The lower Zambian stretch of the Zambezi River includes a number of excellent camps and safari lodges bordering and within the Lower Zambezi National Park. They’re small, independent and owner-managed outfits offering exceptional hosting and guiding standards with fantastic game to boot. The main safari season for the Lower Zambezi runs from May to early November.
The lower Zambezi River runs downstream from Kariba Gorge to the Mozambique border. On this stretch of the river, the northern shoreline (in Zambia) includes the Lower Zambezi National Park surrounded by Game Management Areas (GMAs). The reserve’s riverine forests, broad floodplain and woodlands provide excellent habitat for animals and the birding is spectacular year-round.
Access into the park during the green season is available but not the best idea: the better option is to canoe on the Zimbabwean shoreline if you plan to visit during the rainy season (late-November to mid-April). In the dry season, wildlife congregates near the river and everyday sightings of majestic Zambezi elephants are assured. Lions are also spotted frequently, as are leopard, and packs of wild dog also frequent the area. Buffalo, plains game and antelope are common. With a birding checklist of nearly 400 species, there’s no shortage of photographic opportunities.
We recommend two ways of tackling the broader ‘Lower Zambezi’. If Zambia is your prime interest then combine the Zambezi National Park with the Luangwa Valley. If the Lower Zambezi is, then Mana Pools is a better bet: it’s a consistently more productive safari area, with better walking and canoeing options, top-notch guides and equivalent hosting standards in camps that are just as small.
John and Trish Berry loved travelling around their native Zambezi Valley so much they started Zambezi Safari and Travel. Nearly 21 years later the company prides itself on its specialist knowledge of the region’s national parks. To read their personal advice and to find out more about the Lower Zambezi, click here www.zambezi.co.uk/destinations/zambia/lower-zambezi
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