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A premier safari destination, Zambia is a developing nation of vast untapped potential concealing some of the best wildlife viewing on the planet. Often referred to as “real” Africa, Zambia is also a land of natural wonders, with renowned national parks, show-stopping landscapes, and mighty rivers, all crowned by the indescribable majesty of Victoria Falls.
There’s a good reason why Zambia’s Zambezi River is so often referred to as the “Mighty” Zambezi. Sometimes turbulent and raging, at other places calm and inviting, the river has the unique distinction of being split in two by the largest waterfall in the world: Victoria Falls.
Much of Zambia’s safari holiday allure resides around this river and its enormous falls, but there are other treasures that await. Zambia has national parks that can stand toe-to-toe with any location in the world, in terms of both wildlife viewing, and the quality of its lodges and amenities. It also has a raw authenticity to its safari holidays that might not be quite so apparent in more developed nations.
Safari adventures in Zambia may lead you off the beaten track, and be a little more challenging than your regular safari. However, this is part of the attraction, as many of Zambia’s parks and reserves have the distinction of remaining supernally pristine and untamed. Nevertheless, safaris in Zambia are noted as relatively expensive, and may be more suited to high-end travellers. Zambia is waiting for you. Come, let’s explore.
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Set mere steps from the glorious Victoria Falls, the Royal Livingstone Hotels is one of the few hotels in the world that can boast such proximity to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. With sweeping views of the Zambezi River, and indigenous wildlife roaming the resort grounds, the Royal Livingstone Hotel is five star luxury and superb dining in graceful safari style.
Situated on two private islands in the middle of the Zambezi River itself, Islands of Siankaba is found ensconced between the mighty Victoria Falls and the internationally renowned Chobe National Park. Uniquely designed with a series of walkways and bridges linking the islands, the Islands of Siankaba is a perfect resort for travelers seeking an exclusive experience at Victoria Falls, with outstanding cuisine and uncompromising personal service.
A deeply personal and romantic hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of Victoria falls, Tongabezi is the ultimate destination for bespoke travel. Comprising individually styled cottages decorated with embellishments taken from all over Africa, Tongabezi offers numerous superb activities including visits to the Falls, game drives, sunset cruises, numerous adventure activities, and even a romantic Sampan dinner floating on the river.
Standing on a dramatic bend of the Zambezi River in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, Sussi & Chuma is a private sanctuary found twelve kilometres upstream of Victoria Falls. Remarkable in both style and outlook, Sussi & Chuma’s accommodation is primarily comprised of twelve tree-houses connected by wooden walkways. Sussi & Chuma is also the only lodge in the area able to offer guided walking safaris.
Considered one of the finest camps in Zambia, award-winning Chiawa is a family-run camp in Lower Zambezi National Park with an uncompromising dedication to style and comfort. Situated in an area appropriate for the seasoned safari-goer, Chiawa offers an extremely full activity roster including game drives, enlightening bush walks, canoeing excursions, fishing expeditions, river safaris, and more.
With a limit of eight beds, Old Mondoro is Lower Zambezi’s most private camp. Owned by the same family that runs Chiawa, Old Mondoro replaces lavishness with a “back to the bush” atmosphere, without sacrificing any creature comforts or service. Reinforcing its authentic feel through its construction of canvas and natural materials, Old Mondoro also offers some of the most abundant leopard sightings in all of Africa.
Secluded under ebony trees on the shores of the Luangwa river in South Luangwa National Park, Nkwali is comprised of six chalets of woven bamboo and thatch offering easy access to game sightings, including elephants, baboons, giraffe, hippos, and sometimes even leopards from the camp itself. Immersing guests in rustic luxury, Nkwali is understated style, perfect privacy, and outstanding personal service.
Truly dedicated to wildlife enthusiasts, and with a simple atmosphere and old-fashioned feel, Tena Tena is blessed with some of the best guides in Zambia. Located in the highly exclusive Nsefu Sector, the camp is nestled on a double-tiered river bank under a grove of mahogany trees, with each room enjoying views onto the Luangwa River. Activities include day and night game drives, walking safaris, and visits to the local Kawaza Village.
