Expert Reviews – Bangweulu Wetlands
Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.
Enchanting waterways and ugly-sister storks
The soggy terrain around Lake Bangweulu, which lies in the far southeastern section of the Congo River basin in northern Zambia, is popular with water-loving birds. The prospect of seeing shoebill storks, the region’s lugubrious-looking signature species, draws determined birdwatchers to these lovely reedbeds and waterways, where there are also to flamingos, herons, kingfishers and ibis to admire.
For me, the vast herds of black lechwe are just as compelling an attraction. But while the sight of these graceful antelopes galloping though the wetlands, water flying everywhere, may be one of Zambia’s most powerful images, you really need to be in a helicopter to experience it for yourself. Overall, accessibility is a problem in Bangweulu – the swamps may be every bit as rich in biodiversity as the Okavango Delta, but in practice very few visitors get the chance to explore them.