An epic expedition taking in some of the greatest highlights Zambia has to offer. Incredible birding on the Kafue Flats, sandy beaches of the mighty Lake Kariba, canoeing & fishing in Lower Zambezi while game watching from your boat. Take in the Southern section of the Great East African Rift Valley and the Murchison Escarpment in South Luangwa National Park, renowned for its leopard and wild dog sightings. An incredible variety of bird species in Lochinvar on the Kafue Flats, massive mammal herds in Lower Zambezi, tropical island bliss on Lake Kariba followed by the pinnacle of the Great East African Rift Valley in South Luangwa.
BLD – Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Day 1 – Livingstone
On your arrival at Livingstone Airport you will be met by Charles who will drive you the short distance to Maramba River Lodge. Check in, relax, have a drink by the pool overlooking the river and get acquainted with your surroundings. Pierre will meet you at Maramba and at 15h00 we will be collected by our bus and taken to the Zambezi Waterfront where we will board Lady Livingstone for our 2-hour sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River. Bring a warm jacket and binoculars. Dinner will be at the lodge as a group. (D)
Day 2 – Monze Lodge
We depart the vibrant town of Livingstone and make our way Northwards along the Great East road for our camping destination where we will rest for the night. The birding here is spectacular, so we will take the time to ask Tom to do some spotting for us. It’s a wonderful place to learn the farming methods of Zambia and all are welcome to walk around this farm that grows soya, maize and cattle before we clean up in their spotless ablutions and sit around the fire. (BLD)
Day 3 to 5 – Lochinvar National Park
Lochinvar is considered the best wetland birding in the world with tens of thousands of water birds. 449 bird species in 428km²!!!
Lochinvar is renowned as a superb bird sanctuary featuring many different waterfowl, raptors, woodland species and migrants. The floodplain is a wide almost flat area, with black clay soils, sloping almost imperceptibly towards the Kafue River. Vegetation is made up of grasses, sedges and herbs adapted to an annual pattern of flooding. Many plants grow up with the rising waters to become emerging aquatics at high flood. A few isolated winterthorns (Acacia albida) and palms (Borassus aethiopicum) occur on the river banks. Hundreds of wattled cranes can be seen feeding on vegetable matter dug from the soft mud and the large marabou stork scavenging for stranded fish. Around Chunga Lagoon you’ll find the greater and lesser flamingo, the pink backed and white pelicans, African skimmer, Caspian tern, Baillon’s crake and the red knobbed coot.
Many species of duck are abundant in this environment; the black, fulvous, whistling, pintail, garganey, southern pochard, pygmy goose, yellow billed duck and the Cape and European shovellers. Waders include avocet, the Mongolian, Caspian and Pacific golden plovers, whimbrel, turnstone, sanderling, little stint, spotted redshank, black tailed and bar tailed godwits and six species of sandpiper. Over 50 raptors occur including the black sparrow hawk, osprey, secretary bird, African cuckoo hawk and the peregrine falcon to name a few. Other interesting sightings include the white-bellied and black bellied korhaans, yellow throated sandgrouse, narina trogon, and Denham’s bustard.
A former ranch, the park was designated in 1972 and is known for its Kafue lechwe which number over 30 000. The antelope and birds thrive in the absence of larger predators. Lochinvar is also home to hot springs, echoing rocks, remains of a Neolithic settlement and an Iron Age village on Sebanzi Hill, also known for its caves, ancient baobab and wildlife. (BLD)
Day 6 to 8 – Lake Kariba
Lake Kariba is Zambia’s Riviera! This is Africa’s largest man-made dam measuring 226km’s long and in places up to 40km’s wide! The dam provides considerable hydroelectric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Close to a quaint tourist town and set in 4 hectares of some of the most beautiful countryside in Africa, the campsite is nestled in a secluded area on the shores of Lake Kariba with beach frontage and magnificent views across the lake to the Matusodona Mountains in the distance. With a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and just a few kilometres from the majestic dam wall there is something to keep everyone busy. Day cruises, sunset cruises, canoes, fishing and a good old-fashioned hammock strung between palm trees. (BLD)
There is the opportunity to spend two days on a houseboat on the lake, fully inclusive of meals paid for. There is a surcharge ($300pp) for the hire of the houseboat on either an exclusive or shared basis.
Day 9 to 11 – Lower Zambezi National Park
The beauty of this park lies in its undeveloped wilderness state. The opportunities to get close to game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular! The park lies opposite the famous Mana Pools Reserve in Zimbabwe so the entire area on both sides of the river is a massive wildlife sanctuary teeming with animals. The river’s edge is overhung with a thick riverine fringe, including Ebony and Fig trees’. Enormous herds of elephant up to 100 strong are often seen at the river’s edge. The park also hosts good populations of lion and leopard.
Game drives, sunset cruises, river excursions and walking safaris are included activities over the next three days.
The camp is situated in a secluded location deep within the game rich Chiawa area, next to the Zambezi National Park. Indigenous bush surrounds the lodge, wildlife roam freely through the camp, the un-spoilt and abundant river offers phenomenal game fishing. The magnificent Zambezi River is undoubtedly a ‘bucket list’ destination! (BLD)
Day 12 to 14 – South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa is one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world! Here you can enjoy a unique type of habitat seldom seen elsewhere in Africa. Lying on the valley floor, between the meandering Luangwa River and the steep Muchinga Escarpment, this is one of the finest national parks in all of Africa. Reputed to have the highest concentration of leopard in Africa, it’s estimated that there is one Leopard for every kilometre of river in the Luangwa Valley, so your chances of seeing this elusive nocturnal cat are extremely good. Pods of up to 500 hippos are possible to view in the dry season as the river shrinks and they are confined to areas of deep pools.
On average during the year there are probably 45 – 60 hippos per kilometer! World famous walking safaris are a favorite activity in South Luangwa and operate from June until November.
With vehicles at our disposal we can spend most of each day game viewing in the park. Pierre has spent considerable time in this park and knows the best places to look for game. Pack a picnic lunch and let’s discover as much of the 9050km² as we possibly can. With intimate knowledge of the park, Pierre will lead you deep into the unexplored areas that most tourists never see. (BLD)
Day 16 – Depart from Mfuwe Airport
On our final morning we will have an early game drive followed by a hearty breakfast before we say our final farewells to this fantastic adventure showcasing the very best that Zambia has to offer. Unique experiences and memories that will last a lifetime – we’re sure you will be back very soon. Our team will drive you to Mfuwe Airport for your local or international onward flights. (BL)