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Zambia Travel | VICTORIA FALLS, ZAMBEZi RIVER, LUANGWA SAFARI

Glimpses of Morocco's attractions Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls is the world's largest waterfall located on the Zambezi River - the adventure capital of Africa.
 

      Travel and Tourism in Zambia

Zambia Travel and Tourism at a Glance

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Victoria Falls – Zambia’s most famous waterfall is Victoria Falls. Known to the local people as the ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – the Smoke that Thunders – the  Zambezi River plunges into a great cataract a mile wide and 400 feet deep. Other lesser known but beautiful waterfalls in Zambia are the Kalambo Falls near Lake Tanganyika,  Lumangwe Falls in the Northern Province and Ngonye Falls on the Zambezi.

Wildlife Parks – There are more than 15 National Parks and smaller reserves in Zambia offering walking safaris in Luangwa National Park and fishing in Kafue to open vehicle safaris in Luiwa Plains. Off the beaten track has true meaning in Zambia, with many remote destinations offering unique adventures.

Adventure Activities – Victoria Falls has been dubbed the adventure capital of Africa but adventures are found throughout Zambia: elephant back safaris, horse safaris lasting a few hours to a few days, canoeing, white water rafting, fishing and walking safaris are some of the activities that will keep the adrenalin seeker busy and satisfied.

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South Luangwa - Walking Safari

South Luangwa NP

Zambia's South Luangwa National Park is renowned for hippo, elephant and walking safaris.
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Quick Start Guide to Zambia Travel

Zambia is best known for the Victoria Falls and Zambezi River adventure activities and South Luangwa National Park walking safaris. It also has a rich history and culture as well as other parks and wildlife attractions.

Zambia is a land where great explorers, missionaries and journalists like David Livingstone and Henry Stanley bravely ventured into the unknown. It is also where crazy upside down trees grow (Baobabs) and Fossil Forests can be found.

Left: Zambia map by CIA - The World Factbook

Over 70 different tribes live peaceful as neighbors in the country they share and over 20 major ceremonies are celebrated every year. It is an honor and exhilarating experience to witness one.

Unfortunately as with many African countries, Zambia has a checkered economic history. The main exports were Copper, Ivory and Slaves, but thankfully slaves and ivory are no longer trade markets.

Zambia has a low population density. Wildlife parks and reserves, lakes and rivers are protected and provide an essential source of tourist income for the country. It is almost impossible to see it all in one trip and it is a country that one can easily visit more than once.

Read our Sidebar Links for: 10 More Exciting Things to Do in Zambia

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Victoria Falls

About Victoria Falls provides a collection of videos to help you to visualize the adventures and natural wonders that earn Victoria Falls its reputation as the Adventure Capital of Africa.

Victoria Falls is where the Zambezi River plunges into a great cataract and through a series of basalt gorges, creating a billowing spray visible for miles. The deafening thunder of its waters can be heard long before actually seeing the waterfall. When the Zambezi River is in flood, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world. The Falls combined are almost a mile wide (over 1½ km) with a drop of over 330 feet (100 – 116 m) into the gorge below.

Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls and Zambezi River

David Livingstone was so impressed by the beauty of Victoria Falls that he named it after his Queen, Victoria. The local people however describe Victoria Falls with more passion and call it Mosi-oa-Tunya, the “Smoke That Thunders”. In 1989 it was named a World Heritage Site. One of the most awe inspiring waterfalls in the world, it dwarfs the Niagara Falls and compares favorably with Iguassu Falls on the Parana River in South America. 

The perpetual spray created by the water crashing over the Falls supports a surrounding mile-long swathe of rainforest, providing a haven for lush flora and exotic fauna.

January through Mid July is when the Falls are at their best, with April and May being peak flood season. The six Falls – Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls, Armchair Falls and Eastern Cataract – together form the largest curtain of water in the world. During the height of the rainfall season, February through May, up to 500 000 cubic meters of water a minute tumble into the gorge. In the drier months of September through November, the Zambezi River slows to less than 20 000 cubic meters a minute, with considerably less water passing over the Falls.

Aerial View of Zambezi River at Victoria Falls

Aerial view: Zambezi Sun Hotel where the Zambezi River plunges over the Falls

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Adventure at Victoria Falls and on the Zambezi River

A helicopter or micro-light flight over the Falls is probably the best way to appreciate the magnitude of Victoria Falls, but paths and bridges in the vicinity all provide unique views and are well worth exploring. Remember that some take you close to the Falls and getting wet from the spray is very likely but always refreshing. Take Ziploc bags along to protect your camera equipment.

River rafting enthusiasts will find their piece of heaven in the swirling rapids of the Zambezi River as it enters Batoka Gorge. This stretch of water is internationally acclaimed as one of the best white water rafting experiences in the world. With the wildest white water in the world, approximately 50 000 people enjoy white water rafting on the Zambezi annually. At the start, a trip leader will give a detailed safety briefing and life jackets and safety helmets are issued. White water rafting on this river below the Victoria Falls has been classified by the British Canoe Union as a Grade 5 which translates as “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas.” The river is classified as a high volume pool drop river since there is little exposed rock in the rapid or in the pools below the rapid.

Rafting is not the only sport on the river, which also offers boogie boarding of the rapids, canoeing on quieter waters, sunset cruises, jet boating, fishing and more. On dry land there are the ever popular elephant back safaris, horse riding, abseiling, flying fox, bungee jumping, craft village and tribal dancing shows. Victoria Falls has deservedly earned its reputation as one of the adventure capitals of Southern Africa.

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South Luangwa National Park

Experts have called the South Luangwa National Park one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Located at the southern end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, it is 3,500 square miles (9,000km2) of wild and remote wilderness. The Luangwa River system within the Park is densely populated with a diverse range of Africa’s wildlife, especially hippo, crocodile and wading waterfowl.

