A luxury Lower Zambezi safari will let you encounter gentle elephant.

Luxury safaris in the Lower Zambezi National Park

Spending time in the Lower Zambezi Valley as part of your luxury Lower Zambezi safari can give you a new perspective on Zambia – or several of them, in fact. From the top of the escarpment you can look down across the wooded floodplains that make up the valley floor, or west towards the Zambezi River’s confluence with the Kafue.

Encountering the Lower Zambezi National Park’s elephant standing on the bank during your canoe safari means you’ll be looking up at them from below, an experience which only serves to make them even more impressive.

Explorations of the wild beauty of the Zambezi’s northern bank can be undertaken by vehicle, looking out for ‘island-hopping’ herds of buffalo, or on foot – strolling beneath shady ebony and fig trees at a relaxed pace as fish eagles call and swoop from the branches above.

Which reminds me – this really is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and I especially enjoyed visiting the colourful chaos of the bee-eater colonies, where the birds had dug long tunnels into the exposed sandy riverbanks.

It might be a lifelong dream of yours to catch a tiger, as it was mine, and if so the Chongwe River will beckon. It’s hard to imagine that the tranquil scene it presents, with thickly wooded fringes overhanging the turbid water, conceals these ravening predators.

Having (temporarily) enticed several specimens from their lair with your spinners, you might try fly-fishing for more of a challenge. Or you can simply sip a sundowner with the fading daylight and observe the comings and goings on the riverside.

When to Go

Unlike some parks in Zambia, the Lower Zambezi National Park is accessible year-round. That said, the Southern African winter, or dry season, is the optimum time to visit for the best game-viewing and most agreeable climate (very little rainfall, and moderate temperatures). As water levels drop and vegetation recedes, wildlife (especially buffalo) congregates along the river. A particular highlight in August is seeing flame creepers in flower, while the tiger fishing improves as the dry season progresses. Less spray and mist means it’s also a wonderful time to visit the Victoria Falls.

The Lower Zambezi is arguably at its most beautiful in November, at the start of the summer green season. As water levels rise throughout the area, game tends to disperse and some peripheral safari roads may be closed. Rising temperatures could be a factor in your travel choices, but balanced against this is the chance to see new-born animals (and consequently, a higher likelihood of predator action). The birdlife – always excellent – becomes spectacular as migrant species fly in. Visiting Victoria Falls in this season ensures an intense experience.

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