Zambia National Parks

National parks and nature conservation in Zambia

There are a total of 19 national parks in Zambia, but not all of them are maintained and therefore differ in the ways in which animals can be observed. The most worth seeing of them are:

South Luangwa National Park

The South Luangwa National Park (English: South Luangwa National Park) is the most famous national park in Zambia and has an area of approx. 9,050 km². Due to the rich animal population, the park in the Luangwa river valley is the most popular national park in Africa for photo safaris. The vegetation is characterized by Miombo forest. Giraffes, Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra, large herds of elephants and buffalo, Nile crocodiles and hippos can be observed here. The park has a dozen lodges and camps of every category as well as an airport at Mfue.

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Luambe National Park

The 300 km² Luambe National Park is also located in the valley of the Luangwa River between the South Luangwa and North Luangwa National Park and consists mainly of a flat plateau with dense vegetation in places, isolated lagoons and mopane forests, but also open grass areas. The constantly changing course of the Luangwa forms again and again new banks and lagoons, which bring about the specially adapted ecological system of this area with unique flora and fauna. Due to inadequate surveillance and a lack of infrastructure, the Luambe National Park, which was practically empty-handed in the 1970s and 1980s, remained undeveloped and left to its own devices for a long time, which is why the park is not as attractive as the two neighboring national parks for animal observation.

Flora in Zambia

North Luangwa National Park

The North Luangwa National Park (English. North Luangwa National Park) is a 4,636 km², north of the South Luangwa National Park on the Luangwa located nature reserve. This national park has a lower diversity and density of animals than the South Luangwa National Park and is wilder and less developed than this and best to go with a local safari operator. The park is only open from June to October. Driving in the park is impossible in the rainy season. There are three rudimentary camps, which at the moment only offer space for a few people, as the tourist development is only under construction. The terrain alternates between mopane forest, alluvial forest on the river, open grassland, wide floodplains and acacia thicket. To the east are the Muchinga Mountains, from which numerous bodies of water flow into the Luangwa.

Nsumbu National Park

The Nsumbu National Park covers 2,000 km² and 100 kilometers of shore on the southwestern Lake Tanganyika in the far north of Zambia. The park offers wide sandy beaches, high granite cliffs, quiet bays and dark valleys, one of which the river Lufubu has dug 300 meters deep, which forms the eastern border of the park and flows into the lake. The vegetation consists mainly of combretum thickets, wild figs and umbrella acacias. The populations of animals native to the Nsumbu National Park are gradually recovering, including saber antelopes, wildebeest, eland antelopes, impala, bushbuck, waterbuck, reed, zebra, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, warthog, hyena, jackal, crocodile and nilp. There are also a number of large bird species such as flamingo and sea eagle.

The Nsumbu National Park is difficult to reach from Lusaka, 1,363 kilometers away. With charter planes flights to Kasaba Bay or Nkamba Bay are possible, as well as a boat transfer from Mpulungu. In both cases, however, further transport to the national park must be organized.

Lower Zambezi National Park

The Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4,092 km² on the Zambezi bank southwest of the Luangwa estuary and offers numerous lodges and camps as well as tours by car and boat. The area north of the immediate Zambezi floodplain is so mountainous that it is almost impossible to develop it with roadways and it is also insurmountable for animals. The shoreline is characterized by islands, sandbanks and ponds, which change depending on the water level of the Zambezi; drier areas are covered with a forest of mahogany, ebony, baobab and wild figs. The Zambezi Valley is bordered to the north by steep cliffs.

In the dry season, numerous animals gather at the remaining ponds as the only water source in the wider area. The area is therefore popular for viewing large animals such as the African elephant, African buffalo, leopard and cheetah. Numerous Nile crocodiles and hippos from the drying Zambezi withdraw to the few remaining waters in summer. A visit to the national park is therefore not only recommended because of the better passability in the Zambian summer.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park with Victoria Waterfalls

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (German: Thundering Smoke National Park) with the unique Victoria Waterfalls is located in the very south of Zambia on the border with Zimbabwe and has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the same name since 1989. It extends over an area of 66 km² approx. Twelve kilometers upstream along the Zambezi, which plunges down at the Victoria Falls from a height of 140 meters and a width of two kilometers with up to 500 million m³ of water per minute. The resulting spectacle of water and smoke gave the national park its African name. The park offers good viewing opportunities for wild animals such as antelopes, zebras, giraffes, elephants and rhinoceroses and is passable with normal cars.

Kafue National Park

The Kafue National Park (English Kafue National Park) is the largest national park in Zambia with 22,400 m². The national park in the west of Zambia includes the banks of the Kafue and its tributaries Lufupa and Lunga and is home to the Itezhitezhi reservoir, which regulates the water level of the downstream Kafue reservoir. In the north of the Kafue National Park is the Lufupa forest with the Zambezi teak tree, which is coveted due to the hardness of its wood for railway sleepers and parquet, which has now been severely decimated. In addition, wide, open floodplains, among which the Busanga floodplains are the best known, characterize the landscape. In the south, the forest gradually turns into bushland, with the landscape increasingly taking on the character of the surrounding Kalahari. The Nazhila plain is particularly attractive here.

Kafue National Park is home to one of the last viable African wild dog populations. Other large mammal species in the park include lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, impalas, pukus, warthogs, plains zebras, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, lychee bog antelope, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, crown duiker and oribis. Buffalo, sable antelopes and roan antelopes are less common. The bird world of the national park includes the endangered fig-bearded bird.

Sioma Ngweizi National Park

The 5000 km² Sioma-Ngweizi National Park is located in the western province of Zambia on the banks of the Cuando River on the border with Namibia. It can be reached from Livingstone via a well-paved road via Sesheke and the Zambezi Bridge. The park consists of teak tree forests, open bushland and Kalahari vegetation. In the south there are parks in Namibia and Botswana. You can see 3,000 elephants, cheetahs, zebras and above all antelopes: puku, impala, roan, saber, kudu. The animal population has suffered a lot from the civil war in neighboring Angola and is only slowly recovering. There are no facilities for visitors in the park, day trips to the park can be started from some lodges on the nearby Zambezi.

Blue Lagoon and Lochinvar National Park

The two national parks on the opposite side of the river Kafue are also known as Kafue Flats and cover an area of around 500 km³. The north of the national park is characterized by swamps and lagoons. To the south there is a grassy landscape with thorn bushes, palm trees and termite mounds, which merges into Miombo forests with acacias. The wildlife park, which was founded in the 1990s by the World Wildlife Found on a former military restricted area because of animal protection goals, is still in the tourist stage of development. Large herds of Lechwe antelopes graze on its flat terrain of forest, lagoons and floodplain landscapes. Buffalo, zebra, oribis, wildebeest, kudu or kudu, baboons, hyenas, leopards and striped jackals can be observed on other animals. Over 450 species of birds have already been counted on the site. The hot springs of Gwisho with water temperatures between 60 and 90 ° C are also worth seeing.

Other national parks and nature reserves in Zambia are:

Isangano National Park, Kasanka National Park, Lavushi Manda National Park, Liuwa Plain National Park, Lukusuzi National Park, Lusenga Plain National Park, Mweru Wantipa National Park, Nyika National Park, Sioma -Ngweizi National Park, West Lunga National Park, Bangweulus Marshes, Luangwa Valley Game Reserve

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