Africa

Zambia

vital statistics
  • Lusaka
  • 16 million
  • English
  • Zambian kwacha
about Zambia

Basically, Zambia consists of two huge river basins: the Zambezi/Kafue, which covers about 75 per cent of the country, and the Congo in the north that covers the rest. It means this landlocked nation is a tapestry of thriving ecosystems, from grasslands to tropical forest. Despite all this, it’s not exactly a tourism hotspot and getting around can be something of a challenge. It’s worth taking though, because pockets of the country are home to some of the most amazing wildlife reserves anywhere in Africa.

Most visitors to Zambia will, at some point, head to Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi River thunders over a 100-metre drop. There’s a footbridge where you can walk to its edge, and plenty of blood-pumping activities – from bungee to white-water rafting – for the adventurer. Some of the hotels also run trips to Livingstone Island, where, at certain times of the year, people can swim in Devil’s Pool at the edge of the falls. The small Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park follows the river below the falls and is home to Angolan giraffes, hippopotamus, introduced rhinos, buffalo, zebra and other wildlife.

One of the best national parks in Africa is South Luangwa. There are a few lodges and camps, making it one of the most tourist-friendly spots, even if it is quite the trek to get there. High season sees an increase in the number of visitors, although it’s never nearly as crowded as the parks in South Africa. Those keen to spot herds of elephants, leopards and big birds, like ground hornbills, will want to hang around.

You’ll need to have your own 4WD for a trip into Zambia’s north, but it really is like another world – untamed, vast and virtually free of outsiders. It wasn’t always that way. The Nsumbu National Park on Lake Tanganyika was once one of the most popular parks in Africa and a haven for South Africa’s jetset, but was abandoned when lack of management meant poachers decimated the animal population and cutbacks to the national airline made it hard to access. Wildlife numbers are on the rise again, and the rugged landscape, including about a hundred kilometres of lake shore, make it a dream destination. Take a boat ride into the Kampasa rainforest, walk to waterfalls or do safaris by foot to see elephants, hippos, crocs, warthogs, zebras and antelope, as well as some amazing waterbird activity.

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ZAMBIA

Close encounters of the thick-skinned kind are frequent on this 163-kilometre...

Close encounters of the thick-skinned kind are frequent on this 163-kilometre paddle down...