GENERAL INFORMATION - ZAMBIA
The Victoria Falls in Zambia · Livingstone · Lower Zambezi NP
The Zambezi River · South Luangwa NP · Kafue NP
Ngonye(Sioma) Falls · Lochinvar NP
The Victoria Falls from the Zambian side: The Victoria Falls are one of the world's most spectacular plunges: the 2km (1.2mi) wide Zambezi River drops over 100m (330ft) into a steeply-walled gorge. The Zambian side of Victoria Falls is sometimes forgotten, but it provides an entirely separate experience to its better-known Zimbabwean counterpart. First off, the views are different: you can sidle right up to the falling water by walking down a steep track to the base of the falls and following spindly walkways perched over the abyss. One of the best spots for a close-up is at Knife Edge Point, reached by crossing a hair-raising (but safe) footbridge through swirling clouds of spray to a cliff-girt island in the river. If the water is low and the wind favourable, you'll be treated to a magnificent view of the falls and the yawning abyss below the Zambezi Bridge.
Livingstone: Situated 8km from Victoria Falls, it was originally the capital of Northern Rhodesia until 1935. It was named in honour of the great explorer David Livingstone. (Brazzaville was named in honour of Savorgnan de Brazza. Brazzaville has kept its name but Stanleyville named after Henry Morton Stanley became Kisangani in 1971). The national museum has a collection of memorabilia relating to Dr Livingstone, with personal letters, notebooks, maps and items of clothing on display. There is also an interesting natural history gallery.
Livingstone died at Chitambo village near Lake Bangweuleu in Zambia. His servants, Susi and Chuma, carried his body to Zanzibar and he was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1874.
Lower Zambezi National Park: The most recent of Zambia’s national parks was a forgotten wilderness for many years. The Park covers an area of 4092km2. The waters of the Zambezi are a focal point for the wildlife during the dry season. The Park is totally undeveloped with only one track accessible during the dry season.
Zambezi River: This is the fourth largest river in Africa after the Nile, Congo and Niger rivers. The river flows for 2700km. Rising in the northern corner of Zambia, it turns south flowing through eastern Angola and western Zambia, before entering Zimbabwe at Kazangula. Some 65km east of Kazangula, the river plunges over the Victoria Falls. It then enters the Batonka Gorges before reaching Lake Kariba and the Kariba Dam. Flowing through the Kariba gorges and some falls and rapids it reaches Cahora Bassa Lake and dam wall in Moçambique, and thereafter on to its delta mouth on the Indian Ocean near Chinde, south of Quelimane. The main tributaries are the Chobe, the Kafue, Luangwa, and the Shire River flowing from Lake Malawi.
Several millions of years ago the Zambezi was flowing through a different course which was the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi, the Kalahari and into the Atlantic Ocean. Due to plate movement the outlet to the Atlantic was closed and the Makgadikgadi Pans, Okavango, Savute and Mababe area became a huge lake. Afterwards, the Zambezi changed its course in the direction of the present Victoria Falls and the Indian Ocean. The huge lake started to dry out, forming the numerous Makgadikgadi lakes, Nxai pan, Savute, etc.
South Luangwa National Park: For scenery and wildlife, South Luangwa is the best national park in Zambia. Vegetation ranges from dense woodland to open grassy plains, and oxbow lagoons act as natural water holes. Mammals you're likely to see include lions, buffalos, zebras and Thornicroft's giraffes. The park is also home to one of Africa's largest elephant populations, and is particularly noted for its leopards and birdlife. In the Luangwa River you'll spot hippos and crocodiles. Day, night and walking safaris are available, as are horseback rides. Accommodation includes rustic camp sites, barebones hostels, comfortable chalets and full-service resorts. The park is located about 250km (155mi) northeast of Lusaka. Most people arrive by air at Mfuwe Airport, 20km (12mi) southeast of the village of Mfuwe and the park's main gate, although you can also arrive by public transport. The park is closed during the rainy season of December to April.
Kafue National Park: This vast park is Zambia's largest, home to grassland plains stretching for hundreds of kilometres, forests lining the banks of the Kafue River, and critters big and small everywhere you look. Kafue is prime safari territory, with the lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, antelopes, zebras and even ultra-rare yellow-backed duikers to prove it. One highlight is the Busanga Plains at the northern end of the park. This 750 sq km (290 sq mi) area floods from March to May, when it becomes a giant bathing ground for thousands of hippos and millions of birds. Another good bird-watching spot is Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, where herons, spoonbills and many other waterbirds roost.
There are a number of places to stay in the park, including camp sites, chalets and lodges. Most are along the Kafue River. The park is about 200km (125mi) west of Lusaka and is accessible by car, though the roads are generally horrible and most visitors who can afford it fly in by chartered plane.
Ngonye (Sioma) Falls: If it weren't for Victoria Falls 300km (185mi) downstream, the Ngonye Falls would be a major attraction. Luckily for visitors, it's a wonderful place that's free of the tourist trappings of its better known counterpart. Admittedly, the plunge isn't nearly the same - the Ngonye Falls only fall a few metres - but the broad expanse of the cascade is a magnificent sight. There's good white-water rafting below the falls. Nearby is Sioma Ngwezi National Park, where you can spot elephants taking a night-time drink. The falls are 600km (370mi) east of Lusaka, and about 200km (125mi) south of the town of Mongu. If you aren't driving your own vehicle, the bus from Mongu to the Namibian border can let you off less than a kilometre west of the falls.
Lochinvar National Park: The Lochinvar Estate has a genuine history as an “Out of Africa” colonial cattle ranch and farm. Bequeathed to the nation in 1904, the old colonial farmhouse still stands, under a preservation order. But Lochinvar’s huge swath of unique wetland and floodplain savanna was returned to its wild state. Today it is a World Heritage Wetland Site. Situated on the Kafue River floodplain mid way between Livingstone and Lusaka, the Park is now the last stronghold of the Kafue Lechwe, an aquatic antelope of extraordinary grace.
The exotic and beautiful Lechwe Plains Tented Camp is an African fantasy under canvas. The lodge, built onto teak decking, shelters in a mature grove of acacia trees on the edge of the wide Chunga Lagoon. Just six double units cater for a maximum of 12 guests at any one time, making this a tranquil hideaway far from the main safari circuits. The close-up experience of living in the same environment as the wildlife offers a new perspective to the visitor. Peace and beauty together with ever-changing waterscapes will offer opportunities for special interest groups and individual visitors alike. Guests will have the undivided attention of the hosts and staff, including a professional ornithologist and guide.