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Philip has traveled through Zambia several times and is the author of more than 20 guidebooks to various African destinations.
Philip is the Zambia expert for SafariBookings and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.
Philip is our Zambia expert and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.
Kasanka National Park is the only privately managed national park in the country. It is run by a charity, the Kasanka Trust, and all proceeds go back into conservation and the surrounding communities. Between October and December, it hosts an annual bat migration comprising up to 12 million individual fruit bats. Witnessing these large flocks silhouetted against the sunset sky is an image that will stay with you forever.
Kasanka doesn’t have big wildlife densities, but there are some interesting species. Top of the list is the elusive sitatunga. This semi-aquatic antelope can be observed from Vivienne’s Hide, a platform overlooking the wetlands bordering the Kasanka River. Other mammals easily spotted are puku and Kinda baboons. Canoe into the wetland to look for crocodiles and possibly a playful otter showing off its acrobatic skills.
Although relatively small, the park has a good variety of habitats. Of major interest is the big swamp area that shelters the sitatunga. The rest of the park is a mosaic of grassland, miombo woodland and evergreen thickets. The rivers are fringed by forest.
Weather & Climate
It is hot and humid in the Wet season (November to April). Afternoon thunderstorms are common from December to April. During the Dry season (May to October), Kasanka has a lovely daytime temperature. But nighttime is chilly and you’ll need warm clothing for game drives.
To witness the annual bat migration, you need to visit Kasanka between October and December. The bats arrive after the first rains, the timing of which varies from year to year. The bats don’t all come together; they arrive and leave gradually. November is usually your best bet to see big numbers. Otherwise Kasanka can be visited throughout the year, though it gets harder to move around the park from December onwards throughout the rains.
Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
The world’s biggest mammal migration
Kasanka is unique in several respects. The only national park in Zambia under private management (an NGO called the Kasanka Trust), it is also the only one anywhere in Africa, if not the entire world, where the main attraction is bats. ...
The abundance of wildlife is minimal when compared to heavyweights like the neighboring (relatively speaking, it took me 2 days to get from one to the other) South Luangwa National Park. However this much smaller park has an ace up its...