Park is still relatively undeveloped, but its
beauty lies in its absolute wilderness state. The diversity of animals is not as
wide as the other big parks, but the opportunities to get close to 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 river is a
massive wildlife sanctuary.
The rivers edge is overhung with a thick riverine fringe,
mostly diasporus, ficus and other riverine species. Further inland is a
fringed with mopane forest and interspersed with winterthorn trees Acacia albida.
The hills which form the backdrop to the park are covered in broadleaf woodland.
The Lower Zambezi National
Park covers an area of 4092 square kilometers, but most of the game is concentrated along
the valley floor. There is an escarpment along the northern end which acts as a physical
barrier to most of the parks animal species. Enormous herds of elephant, some up to 100
strong, are often seen at the rivers edge. Island hopping buffalo and
waterbuck are common. The park also hosts good populations of
listen too for the ubiquitous cry of the fish eagle.
lodges and canoeing operators provide the best access to the park. They all offer pick-ups
from either Lusaka or Chirundu (where there is a small motel) or Kariba in Zimbabwe.
The Chongwe River demarcates the western boundary of the
park and can be accessed from Chirundu along a rough road (4x4 recommended), crossing the
Kafue River by pontoon just beyond Gwabi Lodge.
From April there will be a pontoon that
crosses the Zambezi from Luangwa Town to Kanyemba in Zimbabwe and to Zumbo
in Mozambique. All at the Zambezi/Luangwa confluence.
Fishing is good along the river, all three lodges
offer fishing with rods and simple tackle provided. Healthy Tiger fish and bream catches
are common as well as vundu, a member of the catfish family, weighing up to 50 kilograms.
Strangely, cheap strong smelling soap is an excellent bait.
is a must. The lodges will provide day long canoeing trips. Float down the river at your
leisure and theyll pick you up in a speedboat at the end of the day to bring you
Several operators run 3 - 5 day trips, overnighting at very
comfortable bush camps on the banks of the river. These are highly recommended. The river
has a strong enough current to take you easily down the river with little effort. The
river guides will take you down remote channels between the islands where your
opportunities to get close to game are very high. Hippos are always in sight, elephant,
zebra, puku, impala, buffalo, kudu and baboons can be seen browsing on the banks from the
laid back comfort of your canoe. See
Safari Par Excellence
also offer participatory canoeing trips of any duration. All gear is carried
in the canoes and camps are erected on islands in the river along the way. Everyone gets
involved in setting up camp and cooking. These trips are obviously cheaper and a touch
less comfortable, but the thrill of the wilderness is that much more intense.
Safaris a canoeing
safari with limited participation camping (no equipment carried in the
canoes, excellent meals prepared by crew). Guests are met at Kariba and are transferred to exclusive campsites on the banks of the
Zambezi. Guests canoe their way down the
river with their experienced and knowledgeable river guides, staying at a
different camp site each night. 6 day and 4 day packages are offered.
(See listing under
Game drives and walking safaris offered by the lodges and camps provide excellent game
The ecological unit of LZNP and the
Chiawa Game Management Area support a relatively large population of mammals. The
escarpment and plateau regions are largely inaccessible and have not been formally
surveyed. The valley floor, although a small area is host to many of the bigger mammals,
and crocodiles, impala and warthog.
Occasionally, roan, eland
and the Samango monkey. Nocturnal animals here are
hyaena, porcupine, civet, genet and honeybadger.
The birdlife along the riverbanks is exceptional.
Many a fish eagle can be seen and heard for miles around. Nesting along the cliffs are
white fronted and carmine bee eaters. Another unusual the red winged pratincole, the
elegant crested guinea fowl, black eagle, and vast swarms of quelea. In summer the
stunning narina trogon makes its home here. Other specialities are the trumpeter hornbill,
Meyers parrot and Lilians lovebird.
The vegetation in the area is predominated by
albida trees, a thorn species 10 - 30m high with the classical shady umbrella canopy.
It is able to tolerate sandier soils than other woodland species and serves to stabilise
infertile sandbanks and reduce erosion. Winterthorn pods are also remarkably nutritious to
elephants who digest it leaving about 40% intact, thereby contributing to its
The best time is mid season from
June to September,
but all lodges and canoeing operators are open from April to November. Kayila lodge is
open all year. Fishing is at its best in September / October.
for a comprehensive list of
lodges and camps in and around the Lower
Zambezi National Park
Conservation Lower Zambezi
- a group of
concerned operators in the park that work hard
to ensure the area is a safe refuge for
elephants and other wildlife.
The Humbabush Foundation - raises
funds for Conservation Lower Zambezi towards education and the eradication
of poaching in the area.