A single beautifully appointed two-bedroom safari house on the banks of the Luangwa River, Robin’s House is a supremely private and exclusive retreat ideal for young families or a group of friends seeking a more indulgent variety of safari. Guests will revel in features such as a private guide, chef, and vehicle dedicated to them for the duration of their stay, as well as the exclusive use of a dipping pool, perfect for the hotter months.
Among Zambia’s finest wildlife-viewing locations, Lower Zambezi National Park is full of unspoiled wilderness centred on a flood plain, with the Zambezi and other smaller rivers running through it. The park offers a full range of lodges, from luxury safari resorts to remote bush camps, and accommodates wildlife species such as elephant, puku, impala, zebra, buffalo, bushbuck, leopard, lion, cheetah, and over 400 bird species.
A world-renowned haven for wildlife, on par with anywhere else on the continent, South Luangwa National Park offers the unique combination of open grass plains, denser woodlands, and a pristine riverine ecosystem. With its intensely abundant wildlife, especially along the banks of the river, and its numerous accommodation choices, South Luangwa is a perfect destination for one of our luxury Zambia safaris.
Towering, immense, thundering, imposing, awe-inspiring – all words that aptly describe Victoria Falls, the largest single waterfall in the world at more than a kilometre long and more than one hundred metres high. Part of the Zambezi river at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls can be viewed from a distance, from its edge at Devil’s Pools, or by helicopter. If you’re on holiday in Zambia, you don’t want to miss this.
Though perhaps a little intimidating for the casual visitor, Lusaka is Zambia’s developing capital and largest city. This true African metropolis boasts some superb restaurants and quality accommodation, and despite a little haphazardness in its layout, it has authenticity in spades. View imposing political monuments, take in the local markets, or just spend time appreciating a slightly different view of the world.
Remoteness, exclusivity, diversity and unforgettable landscapes are all hallmarks of our luxury Zambia safaris. Our selected parks and reserves cannot be beaten for abundance of natural wildlife, and our chosen lodges and camps always provide superior service, amenities, and activities. If you’re visiting Zambia for pleasure, we believe a game drive is a must.
The roiling waters of Victoria Falls lead to some of the most outstanding whitewater rapids in all of Africa. Though there are some challenging sections, most of the river is a kayaker’s best friend, with warm water, plenty of space, and tremendous variety. If it’s your first time on the Zambezi, get yourself a tandem kayak and a decent guide, and off you go into the wild blue yonder.
The tiger fish of the Zambezi River are some of the more alarming and ferocious fish that anglers can target, but few are as rewarding or impressive. With their broad and sharp-toothed jaws, it’s easy to see where the fish got their name. Various lodges along the Zambezi offer fishing expeditions to catch this prolific river predator, making the Zambezi a fisherman’s paradise for the avid angler.
As perhaps the best wilderness experience available in the South Luangwa, mobile walking safaris are a way to connect with the local wilderness in a way not possible in a vehicle. The primal connection of being amongst the wildlife without barriers, escorted by an extremely knowledgeable armed guide, is impossible to describe, but absolutely worth experiencing. If you have the courage, go on foot.
From tranquil cruises to thrilling jet boat rides, the Zambezi is a place for boating. Take in a variety of quiet cruises from morning to sunset on boats of a different sizes, and enjoy sightings of crocodiles, hippos, and spectacular birdlife. Then, see it all again in a different light on a powerboat made for group thrill rides, carving up the river at over 90 km/h.
If you want to spot wildlife, August to October is the best time to visit. However, you should expect an average of around 32°C during the day by the end of that period, especially in low-lying areas, including the major national parks. If you want cooler weather and greener landscapes, visit during the cool, dry months of May to August.
During the December to April rainy season some national parks are closed, and animals are harder to spot because of the lush vegetation. However, the lodges that remain open offer very attractive rates, and you will have the parks virtually to yourself. Getting around at this time is also harder, as many rural roads become impassable rivers of mud.
Also, Zambia is an excellent place for birdwatching. November to December is the best time for this activity, although conditions are typically good year-round.
