Lower Zambezi National Park
The Lower Zambezi area, which comprises the Lower Zambezi National Park and the surrounding Game Management Areas (GMA), lies on the north bank of the Zambezi River, downstream from Kariba. It is a vast area, running from the confluence of the Kafue and Zambezi Rivers to the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers. Some of the lodges are within the park, whilst others are within the GMA. This entire area is an unspoiled gem, and is an ideal weekend getaway because of its close proximity to Lusaka. A drive of between 2.5 to 4 hours will take you into a wilderness of unspoiled beauty that boasts magnificent game viewing experiences, great fishing and gentle canoeing trips.
What can you expect to see?
Although the variety of animals is not as diverse as in some of the other big parks, the area boasts great game viewing opportunities. Elephant, buffalo, lion, many types of antelope, hippo and crocs are all there to be seen, both on game drives and from the river. The opportunity to get close to the animals whilst on a river cruise makes wildlife viewing exciting and diffferent. Most of the wildlife is concentrated along the river.
Birdlife is varied and plentiful, especially along the river. Fish Eagles can be seen and heard as they wend their way over the river looking for fish. There are many other exciting birds to see - the carmine bee-eater, Lilian's lovebird, the trumpeter hornbill, the red-winged pratincole and Meyer's parrot.
Fishing is a popular activity, with both fly and conventional fishing being enjoyed. Bream, chessa, vundu and the ever exciting tiger can all be caught. All fishing within the park is on a strict catch and release basis.
A gentle canoe trip down the river is also a great way to enjoy the tranquility of the area, and affords many opportunuties to spot game and birds.
How can we get there?
The drive from Lusaka to Chirundu takes approximately 2 hours. The last stretch is still badly potholed, so caution is advised. The gravel road from Chirundu takes one to the newly constructed bridge over the Kafue River. The road up to Chieftainess Chiawa's village is good gravel and one can gain entrance to many of the lodges from this road. From here on, the road deteriorates and a 4 x 4 is essential, but well worth it if you are looking for an exciting and scenic drive. A few of the lodges are accessed from the Great East Road.
It is possible to tow one's own boat and to launch it from one of the lodges close to the confluence of the Kafue and the Zambezi. Alternatively all the lodges offer boat transfers. It should be noted that there is a restriction on the number of boats allowed into the National Park, and boat motors may not exceed 60Hp.
There are no scheduled flights into the Lower Zambezi, however charter flights can be arranged. There are airstrips near Royal Zambezi, Kayila and near the Luangwa Boma.
Where can we Stay?
There are many lodges along the river, allowing for most tastes and affordability. There are a few camp sites in the GMA as well.