept secrets; even scientists don’t know exactly where the bats come from or where they go when they leave the park.
Beyond the bats, Kasanka gives you excellent opportunities to find and photograph one of Africa’s rarer antelopes, the shy, secretive, and semi-aquatic sitatunga. The park is home to more than 500 of them, making it Africa’s densest and most visible population of sitatunga! The elusive blue monkey and the little-known Kinda baboon also call Kasanka home. It’s unlikely you’ll encounter either of these species anywhere else in southern Africa.
Where To Stay: Kasanka has two basic lodges — Wasa and Luombwa — and a seasonal self-catering tented camp.
5. Liuwa Plain National Park
The 2,274-square-mile Liuwa Plains National Park in Zambia was once the traditional hunting ground of the Litunga (King) of the Lozi people. Liuwa Plain is home to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa but yet it’s hardly known. Each year in November, with the start of the rainy season, massive herds of blue wildebeest, 45,000 strong, migrate to Liuwa Plains, often mingling with zebras along the way. It’s an incredible sight to witness.
Other unusual antelope found here include oribi, red lechwe, steenbok, duiker, tsessebe, and roan. Predators include wild dogs, lions, and hyenas. The bird life is abundant and the dramatic lightning and storms at the start of the rains make for spectacular views and fantastic photography opportunities.
Where To Stay: King Lewanika is the only permanent camp in Liuwa Plain National Park. It has six stylish, open-front safari tents that are the epitome of luxury.
As a safari destination, Zambia is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets — an amazing, game-rich, unspoilt destination. On safari in Zambia, you’ll get a taste of the real Africa: wild and untamed.