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Zambia Safari Tours & Holidays

4.7/5  –  90 Zambia Reviews

Zambia manages to fly under the radar as a safari country. Unfathomable, given the staggeringly wonderful wildlife experiences it offers safari-goers. If there’s a word to sum up this large, land-locked, off-the-beaten-track place, it is ‘wild’. Nowhere else in southern Africa do you get such an entirely unaffected palette of wild Africa. There’s a sense of the bush that has been lost in more highly urbanized countries – here, the cyclical forces of nature still dominate the animal kingdom.

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7 Questions About Zambia Safaris

Alan Murphy
Expert
Answered by

Alan Murphy


Alan is a travel writer and author of more than 25 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia. He is also founder of RoundTrip Foundation, an international NGO dedicated to promoting responsible travel, and providing real support to impoverished communities.
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7 Questions About Zambia Safaris

Answered by Alan Murphy

When is the best time to visit Zambia?

“Zambia trips are best scheduled when it’s easiest to see the wildlife because apart from Victoria Falls, that’s the major attraction. And the best time for wildlife is the Dry season (May to October). At this time of the year animals tend to hang out near water sources, which makes capturing them on camera easier. In Zambia, the Wet season (November to April) is known as the ‘Emerald season’, named after the infinite shades of green in the luscious bush at this time of year. South Luangwa in particular is mesmerizing during the Emerald season. However, be aware that many accommodations close at this time of the year, and roads can be in very bad shape. June through to September or October is the best time to see Victoria Falls as they are at their most spectacular in these months.”

More about the best time to visit Zambia 1

Why visit Zambia, what are the major attractions?

“Zambia doesn’t have much diversity when it comes to its attractions. But what it does have is world class! The country’s premier attraction – which it shares with Zimbabwe – is ‘the Smoke that Thunders’. Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. No Zambian vacation should miss this incredible natural sight. The second major attraction which makes a Zambia tour worthwhile is its wildlife and the setting in which you can see it. Although the animal kingdom is much the same as other nearby countries, the parks are that much wilder in Zambia. Not only is South Luangwa National Park packed full of wildlife, it’s also one of the most beautiful parks in Africa. North Luangwa National Park is less developed, but no less well endowed with wildlife and specializes in walking safaris. Lower Zambezi National Park has a dreamy location on the Zambezi River, opposite Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Canoeing this mighty river is the pastime of choice here from where wildlife spotting is particularly productive. And no Zambia safari would be complete without a visit to Kafue National Park, one of Africa’s largest parks and especially good for spotting leopard. There are plenty of other wilderness areas to explore too, such as Liuwa Plain, where you can see nature at its finest via a wildlife migration that includes many thousands of grazers, such as wildebeest and zebra.”

2

What does a Zambia tour cost?

“The sky is the limit for Zambia tours. Although not exclusively top end (like Botswana for example), most Zambia safaris are pitched towards that end of the market. Generally speaking, the more accessible a park is, the cheaper a Zambia safari will be – the most accessible park in the country is Kafue, which has a major highway running through it with affordable lodges just off the highway. Zambia camping safaris have prices that are competitive with most countries in the region (except perhaps South Africa), and start at around US$150 per day – although you’re more likely to pay upward of US$200 a day. The price of a mid-range tour will be upward of US$300 a day (and can easily climb towards US$1000 a day, giving you an idea of the price bracket that luxury safaris occupy!), and will see you lounging around in comfy lodges and tented camps. There are some well-established tour operators in Zambia with fine reputations for delivering high quality, luxury safaris. If you are looking to spoil yourself then a Zambia safari package with one of the many outstanding operators on SafariBookings.com will not disappoint.”

Factors influencing the cost of a safari 3

How is the wildlife viewing in Zambia?

“The wildlife viewing in Zambia is spectacular and unique. The parks are in many ways very wild and (apart from areas of South Luangwa) very undeveloped. In some there are no facilities at all. The wildlife you will see on Zambia tours of the country’s parks tends to be equally as spectacular and untamed. Lodges are in the habit of building their accommodation on traditional wildlife tracks, which encourages animals to spend time in and around the camps. Zambia safari holidays in the country’s network of protected areas are really all about wildlife encounters in pristine African bush. Kafue National Park is famed for its leopard sightings, tree-climbing lions, enormous herds of red lechwes, plenty of other antelopes and even wild dogs. What may stick in your mind from a visit to Lower Zambezi National Park are the big tusked elephants, large buffalo herds, giant crocs lying nonchalantly on the riverbank and the pods of grunting hippos. All are best seen by paddling down the Zambezi in a canoe. South Luangwa is great for most species, including most of the Big Five (apart from rhino). And Zambia tours of Liuwa Plain National Park reveal a little-known wildlife migration in the Wet season that includes tens of thousands of blue wildebeests, Burchell's zebras and tsessebes.”