Luangwa is reported to be the best place to view leopard and the only place to see Thornicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest. Birding is superb. Elegant crowned cranes congregate in large flocks at the salt pans and hundreds of large water birds can be seen wading in the shallows at the end of the dry season.

We recommend that you combine your safari in Luangwa National Park with a visit to Victoria Falls and a canoe safari on the Lower Zambezi River.

 

South Luangwa NP Walking Safari Activities

The Luangwa Valley is where today’s walking safaris originated and this is one of the few places in Africa where visitors are able to walk amongst the wildlife, accompanied for safety by experienced, expert guides and armed rangers.

When the first explorers stepped onto African soil, they set out on foot to discover the wonders of Africa. A walking safari is a nostalgic, informative and exciting way to experience the bush in the same manner. With its abundant and varied animal and bird species, a Luangwa walking safari is one of the best ways to get an intimate experience of the bush.

Accompanied by expert rangers, visitors are permitted to explore on foot and on 4x4 safaris. Guests learn the art of spoor identification, first aid in the bush and local herbal medicines. Photo opportunities seem limitless, with vast numbers of wildlife encountered along river banks, oxbow lakes and salt pans. Large pods of hippo wallow in countless hippo pools.

Mobile Walking Safari - Robin Pope Safaris

Mobile Walking Safari in South Luangwa National Park [attribution: Robin Pope Safaris]

Days in the bush start early with a wake up call at around 5:30am for breakfast and the first safari walk of the day, lasting a few hours before returning to camp for lunch. Another safari walk usually commences around 3:30pm for a couple of hours until the ranger finds a perfect spot for sundowners (cocktails) in the wild before heading back to camp. During the heat of the day, guests enjoy the wildlife from camp or simply enjoy some siesta time. Camp to camp walking safaris are also available.

 

Luangwa River Valley Wildlife

South Luangwa National Park has an intense concentration of wildlife along the Luangwa River. This could be dubbed hippo country with an estimated count of 80 - 90 hippo per mile of river. Crocodiles are plentiful, sharing their precious water real estate with the hippos. The park is home to elephant, giraffe, buffalo, leopard, lion, zebra and antelope with sixty different animal species and four hundred different bird species.

The area was once known as ‘The Kingdom of the Elephant’ or ‘The Crowded Place’ but sadly, due to poaching, rhino are no longer found in Luangwa and elephant populations took a hard hit. However conservation efforts of local communities and parks authorities have made an enormous difference and herds of up to 70 elephant are seen again. The only rhinos left in Zambia are those in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park near Victoria Falls.

Evening game drives in Luangwa National Park are permitted and give the traveler a unique opportunity to see those animals that only come to life at night such as leopard, bush babies, owls, civet, hyenas and lion.

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Lower Zambezi Canoe Safari

A unique safari is the Lower Zambezi canoe safari. An armed guide will guide the traveler down river channels, between islands and closer to wildlife than one could imagine. National parks lie along both banks of the river and animals in both parks use the river as their source of water, making game viewing fantastic. Three to five day canoe safaris run along the river. Overnights are at very comfortable bush camps along the banks which offer scrumptious meals and crisp white linen for a good rest before the next day’s paddling adventure.

 

Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest park in Zambia and is about the size of Wales. For the fishermen, Zambia will be a jewel. Kafue and Lunga Rivers are especially good for bream, barbel and water pike. Most lodges will have boats, bait and fishing rods and tackle for travelers to hire and use. Wildlife has been hard hit by poachers in Kafue but its inhabitants still include thousands of antelope such as hartebeest, red leche, water buck and their predators – lion, leopard, cheetah and few smaller carnivores. Wildlife viewing in this park is therefore very good.

 

Zambian Crafts

Some of Africa’s finest basketry comes from Zambia. Rural people make a living through fishing, cattle and agriculture and will weave baskets to supplement their income. For the subsistence farmers this is the only way to earn a living. Originally baskets were used to barter with between the villages but with tourism now on the uptake they have a new market to sell to. Materials used to make the baskets often give away the location or area of the village where it was made, as it reflects the environment in which they live. Materials used can be bamboo, liana vines, reeds, roots, grasses, rushes, papyrus palm leaves, bark and sisal. Designs are painted on using dyes like colored soils, roots, bark and leaves. Interestingly basketry is not only the making of baskets but sleeping and eating mats, beer strainers, fishing traps and many other uses, making it essential to day to day living. It is one of the many interesting cultural activities to discover about the people of Zambia.

For an experience of culture, wonder, adventure and tranquility, Zambia is the place to visit. The people and the land offer hospitality and pristine natural beauty.

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10 More Exciting Things to do
in Zambia

 1 Experience one of the seven wonders of the world, Victoria Falls.
 2 Shop as Zambians do at the various markets such as Maramba, Kamwala and Kabalonga.
 3 Experience a safari with a difference – walking with Rhinos in Mosi Oa Tunya or a horse back safari.
 4 Enjoy a number of exhilarating activities on the Zambezi River, with canoeing and white water rafting.
 5 Visit historical monuments and museums such as the Livingstone and Copperbelt Museum and the Slave Tree in Ndola.
 6 Visit Lake Tanganyika the site of two famous battles in World War 1.
 7 Catch Tiger Fish on the Zambezi River or in Lake Kariba bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia. For the angler, a fishing trip is an amazing experience in Zambia.
 8 Explore the weird but wonderful Boabab Trees and the Chirundu Fossil Forest.
 9 Visit The Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in central Zambia.
10 Safari in Kafue National Park near Lusaka, the oldest park in Zambia.

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