About Zambia, Zimbabwe & Malawi Travel
Kafue National Park: Kafue is Zambia’s oldest park, and, by far, the largest. It is the second largest national park in Africa. Despite the park’s proximity to both Lusaka and the Copperbelt, it has remained underdeveloped until recent years. It offers a raw and diverse slice of African wilderness with excellent game viewing, bird watching and fishing opportunities. Large prides of lion, solitary leopards and cheetahs are the prime predators. A host of smaller carnivores include side striped jackal, civet, genet and mongoose. Bird watching, especially on the rivers, is superb. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded throughout the park.
Lake Kariba: Lake Kariba, shared by both Zambia and Zimbabwe, is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. Sport fishing is good, especially for tiger fish. Houseboat journeys are popular here.
Lower Zambezi National Park: This national park sits on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River, downstream from Lake Kariba. Across the river is Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Lower Zambezi Park covers an area of 4,092 square kilometers/1,580 square miles. From the Zambezi Escarpment, the land sweep down to the river. At the edge of the river is a floodplain where most of the animals are found. Behind the floodplain grasslands is a picturesque wooded escarpment. Large herds of elephant, some numbering 100, gather at river’s edge. ‘Island hopping’ buffalo and waterbuck are also quite common. Lion, leopard, spotted hyena, serval, specklethroated otter, jackal, and rare African wild dog live here. Game viewing is on foot, in open vehicles, by motorboat and, most characteristically, by canoe, enabling the visitor to glide silently among animals.
Lusaka: Lusaka is the capital and largest city in Zambia, and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. It is home to several fine museums including the Lusaka National Museum, the Political Museum, and the Zintu Community Museum. The city also supports the Moore Pottery Factory, Lusaka Playhouse Theater, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Lusaka Central Sports Club, and the zoo and botanical gardens of the Munda Wanga Environmental Park.
South Luangwa National Park: This is the finest game park in Zambia. Along the Luangwa Valley at the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley it encompasses the Luangwa River basin. The park is adjacent to highlands and a mosaic of varied habitats extending outwards from the brooding Luangwa River. It meanders through the luxuriant valley, supporting thousands of hippo and crocodile. South Luangwa has one of the greatest game concentrations in Africa. Elephant, a wide variety of antelope, buffalo, kudu, zebra, Thornycroft’s giraffe and wildebeest occur in great numbers, as does some 400 bird species. Lion, wild dog and hyena are also common and the park is famed for its excellent leopard sightings. The South Luangwa experience differs with the seasons: in the dry winter months from June to September, small seasonal safari camps are set up in glorious seclusion. The more sophisticated lodges, close to the main gate at Mfuwe Bridge, remain open longer. The camps occupy prime sites on ancient oxbow lakes, amidst shady ebony groves, and offer day and night game drives in open vehicles. Walking safaris were pioneered in Luangwa and it still sets the standard.
Victoria Falls: Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular natural sights in the world. It can be explored from either Zambia or Zimbabwe, and they are also easily accessible from Botswana. The clouds of spray generated by this thunderous watery descent have resulted in a lush rain forest of stunning wild flowers. A host of activities are centered on the falls, the magnificent Zambezi River and the surrounding Zambezi National Park. For spectacular panoramas of the Zambezi River and the falls, visitors can savor a scenic flight by helicopter. For a more personal experience, a micro lite, a type of motorized hang glider, offers a truly inspiring and closer encounter with the falls from above. The Zambezi River has two characters – the wide gentle river above the falls, perfect for languorous sunset boat cruises or gentle canoeing. Below the falls, the more adventurous can enjoy serious whitewater rafting or jet-boating. Bungee jumping is available for the truly daring. Visitors can also sample elephant back safaris and take part in their grooming and feeding activities. The recommended season for seeing Victoria Falls is March and April to September.
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve: The reserve has diverse lowveld ecologies with populations of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo, aardvark, painted hunting dogs and caracal as well as six species of small antelope including klipspringer, Sharpe’s grysbok, grey duiker, steenbok and rare Livingstone’s suni and oribi. Malilangwe is a haven for birds with over 400 species and one of the highest concentrations of large breeding eagles in the world. There are 14 species of eagle, 11 hawks and nine different owls. The lakes contain some true trophy-sized bass and keen anglers may try their hand to catch them.
Mana Pools National Park: Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a region of the lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after the rainy season. As the lakes slowly dry up and retreat, the region attracts large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing regions. It is home to the country’s greatest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles as well as large populations of elephant and buffalo in the dry season. This remains one of the least developed national parks in Southern Africa.