4

How safe is Zambia for tourists?

“Zambia is very safe for visitors. In particular, the parks and other wildlife areas rarely see any crime. Zambian people are friendly, courteous and full of curiosity, and most would be devastated to think you felt unsafe or unwelcome in their country. The only exception to this is the larger urban areas, such as the capital Lusaka – here the same rules apply as they would in any city. That is, don’t wear or carry flashy expensive items, leave valuables in a hotel safe, don’t walk around at night (catch a taxi instead), and be on a higher level of alert with regard to what is going on around you on the streets. In the parks and reserves, wildlife watching always entails some risk – after all wild animals are unpredictable. However, if you use a bit of common sense and listen to your guide’s instructions then you will be fine.”

5

What type of accommodation can I expect on a safari?

“In Zambia, the type of accommodation is very dependent on the park you are visiting. In South Luangwa, the country’s best-known park, you can expect all different types of lodging, from campsites and rustic bungalows, through to tented rooms on raised platforms to luxury lodges. In Kafue you can expect a decent smattering of mid-range accommodation just off the highway that splits the park, with more luxurious options buried deeper into the bush. Lower Zambezi is more off-the-beaten track with most visitors flying in to bush air strips. The accommodation reflects the price of the transport required to get here, and is pitched mainly at the top-end or luxury sector of the market. Parks such as Blue Lagoon are restricted in the accommodation they offer with limited, self-catering chalets, while others, such as Lukusuzi, require you to be totally self-sufficient as they are devoid of any facilities at all. So, when planning your Zambia safari holiday, keep in mind the type of accommodation you would prefer, including the level of luxury, and for the most choice and best value, South Luangwa is a good bet.”

6

What can I expect from an African safari in Zambia?

“is the highlight of any visit to the country. Apart from rhino, the rest of the Big Five are plentiful and the three major parks – South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue – all have excellent wildlife densities. For most people a Zambia tour will usually involve, at least in part, some luxury accommodation in the bush, and there’s no better place to spend up if you want to spoil yourself. A highlight for many people on a Zambia holiday is doing a walking safari. The guides in Zambia are some of the best in Africa, and a walking safari is a special experience. Lastly, the people of Zambia are well renowned for their warmth and hospitality – interacting with the local people is an integral part of any trip to the country.”

7

Zambia Safari Reviews

4.7/5 90 Reviews
Expert
Emma Gregg  –  
United Kingdom UK

Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.

Home of the walking safari
5/5

I think it’s fair to say that most true safari aficionadoes love the idea of spending a few days in an untamed wilderness, and are irritated by facilities which are simply too big, too grand, too slick or too popular. While Zambia can’t...

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Expert
Stephen Cunliffe  –  
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

Africa’s Hottest Safari Option
5/5

It is only in the last decade that Zambia burst back onto the African safari scene, re-building its safari reputation on the back of some epic national parks and outstanding wildlife. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Zambia and its...

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AS  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Mar 8, 2019
Excellent experience!
5/5

We used Luciano Tours and Travels to book our vacation and everything was fantastic. They were even able to help with some immigration issues and were very good about checking in with us to make sure everything was going smoothly. Zambia is...

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Guillaume d'Autichamp  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Oct 31, 2018
African safari as it should be
5/5

We visited Zambia for our Honeymoon in this October. I decided to travel back here after an incredible first visit 5 years ago. We visited Kafue, both Luangwa Parks and of course livingstone and the falls: What a wonderful and rewarding...

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Tetsuji Ida  –  
Japan JP
Reviewed: Sep 25, 2018
Want to come back again!
5/5

Wildlife and birds are exiting. We saw a lot.
Camp site was also exiting, so close to wildlife and unexpectedly clean and comfortable.
Food was also nice, thanks to our nice guide, Daniel who knows a lot about nature.

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Sharon  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Aug 14, 2018
Packed with wildlife
5/5

South Luangwa was an excellent choice. We stayed at Kafunta River Lodge which was very nice. They have a photo hide which nobody else was using so it was my own private retreat where I got some great photos of the animals at the watering...

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