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Zambia

Zambia travel guide

Zambia is where those in the know go on safari, a land of unbelievable wildlife, pioneering bush walks, thundering waterfalls and sublime lodges

Zambia is sometimes considered Africa’s best-kept secret by safari aficionados. This large country (the size of France) has given nearly one third of its land to national parks and reserves – and yet it is barely on the radar of many travellers.

For lovers of wilderness, Zambia has it all: wetlands, rivers, rugged hills, large tracts of wildlife-rich bush and plenty of waterfalls, including the most iconic one of all, Victoria Falls. Here, thrillseekers can raft the Zambezi River, bungee jump off the bridge or swim in a natural rock pool right on the edge.

Wildlife lovers will be in paradise in Zambia. Leopards thrive, as do lions, elephants and other big game species including black rhinos, which were wiped out by poachers but have been reintroduced to little-visited North Luangwa National Park.

Zambia is also home of the walking safari, introduced in South Luangwa National Park by the legendary guide, Norman Carr. There is nothing to beat the experience of getting close to the wildlife on foot. And the country is renowned for the its award-winning safari guides.

Although tourism is on the increase in Zambia, you can still feel that you have discovered your own travel secret.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Go on safari in South Luangwa National Park, one of the world’s best. Take a walking safari, an open 4WD or even a microlight to look for a huge range of wildlife. If you can, head out with Manda Chisanga, winner of Wanderlust's inaugural World Guide Awards in 2006, or Abraham Banda, silver award winner in 2010.
  2. Look for the rare shoebill stork and the black lechwe in the marshy wetlands of Bangweulu.
  3. Take an elephant-back safari in the wilds of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
  4. Gaze in wonder at the Victoria Falls, before crossing to the Zimbabwean side for afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel.
  5. Take the ultimate whitewater rafting trip on the great Zambezi river (August to October are the best months).

Wanderlust tips

If going on safari make sure you have suitable clothing – avoid blue (it attracts tsetse flies), black, white and bright colours. Khaki is popular for a reason.

Take warm layers for early morning and night-time game drives as it can be surprisingly chilly when the sun is not out, especially May to July.

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