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  • Jamie Thom

Lower Zambezi National Park

The Lower Zambezi is still relatively undeveloped, and therein lies part of it’s beauty, it’s wilderness state. The diversity of animals is not as wide as the other big parks, but the opportunities to get close to game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are really good. The Park lies opposite the famous Mana Pools Reserve in Zimbabwe, so the whole area on both sides of the Zambezi River is a massive wildlife sanctuary.

The River’s edge is overhung with a thick riverine fringe, including ebony and fig trees. Further inland is a floodplain fringed with mopane forest and interspersed with winterthorn trees and huge acacias. The hills which form the backdrop to the park are covered in broadleaf woodland.

Even though the Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4092 square kilometers, most of the game is concentrated along the valley floor. There is an escarpment along the northern end which acts as a physical barrier to most of the Park’s animal species. Enormous herds of elephant, some up to 100 strong, are often seen at the river’s edge. ‘Island hopping’ buffalo and waterbuck are common. The Park also hosts good populations of lion and leopard, and listen too for the ubiquitous cry of the fish eagle.

There are a number of high quality lodges all spread along the Zambezi River's edge and here is what you can do in or from the park;

  • Game Drives – the best way to see and photograph the predators, large herds of elephant and buffalo is on a game drive conducted in open vehicles. You can go early in the morning, the afternoon and if you can stay up, a late night drive using spotlights!

  • Fishing – the Lower Zambezi offers one of the finest fresh water angling experiences in the world. You can try your hand at Chessa, Nkupe, Bream, Vundu, Barbel and of course the famous Tiger fish!

  • River safari – cruise down the Zambezi spotting game as you go, a perfect way to end a day in the bush having sundowners on the water!

  • Bush walks – let knowledgeable guides guide you through the bush on foot, you will focus on vegetation, birds, tracks, insects, butterflies and more.

  • Mountain Hiking – with the mountain backdrop to the Lower Zambezi National Park a variety of walks and climbs can be arranged at certain camps – some hikes will put you to the test and others which will simply provide mild exercise.

  • Canoe safari from some camps – quietly drifting with no engine is surely the best way to get up close to the animals and the bird life. This gives a whole different perspective to the African safari. It’s mostly downstream so the paddling is very relaxed.

  • Cultural Village tour from certain camps – Visitors to Chiawa Cultural Village will be able to experience the rich heritage of the Goba community, how the Goba live in the Lower Zambezi, performance arts, Zambian cuisine and more.

  • DNA – the concept of DNA (doing nothing at all!) is essentially to stay in camp, spend time relaxing by the main pool, bar or in the library, making the most of your room or perhaps the lodge spa.

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