Overview – Lower Zambezi 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.

This park is set in the Zambezi Valley, on the northern bank of the Zambezi River. Mana Pools National Park hugs the river on the Zimbabwean side. The mighty Zambezi is an icon in Africa and this park won’t disappoint. The wildlife is plentiful, with four of the Big Five easily spotted (rhino is absent). The real attraction is canoeing on the Zambezi. There is nowhere else where you can see such variety and sheer numbers of animals from this exciting vantage point.

Best Time to Go July to October (Animals are easy to find)
High Season July to October (Busy and high season rates apply)
Size 4,092km² / 1,580mi²
Altitude 339-1,387m / 1,112-4,551ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing with four of the Big Five present
  • Excellent guiding
  • Great night drives, walking and boat safaris
  • Short canoe excursions, as well as canoe trips for several days
  • Only expensive, all-inclusive lodging inside the park
  • All budget accommodation is outside the park

Lower-Zambezi Safari Reviews

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

Wildlife

Buffalo and elephant are abundant and spend time on the small islands and sandbanks in the river. The park is home to some impressive tuskers and big herds regularly cross the river. Lion and leopard are easily spotted and you might come across wild dog as well. For those paddling, most memorable are the thousands of hippo that inhabit the river channels and the enormous crocs lying on the banks.

Scenery

The park's main feature is one of Africa's most famous rivers – the Zambezi. The northern boundary of the park is the Muchinga escarpment, which forms an impressive backdrop to the river in the valley. The river is fringed by sandy flats, mopane woodland and acacia shrubs. Leadwoods, figs and ebonies are just some of the beautiful trees that dot the landscape.

Weather & Climate

Lower Zambezi has a clear-cut Wet season (November to April) when the temperatures are generally hot, and afternoon showers sweep in to temporarily take the edge off the heat. The park’s equally distinctive Dry season (May to October) is a mild period when vegetation starts thinning and losing its moisture. It gets colder as you climb up from the valley, though the park’s uppermost reaches aren’t accessible to visitors.

Best Time to Visit

Most visitors to Lower Zambezi arrive between July – midway through the Dry season (May to October) – and the end of the Dry season. This is when wildlife watching is at its best in the park. If you delay your arrival beyond that, you’ll hit the area’s Wet season (November to April), when the heat and humidity can be truly oppressive.

Want to Visit Lower Zambezi NP?

Lower-Zambezi Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
On safari in elephant valley
4/5

The mile-wide Zambezi, southern Africa’s mightiest river, is the dominant feature of this spectacular park, which you can explore by canoe, on foot or on conventional 4WD game drives. The riverbanks with their ebony groves and majestic...

Latest User Review
5/5

The Lower Zambezi National Park adds the Zambezi River as another element to safaris. One day was spent floating down a side channel of the river in canoes, bringing a new perspective to seeing hippos in the water and crocodiles on the...