Expert Reviews – Lochinvar NP
Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.
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The Kafue Flats
This small park is well off-the-beaten track with no facilities (although camping is possible) so come well prepared. Consisting mainly of grasslands and a lagoon which floods during the Wet season this area has been deemed a World Heritage Site - the Kafue Flats. Large wildlife is still a bit scarce as the park is recovering from years of neglect.
Birdwatching is a draw and wetland birds are a highlight. I saw a few cranes and plenty of antelope - especially the Kafue lechwes splashing about in the shallows. Otherwise I heard the unmistakable grunt of hippos surfacing and saw a jackal sneaking around. If the wildlife is not cooperating you can scratch around the remnants of an Iron Age settlement or check out the scalding water of a hot spring, too hot to dip a toe in though.
Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.
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Lonely marshlands beside the Kafue River
The Scottish cattle farmer who gave Lochinvar its name in the 1900s managed to wipe out most of the large mammals in this region and, despite more recent conservation and rehabilitation efforts, the situation has never really recovered. Like its near-neighbour Blue Lagoon National Park, Lochinvar is no match for Kafue National Park, which dominates this part of Zambia. However, it’s good for birding, and birdwatchers who make the effort to get here will find conditions more comfortable and more fruitful than in Blue Lagoon.
Few do make the trip, though, and the park felt spectacularly empty when I visited, so it’s a good choice for those who enjoy a little solitude on safari. It’s also good for those who enjoy watching antelopes – with few predators around apart from opportunistic villagers, the Kafue lechwe seem to be flourishing.