The remote wilderness of the 'real' Africa
Below the mighty Congo lies a little known gem of Africa.
Nestled between Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, Zambia epitomizes the remote wilderness of the 'real' Africa. Watch the rising mist hovering majestically over the Victoria Falls, revel in the pink morning light as its surfaces over the horizon of the South Luangwa floodplains, or be caught in the thrill of navigating the Lower Zambezi River by canoe. Zambia has everything to offer, and more.
Zambia's premier attraction is undoubtedly Victoria Falls, which it shares with neighbouring Zimbabwe. You can stay in either country but most travellers head to Zambia these days. One of the world's seven natural wonders, the Falls are simply spectacular and when in full flood are the largest falling curtain of water in the world. And you can enjoy an array of activities in the 'Adrenalin Capital' of Africa.
Zambia is perhaps Southern Africa’s best kept secret, although in recent years it’s a secret that’s increasingly being told. For a long time, Botswana and South Africa have been the region’s most popular wildlife and safari destinations, but Zambia is fast emerging as an excellent alternative and indeed, for some experiences, there’s no better place to travel.
Zambia has 20 national parks of various sizes with roughly a third of the country protected within wildlife management areas of one form or another. A few of these parks, South Luangwa and Kafue in particular, are considered to be some of the best places in Africa to do a walking safari, not only for their fantastic wildlife and pristine, unfenced wilderness, but especially for the quality of their guides. Zambian field guides are recognised as some of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable in the world, winning guiding awards and accolades year after year.
And they have plenty to be enthusiastic about as Zambia isn’t just somewhere to tick off the Big Five. For one thing, rhino are almost non-existent in Zambia’s major parks, but more than that it’s the rare species and remarkable migrations that make a holiday to Zambia so special.
As the first summer rains fall in early November, thousands of blue wildebeest congregate in Liuwa Plain National Park for Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration (after the Serengeti). At the same time, some 850km to the northeast, up to 10 million fruit bats can be seen swarming across the skies of Kasanka National Park, and the very rare black lechwe antelope can be spotted in the water courses nearby.
Zambia was named after the mighty Zambezi River, which snakes through western and southern Zambia and is fed by a number of tributaries, the most important being the Kafue and the Luangwa.
The Zambezi is the forth longest river in Africa, and forms a natural boundary between the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe and flows from eastern Angola along the borders of Namibia and Botswana before traversing across Mozambique where it eventually spills into the Indian Ocean. Other wonderful waterways include the three great natural lakes of Bangweulu, Mweru and Tanganyika in northern Zambia, while Lake Kariba, one of the world's largest man-made lakes, is located along the southeastern border adjacent to Zimbabwe.
Zambia speaks to the adventurer within. Within its borders an unending plethora of serene beauty and untainted wildlife havens on the continent, easily one of the largest protected national parks in Africa. An intriguing spectacle, the iconic Victoria Falls has attracted guests far and wide to this tranquil country. With a far lesser footprint than its neighbour, Zimbabwe, many a visitor would argue that the largest falls in Africa offers even better views from the Zambian side.
This rugged mosaic of safari in all shapes and sizes is a pleasure to visit, not only on the eye, but it is also considered as one of the safest countries and is likely to leave a mark on the soul so undeniably deep that a longing to return is never far off.
It is Zambia’s two ‘most unique’ attractions that are also its most famous. Both are shared along the border with Zimbabwe and both are the biggest of their kind in the world. In full flood, Victoria Falls boasts Earth’s largest sheet of falling water and, downstream, Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made dam by volume. Both offer superb adventurous, and more sedate activities as well, from white water rafting, bungee jumping and skydiving to canoe safaris, fishing and houseboat cruises.
Zambia offers unforgettable vacations and safari journeys exploring the real Africa.