Zimbabwe National Parks: Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest national park and premier game viewing area. The park holds the largest variety of animals and over 400 species of birds in addition to elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, hyena, lion, leopard, cheetah and a variety of antelope such as sable, kudu and impala. Large concentrations of game congregate around the water holes, particularly large herds of elephant. Mana Pools National Park was established in 1963. It lies along the northern border on the banks of the Zambezi River, downstream and northeast of Lake Kariba. Mana Pools is ranked as one of Africa’s outstanding wildlife reserves and during the winter months it has the highest concentration of game in the entire continent. Huge herds of elephant and buffalo are drawn to the sweet Zambezi waters, followed by lion, hyena, kudu, nyala, impala and a multitude of other game. Several of Zimbabwe’s national parks remain wild and remote while at the same time, more luxury tented camps and lodges are being sustainably developed along classic lines for a genuine safari experience.
Malawi: Although compact, Malawi is green and lush, with plateaus, highlands, forests, mountains, plains, escarpments and dramatic river valleys. The Rift Valley is the dominant feature, creating a vast chasm that is filled by Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake. The lake is home to hundreds of species of cichlid fish. The flatter areas of the Rift Valley in South Malawi are home to important wetlands, including Elephant Marsh in the Lower Shire Valley. As in many African countries, Malawi has a multi-cultural society. More than ten different ethnic groups occupy the country, each with its own history, culture and beliefs. Yet, all belong to the major African group of peoples known as the Bantu. Speaking a variety of languages (such as Swahili and Shona), the Bantu peoples are spread across central and southern Africa and form around one-third of the continent’s population. Malawi is an emerging destination that has much to offer, and tourism offers the potential to enhance the lives and futures of Malawi’s citizens.
Suggested Zambia & Zimbabwe Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Johannesburg, South Africa
This city is the pulsating heart of South Africa’s industrial and commercial life with activities such as cultural visits to Soweto, the Apartheid Museum and arts and craft galleries.
Day 2: Johannesburg / Victoria Falls, Zambia
Experience these majestic falls, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, and perhaps shop for African crafts.
Day 3: Victoria Falls / South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa is a place of primeval forest and lush savanna, stretching for hundreds of miles and encompassing the Luangwa River basin.
Day 4: South Luangwa National Park
Known for walking safaris, other activities here include day and night drives in open 4x4 vehicles, game viewing by pontoon boat and canoeing to view game up close.
Day 5: South Luangwa National Park
The concentration of plains game, especially huge buffalo herds is a highlight of the Nsefu sector of the park. This remote location offers a classic safari experience on a wooded bend of the Luangwa River.
Day 6: South Luangwa National Park / Lower Zambezi National Park
This region offers welcome sanctuary to great herds of elephant, buffalo, impala, zebra, baboon, lion and hyena.
Day 7: Lower Zambezi
Game viewing is on foot, in open vehicles and, most characteristically, by canoe, enabling close up viewing as the animals come to the water to drink.
Day 8: Lower Zambezi / Johannesburg / Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Game viewing is excellent year-round in Hwange and includes lion, large herds of elephant, buffalo, leopard and white rhino.
Day 9: Hwange National Park
The park is a bird watcher’s paradise – more than 400 species can be seen here.
Day 10: Hwange National Park / Lake Kariba
Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume, and it supports a thriving commercial fishery.
Day 11: Lake Kariba
Leopard, lion, hyena, cheetah, elephant, hippo and a multitude of antelope species inhabit the area and this is also a walker’s paradise.
Day 12: Lake Kariba / Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the country’s biggest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles in the heart of the Zambezi Valley.
Day 13: Mana Pools National Park
Large herds of elephant and buffalo together with hippo, waterbuck, kudu, nyala and eland all gather along the riverbanks.
Day 14: Mana Pools / Harare / Johannesburg / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Kafue National Park (5 days)
About the size of Massachusetts, Kafue is the second largest national park in Africa with excellent game viewing as well as fabulous fishing opportunities.
Lusaka (2 days)
Zambia’s national capital is home to several fine museums including the Lusaka National Museum, the Political Museum, and the Zintu Community Museum.
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve (4 days)
The reserve encompasses some 100,000 acres of pristine bushland in the southeastern corner of Zimbabwe with stunning wildlife viewing.
Zimbabwe’s National Parks (5-7 days)
Zimbabwe’s parks include Hwange, Lake Kariba, Mana Pools, Victoria Falls and Zambezi and offer adventure and stellar game viewing.
Malawi (4 days)
Malawi is small but no less fascinating with the Great Rift Valley running through its heart, and Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake filling the chasm. Safari to snorkeling, this emerging country provides its share of adventure.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: $750 - $2,000 per day.