Overview – Liuwa Plain NP

Alan Murphy
Expert
By Alan Murphy

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and authored the Lonely Planet guidebook to Zambia.

Alan has authored the Lonely Planet guide to Zambia.

Liuwa Plain is Zambia’s hottest, off-the-beaten-track destination. The park was neglected for many years but recently came under the African Parks Foundation umbrella. Norman Carr’s, luxury, five-star lodge has opened the park up for high-end tourism. The park is home to a spectacular wildlife migration, involving thousands of blue wildebeest, zebra and other grazers, which gather at the beginning of the Wet season.

Best Time to Go November (Animals congregate on the plain)
High Season Never (The park is rarely visited)
Size 3,660km² / 1,413mi²
Altitude 1,022-1,056m / 3,353-3,465ft

Pros & Cons

  • Home to a migration of zebra, wildebeest and other grazers
  • Very remote, little-visited park
  • A chance to stay in Zambia’s most exclusive camp
  • Game drives, walking safaris and boat safaris offered
  • Only one, expensive lodge in the park
  • Wildlife densities are low until the first rains arrive in November
  • Very seasonal park, only accessible from July to mid-December

Liuwa Plain NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

The biggest attraction in the park is the tens of thousands of blue wildebeest, accompanied by Burchell's zebra and tsessebe. They converge at the beginning of the Wet season, with the first flush of green grass. Lion, eland and buffalo were re-introduced, and cheetah can sometimes be spotted hunting oribi. Spotted hyena is the most common predator, and several packs of wild dog are resident in the area as well.

Scenery

Liuwa Plain has a very different environment to other Zambian parks. It is literally a vast, open, grassy plain that seemingly goes on forever. The grassland is only interrupted here and there by small depressions holding water, and the occasional cluster of palm trees.

Weather & Climate

Liuwa Plain has a hot, tropical climate. The mercury does rise in the build-up to the Wet season (November to April), making things uncomfortably hot on the ground. But at other times, especially in the Dry season (May to October), there’s not much change in daily temperatures. Nights, however, can get very cold in this season.

Best Time to Visit

Unlike most other parks, the Dry season (May to October) is not the best time to travel to Liuwa Plain. Wildlife viewing is very seasonal, and the big herds arrive after the first rain (usually November). This gives a very small window for drive-in visitors as the roads might become impassable from December onwards. Fly-in visitors stay at King Lewanika Lodge, which is open from late October to mid-July.

Want to Visit Liuwa Plain NP?

Liuwa Plain NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Migration Mania
4/5

Liuwa Plain in western Zambia is the answer for safari goers who’ve dreamt of seeing tens of thousands of wildebeest migrating across the wide-open plains without another vehicle or person in sight. If you’ve ever sat in the Masai Mara...

Latest User Review
Egil  –  
Zambia ZM
Reviewed: Mar 17, 2012
4/5

Liuwa Plain is fantastic, but not something for the first time safari tourist. The game is abundant, but not as diverse as in other parks. The scenery stunning but not diverse. The birdlife is just stunning!

Full Review