If you want to stray off the beaten path on your next vacation, there are no better destinations than Zambia and Botswana. With stunning natural wonders, abundant animal life, vast stretches of beautiful wilderness, and warm, hospitable people, these African nations are an ideal setting for fun and adventure.
Against a backdrop of rugged, largely untouched terrain, visitors come to catch a glimpse of the famous “Big Five.” Both Zambia and Botswana are prime game-viewing destinations, and in addition to lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and Cape buffalo, you may encounter giraffe, hippo, zebra, antelope, and other magnificent residents of the desert. Many endemic species live here, and this is your chance to see gorgeous black-maned Kalahari lions adorable meerkats.
Zambia has 20 national parks and 34 wildlife management areas. Over 30 percent of the country is reserved for wildlife, so there is plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal with nature. Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest of the national parks, and it offers a wonderful diversity of animals and birds to enjoy. Enjoy a night safari and see if you can spot an elusive leopard or follow the river to see the biggest crocodiles in Southern Africa or catch playful elephants cooling off.
Botswana, too, has an abundance of national parks, including the renowned Chobe National Park. It encompasses over 10,500 square kilometers and has a large population of wildlife, including big cats. And, of course, no trip to Botswana is complete without a visit to Victoria Falls. It is a major tourist destination, but don’t let that stop you! It is a truly remarkable experience; the “smoke that thunders” will take your breath away.
It would be easy to enjoy a complete vacation and see more animals than people, but if you want some human contact, head into the city. Lusaka, Zambia is a growing, vibrant city that offers contemporary amenities with Zambian flair. You will find stores and shops with modern clothing and products, as well as market stalls with an eclectic array of crafts and curios. Several great restaurants will fortify you for the rest of your vacation. In Gaborone, Botswana, you can find museums, parks, botanical gardens, shops, football stadiums, and much more to fill your day.
Whether you are in the wilds of a national park or a buzzing, lively city market, you will find Botswana and Zambia to be packed with adventure at every turn. Don’t forget your camera – you will have opportunity after opportunity for excellent photos and even better memories.