Although Zambia lies in the tropics, the height of the plateau ensures that the climate is seldom unpleasantly hot, except in the valleys of Luangwa and Zambezi.
There are three seasons: cool and dry winter season from May to September; hot and dry season in October and November; and the hot and rainy season from December to April.
The unit of currency is the Kwacha (ZMK), which is divided into 100 Ngwee. Some of the commercial banks in Zambia are First National Bank, Bank of Zambia, Standard Bank and Grindlays Bank International.
Bank hours are 09:00–14:00 from Monday to Friday, and 09:00–14:00 on Saturdays.
Major hotels have foreign currency facilities. Most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept travellers cheques. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards are accepted at many places although not at most of the private bush lodges. Most lodges and hotels will charge for extras in USD or GBP. For cash, small USD denominations are recommended.
Dress in Zambia is generally casual. A cardigan or pullover is often needed in the cool early mornings and after sunset (especially for night drives), except during the hot months of October to March.
For those going to the bush, khaki clothing, comfortable shoes and a hat are necessary. Long sleeved shirts and trousers are also advisable to protect against insect bites and bush scratches. One set of binoculars per person is a must on safari.
Please also remember a raincoat for the summer season (November–March). In the winter, warmer clothing is required, particularly in the evenings when the temperatures can drop to zero. However, always take precautions against the sun, even in winter. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sun hat are essential items.
Please note we will provide you with a full packing list prior to departure.
No vaccinations are currently required for entry into Zambia when arriving directly from North America or Europe. However, we recommend that tetanus boosters for children and adults are kept up to date, with courses or boosters usually advised for diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid.
A yellow fever certificate is required if the visitor is over one year old, and arriving in Zambia from an infected area or a country where yellow fever is endemic (such as Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zaire). Similarly, if your route to Zambia takes you through another country in the yellow fever zone, you will need to show a vaccination certificate on entry into Zambia. In the case of yellow fever, the vaccine must be administered at least ten days before arrival.
Malaria precautions are essential in all areas, all year round. Fortunately, there are several safe and effective options for both adults and children. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset. We also advise the use of insect repellents on exposed skin and, where necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Prompt investigation of fever or flu-like symptoms anytime within six weeks of travel is essential.
As with all travel to remote places, we recommend bringing a small supply of any medicines you may need, including a course of emergency “standby” treatment for malaria.
As a precaution, boil and sterilise drinking water outside the main towns, or buy bottled water.
English is the official language of Zambia. The main African languages are Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi and Toga.
All charter transfers on our luxury Zambia safari tours are in light aircraft that carry between five and seven passengers. Please note that these planes are limited with regards to the weight that they can carry. It is therefore vital that all passengers adhere to the luggage restriction of fifteen (15) kilograms per person in a soft bag.
This excludes a reasonable amount of camera equipment and carry-on luggage (up to 5 kilograms – 20 kilograms in total). In addition, please let us know if you are over 188 cm (6’2”) tall or weigh over 100kg (220lbs), so that we can plan our trip appropriately.
Tickets are generally not issued for charter flights; you will however receive a voucher for your trip.
Passport requirements: Each visitor to Zambia must be in possession of a valid, signed passport that is valid for at least six months beyond his/her scheduled departure date.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST FOUR BLANK PAGES IN YOUR PASSPORT FOR STAMPS/VISAS ETC. IF NOT, YOU MAY BE REFUSED ENTRY INTO ZAMBIA. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WITH YOU. IN ADDITION, WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEAVE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.
VISAS: All of our clients who have confirmed bookings/reservations through tour operators in conjunction with Zambian registered tour operators have their visa requirements waived by means of a letter. If in transit through Zambia, you may require a visa which is obtainable at the border for a fee (approx USD$30.00). Please note when you complete the visa form, you need to state the length of time you will be spending in Zambia (total number of days).
For nearly 19 months we have been anxiously awaiting the Government to open up our International borders and allow us to travel once more!
Well it seems as though we are now getting very close to seeing this happen and so we, at Destinations Africa, are making certain that we and you, are fully prepared to make your safari dreams come to fruition.