Which are the best National Parks in Zambia? With Vast Large Virgin National Parks and Wilderness, Zambia is known to be among the best safari countries which offers exclusivity and top-notch wilderness experiences.
You might be here looking for some of the Wildlife National Parks in Zambia with the intention to visit for safari experiences and wildlife sightings.
KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
Found in the center of western Zambia, Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest of Zambia’s national parks. It covers a massive 22,400 km2.
In recent years the Park has seen a well-managed growth in the number of Safari Camps and Lodges that operate in and around the Park.
This new interest has brought with it more visitors and investment to the area, notably in infrastructure with a number of well-graded roads and airstrips.
As a consequence of the increasing interest and benefits in terms of investment this brings, the wildlife is beginning to enjoy an increased level of protection by the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), always aided and supported by the operators in and adjoining the park.
KASANKA NATIONAL PARK
This peaceful sanctuary, situated on the southwestern edge of the Lake Bangweulu basin, is one of Zambia’s smallest national parks. It’s 450 km2 however, is so well endowed with rivers, lakes, wetlands, forests, lagoons, meadows, and dambos that it supports a uniquely wide range of animals and abundant birds and fish.
Do not expect to see large herds of animals around every corner, but it is surely one of the most picturesque parks in Zambia with superb birdlife.
About ten years ago Kasanka was in danger of becoming yet another defunct national park due to rampant poaching. David Lloyd, a British expatriate, who had lived in Zambia for many years, visited the Park in 1985 and heard the crack of gunshots.
He concluded that if there was still poaching there must still be animals there and set out to save the Park from total depletion. He teamed up with a local farmer, sought funding, and along with much of their own resources applied for official permission to rehabilitate the Park.
They built tourist camps, roads, and bridges and set up the Kasanka Trust to raise funds for this community-based project. Slowly it began to earn a little money from tourists to help cover costs.
Three years later the Zambia National Parks and Wildlife Services Department was sufficiently impressed to sign a 10-year agreement with the Trust allowing full management of the Park in conjunction with National Parks & Wildlife Services and to develop it for tourism in partnership with the local community.
Today, although there are still none of the heart-stopping walking safaris amongst elephant herds, or any lions brushing past your open vehicle as in the larger parks, there are some of the rarest birds and animals in the country, found in the beautiful miombo woodlands, swamp forest, grasslands, floodplains and riverine bushveld, to be enjoyed on leisurely walks and drives.
There are ample opportunities for fishing tigerfish, bream, and barbel in the beautiful Luwombwa River. Boats are available for hire but you should bring your own tackle.
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
Experts have dubbed South Luangwa to be one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and not without reason. The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons, is among the most intense in Africa.
The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the lifeblood of this 9059 km2 Park. The Park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds, and vegetation.
The now-famous ‘walking safari’ originated in this Park and is still one of the finest ways to experience Africa’s pristine wilderness first-hand. The changing seasons add to the Park’s richness, ranging from; dry, bare bushveld in the winter, to a lush, green wonderland in the summer months.
There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species in South Luangwa National Park. The only notable exception is the rhino, sadly poached to extinction.
LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK
This Park is still relatively undeveloped, it’s beauty lies in its wilderness state. The diversity of animals is not as wide as the other big parks, but the opportunities to get close to the game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular. The Park lies opposite the famous Mana Pools Reserve in Zimbabwe, so the whole area on both sides of the Zambezi River is a massive wildlife sanctuary.
The River’s edge is overhung with a thick riverine fringe, including ebony and fig trees. Further inland is a floodplain fringed with mopane forest and interspersed with winter thorn trees and huge acacias. The hills which form the backdrop to the Park are covered in broadleaf woodland.
NORTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK
This remote tract of land, covering 4636 square kilometers, offers one of the finest wilderness experiences in Zambia if not Africa itself. It is not open to the public and there are no permanent lodges there. Access is with one of the few safari operators granted permission to conduct walking safaris.
The beauty of visiting this Park is the truly remarkable opportunity to experience Africa as it was. It is wild and untouched and you are simply an unobtrusive witness to its natural beauty and drama.
Although declared a wilderness area, the North Park, was not open to anyone other than Game Department rangers for more than thirty years.
In 1984, Major John Harvey and his wife Lorna sought permission to conduct walking safaris in the area and for many years were the only operators in this remote wilderness.
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