Travel tips for bird enthusiasts and safari seekers!
Zambia has it all: incredible wildlife, stunning scenery, and is home to some of the most notorious holiday destinations in the world. From the unique and splendid Victoria Falls, to some of the best safari holidays such as South Luangwa National Park, Lake Kariba and Kafue; By choosing this trip, you are sure to begin an adventure that you will treasure for the rest of your life!
With an estimated 740 species of birds, the country is simply a Garden of Eden for bird lovers! The vast mix of miombo forests, grassy dambos, woodlands, and wetlands makes for ideal terrain, ensuring excellent bird-watching opportunities year-round. In fact, Zambia is believed to have one of the most species-rich concentrations of birds on the African continent.
On this extraordinary 11-day safari and birding combo, you’ll travel across the country and have the privilege of encountering a rich diversity of wildlife. Expect to see lions, elephants, buffalo, zebra, red lechwe…and much more!
Are you ready for the time of your life? Zambia here we come…
Day by day itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival at Lusaka International and transfer to Chaminuka Game Reserve Lodge, on the outskirts of the city. After a delicious light lunch, you can choose between two activities: an afternoon around the reserve (which offers game drives, bush walks and horse safaris), OR a trip to the Kalimba Crocodile Farm. Either way, expect to see lots of birds and wildlife (Chaminuka has over 300 species of birds), or a host of hungry crocodiles! 🙂
Day 2: Breakfast in Chaminuka and transfer to the Lower Zambezi National Park, opposite the famous Mana Pools Reserve in Zimbabwe. Stay at Sausage Tree Camp and canoeing in the afternoon. Incredible bird photo opportunities and exciting close encounters with hippos, crocodiles and thirsty animals along the river bank! Birds of interest: trumpeter hornbill, Meyer’s parrot, Lilian’s lovebird and Narina trogon.
Day 3: Early game drive and transfer to the shores of Lake Kariba. Afternoon sunset cruise around the lake, drinks and snacks included. Overnight at Spurwing Island (Zimbabwe). Birds to see: of course the flying geese, the majestic osprey, the African darter and the gymnogen (African harrier hawk). Also keep an eye out for the area’s abundant wildlife where elephants, masses of hippos, crocodiles, buffalo and waterbuck are king!
Day 4: Morning game drive in Matusadona National Park and continue the journey south to reach “The Smoke That Thunders” – Victoria Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders in the world! Visit of the falls and accommodation at The Royal Livingstone Hotel (5 stars British Old Style, I have been there, simply extraordinary), known as the “great old woman of the falls”. Stunning view of Vic Falls and private trail just 10 minutes from the heavenly site. Make sure you have your raincoats ready as this will most likely be a “wet” experience! 😉
day 5: Wake-up call at 6 am for a short visit to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, ideal for rhino sightings. After a typical “bacon and eggs” breakfast, you will head to the oldest and largest national park in Zambia – Kafue! Truly a bird watcher’s paradise, with approximately 481 species ranging from waterfowl to terrestrial specimens.
Overnight at Hippo Lodge, in thatched chalets or rustic safari tents overlooking the Kafue River. Extraordinary game viewing on the Busanga Plains, which flourish with red lechwe, puku, the solitary and rare sitatunga, roan and sable antelope, zebras and dozens of other fascinating animals. Cat species like lion and cheetah are also quite common! Interesting bird species: the endangered wattled crane, Fulleborn’s long-clawed, African finfoot, Pels’ fishing owl, Bohms’ bee-eater and the half-collared kingfisher.
day 6: Full day inside the Kafue National Park. Bird watching safari and river cruise included in the program. Game drives and walking safaris are also a possibility. Fancy a rejuvenating hot spring bath in an exclusive sand-bottom Jacuzzi? Anything is possible at Hippo Lodge! Your wish is our request!!!
day 7: Game drive until 9 am, breakfast at Hippo Lodge and departure to Lochinvar National Park. Lochinvar has excellent birding prospects, with over 420 recorded bird species in just over 428 square kilometres. That’s almost one bird species per square mile!
We will spend the night at the Lechwe Plains tent camp. Highlights of the tour include a unique mokoro (canoe) excursion, Kafue lechwe search, and sitatungas! Watch out for birds: pink and white pelicans, African Skimmer, Baillon’s Crake, Osprey, Secretary Bird, etc.
day 8: Early departure by charter flight to the Bangweulu swamps in the northern region of the country! The area is home to the endemic black lechwe and is one of the last refuges of the amazing Shoebill, a very large stork-like bird. Your overnight stay will be Shoebill Island Camp, offering a panoramic view of the floodplain!
Days 9, 10 and 11: Last but not least, our final destination sends you to my favorite safari destination in Zambia – South Luangwa National Park! In fact, many experts see it as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world!
Overnight at the luxurious Mfuwe Lodge! Each chalet has its own en-suite bathroom and a splendid terrace overlooking one of the lagoons. The lodge also has an open boma for special dining and a campfire area for chilly late night chats under starlit African skies!
Typical birds of the area: yellow-billed and saddle storks, open-billed storks, black-headed herons, ground hornbills, hammerkops and carmine bee-eaters.
– Upon arrival: Light lunch, afternoon nap and night game drive. The Luangwa Valley is known for its remarkable and busy animal life after dark. Keep your eyes open for unusual species like African civets, genets, porcupines, and bushbabies! Also of interest are hippos, hyenas and leopards feeding (amazing area for these elusive cats)!
– Day 10: Early game drive, hearty breakfast and walking game drive through the lodge area. A second night drive is recommended, though it’s really up to you!
– Day 11: Pack up and en route to Lusaka International Airport!