Overview – Kasanka NP
Kasanka NP 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. A visit here is often paired with a stop at the Bangweulu Wetlands. The park is not a classic wildlife destination, but highly rewarding for people interested in birds. Part of the park’s habitat is swamp, and the shy and elusive sitatunga antelope is easily seen.
Pros and Cons
- All park proceeds go back into conservation and the community
- Great birding destination with many Zambian specials
- Wildlife hide overlooking a swamp gives excellent opportunities to see sitatunga
- Little-visited, off-the-beaten-track destination
- Walks, game drives, canoe and motorboat trips offered
- Fishing in the Luwombwa River
- Base for the Shoebill Trek in Bangweulu Wetlands area
- A chance to see 10 million fruit bats from October to December
- Low wildlife densities and limited variety of flagship species
- Limited accommodation
- Fishing villages take away some of the wilderness appeal
- Getting to the park is expensive and difficult
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 Fibwe Hide, a platform overlooking a wetland area. Other mammals easily spotted are Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, sable and puku. Less commonly seen is the shy roan antelope. Other small creatures include blue monkey, warthog, mongoose and straw-coloured fruit bats.
Although quite small, the park has a good variety of habitats. Of major interest is the big swamp area, home to 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
During its Dry season (May to October), Kasanka dries out and stays warm. But when the sun goes down and before it rises, cold permeates the air. You’ll need plenty of insulation from the elements if you’re going on an early or late game drive. The Wet season (November to April) brings spectacular storms and more warmth. Across the two seasons, temperatures remain fairly stable thanks to the park’s tropical climate.
Best Time to Visit
The latter part of the Dry season (May to October) is ideal for finding animals – they won’t stray far from the remaining sources of water. Roosting fruit bats and newborn animals are some of the attractions of the wetter months, though it’s much harder to get around the park once the rains have started. Either way, you won’t be troubled by crowds as Kasanka never gets many visitors.
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Kasanka Safari Reviews
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Most Helpful Expert Review
Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.
Bats galore and a laidback atmosphere
If I could rate this park for uniqueness, I’d give it top marks. Kasanka is not a classic safari destination – you rarely see elephants, lions or other large, charismatic animals here. But every year, in November and December, one small...
Latest User Review
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...