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Zambia safari


... is an unusually earthy and high quality experience on the whole, with low visitor numbers, intimate little camps and a real focus on intimate contact with the surrounding bush. It is ideal for people who really have a passion for safari.

Zambia is a really lovely country in the southcentral part of the continent, a perennial backwater often described as"the real Africa".

To this day the country remains a relatively uncommercial location for safari, with small outfitters continuing to operate intimate little camps in remote and beautiful reserves.

Safari in Zambia is unusually earthy and involving. It therefore tends to appeal most to more outdoorsy and experienced African travellers.

Many of the better camps operate walking safaris which may include deliberate approaches to potentially dangerous wildlife, including elephants and lions.

Night vehicle safari is also a particular speciality in some areas, a chance to see both some of the nocturnal creatures, but also try to catch the main predators when they are at their most active.

As well as safari the country also happens to contain the Victoria Falls, which seem to have an almost magical appeal to travellers and are included in virtually every trip.

When to visit ...

Jun/Oct ... is the dry season in Zambia and generally considered to be the best time to be out on safari as the majority of animals converge on the few year round water sources. During the early part of the season, May/Jun, night time temperatures can be rather low, so do bring warm layers and a decent jacket. The grass and foliage cover can also be a little high during the first month or so, making it a little bit more difficult to find the animals. Towards the end of the season the wildlife viewing should be at its absolute best, but it can become extremely hot and humid day and night. Visitor numbers are relatively high, but this tends not to be too much of an issue here.

Nov/May ... is the green season, with showers being possible at any time, but generally focussed on Dec/Feb when they can become persistent. This rain can cause many of the minor tracks to become difficult and increase the grass and foliage cover, both of which make wildlife viewing more challenging. However the bush looks beautiful, with lots of wildflowers and baby animals. Visitor numbers are very low, except for the Dec/Jan holiday season, and prices are often considerably reduced.

Areas ...

South Luangwa ... to the east is the best known safari area in the country, lying to the east and providing the iconic Zambian bush experience.

North Luangwa ... is a much lesser-visited national park just to the north which is best known for its specialist walking camps.

Lower Zambezi ... to the southeast is another fantastic reserve, this time also offering motorboat and canoe trips to complement the usual vehicle and walking safaris.

Kafue ... to the west is a huge and relatively remote and little-visited wilderness with a handful of superb camps.

Livingstone ... is the area which is most commonly visited, primarily because it provides access to the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Lusaka ... is the capital, lying in the centre of the country, but generally bypassed by the majority of safari travellers.

Resources ...

Here are a few tips on issues relating to travel in Zambia ...

1. Passports and visas
2. Health
3. Money
4. Security
5. Electricity
6. Good books

How we like to include this country in trips ...

We love Zambia. The people are wonderfully friendly, the landscapes and wildlife are stunning and the whole place is somewhere with which one feels proud to be associated.

Three of the people who first founded our company had their very first experiences of working on safari in the country and continue to maintain close ties. We are lucky enough to be able to count virtually all the main safari operators as personal friends.

Although conventional wisdom dictates that Zambia is best suited to experienced safari travellers, we rarely hesitate to recommend it to first timers, especially those who are a little bit more outdoorsy. The only problem is that, after undertaking a proper safari in Zambia, you may find the experience offers in some other countries to be a little bit too tame and commercial.

The most common trip shape is a combination of South Luangwa and the Victoria Falls at Livingstone, typically over 7 to 12 nights.

Lower Zambezi or, less commonly Kafue can be added in for a further 3 to 5 nights each.

These Zambian locations are also often commonly combined combined with parts of neighbouring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa in particular.

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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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