LIUWA PLAIN NATIONAL PARK
This remote park in the far west is pristine wilderness that to the ardent bush-lover, is its biggest attraction, and the rewards are great indeed.
The game is spread out across the plains and takes some driving around to find but to come across a vast herd of blue wildebeest, prowling wild dogs or a pride of dozing lions in this forgotten piece of Africa is especially fitting because of its completely natural and uncommercialised state.
The birdlife is abundant and the very dramatic storms and lightning rising up on the horizon, contrasting with the green and gold grasslands, create spectacular views and fantastic photographic opportunities in the summer rainy season from about November.
- Area: 3 660km² / 2 274mi²
- Founded in: 1972
- Province: Western Zambia
- Co-ordinates: -14.471915,22.50412
The game is easiest to see from August to December when the grass dies down a bit and the vegetation thins out in the winter dry season. In November as the rainy season begins, dramatic cloud formations erupt as the storms build, creating spectacular views. With the onset of the rains, carpets of flowers explode around the pans. This is also the time when large herds of blue wildebeest migrate across the plains from neighbouring Angola, always a good time for predator action.
Access to Kalabo (the nearest town to Liuwa Plain National Park) has been vastly improved due to a tar road being built over the floodplains. This means there is access to Kalabo all year around.
To get into the park there is a water crossing that has a pont (flat-bottomed ferry that works with ropes and pulleys) that takes 4×4 vehicles. From this point on there is no longer any tar but sandy roads only. 4×4s are needed to access the park and tyre pressures should be put down to accommodate the sandy conditions.
Mongu, the capital of the Western Province, is only an hour away from Kalabo and has a number of petrol stations, an ATM and a supermarket. There are also a few guest houses. It is suggested that you stop at Mongu for supplies as once in Kalabo there are generally only local markets selling a few items. The African Parks offices are just at the harbour before you cross on the pont and this is where you can check in and get any more additional information before entering Liuwa.
In November, with the onset of the rains, the massive herds of blue wildebeest arrive from Angola, traversing the plains in their thousands, very often mingling with zebra along the way or gathering around water holes and pans.
Other unusual antelope found include oribi, red lechwe, steenbok, duiker, tsessebe and roan. Jackal, serval, wildcat, wild dog as well as lion and hyena are the main predators of the area.
Many birds migrate here during the rains and massive flocks can be seen as they migrate south. Some of the more notable are the white-bellied bustard, secretary bird, red-billed and blue-billed teals, crowned and wattled cranes, long-tailed whydah, sooty chat, yellow-throated and pink-throated longclaws, large flocks of black-winged pratincoles around the pans, fish eagle, tawny eagle, martial eagle and woodland kingfisher. The plains are dotted with woodlands which also make for excellent birding.
A Guide to Visiting Liuwa Plains National Park
Up until a few years ago, not much attention was paid to the lesser-known and less-visited Liuwa Plain National Park, located in Zambia's western province. Conservation organizations such as African Parks, as well as intensive programmes of investment, protection and [...]
Three Wild Dogs Successfully Translocated to Liuwa Plain National Park
Earlier this month, (1 November 2021,) African Parks, in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), successfully translocated three African wild dogs to Liuwa Plain National Park. The return of this endangered species to Liuwa Plain is [...]
Remembering Lady Liuwa, the ‘Last Lioness’ of Liuwa Plain
It has been confirmed by African Parks that the legendary lioness fondly known as ‘Lady Liuwa’, who lived in Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia, has died of natural causes on August 9th, 2017, just one-day before World Lion Day. African Parks, a conservation [...]