The extraordinary terrain of the Lower Zambezi valley is a consequence of mighty crack within the crust of the earth. Over centuries, mineral-rich volcanic soils kept by Zambezi Waterway have sustained rich vegetation, presently captivating an enormous variety of wildlife.
Although Zambia is now known as an ideal safari destination, it still holds its essence of genuine wilds, a place that does not feel surpassed by the people. The Lower Zambezi National Park lies in the scenic river valley between rolling hills of a hazy escarpment and the mighty Zambezi River.
In this remote area, the river has calmed down after its hectic journey over the Victoria Falls and through the Kariba Dam. Now, it flows calmly but insistently towards Mozambique and the sea. The river acts as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and on the south bank opposite the Lower Zambezi National Park is Zimbabwe’s equally wild Mana Pools National Park.
The park has three main habitats: the riverbanks overhung with a thick fringe of foliage and large mahogany acacia and ‘upside-down’ baobab trees; inland floodplains lined with mopane forest and interspersed with
The park covers a wide area, but the escarpment acts as a kind of barrier, keeping most animals at the bottom of the valley. This park is so beautiful that it is hard to know which to admire more, the scenery or the animals.
The Zambians who live along the Zambezi are very poor, yet their smiles are broad. They manage to eke out a meager subsistence living on the banks of the river from catching fish and irrigating a few crops.
Wildlife seems less bothered by people when they are at the water level, and there are some spectacular opportunities in this park to get close to animals from a canoe or boat. The tranquil river and floodplain scene is punctured by a huge variety of wildlife with antelopes and buffalo wandering in and out of the picture and herds of elephants up to 100 strong.
If you are a bird watcher, you will be thrilled at the colorful array of birds, including kingfishers, lovebirds, parrots and hornbills, and also upon hearing the distinctive ‘cry of Africa’ from majestic fish eagles.
Moreover, fishing is very popular in the Zambezi, and the ‘striped river dog’ or tiger fish, attracts anglers from all over the world. They can be caught on fly, spinner or bait.
Zambia, shaped like a butterfly, lies landlocked between the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn. It covers an area of about 752,610 square kilometers. In 1983, the Lower Zambezi National park was declared as a national park. Before that, it was serving as a private park of the president of Zambia. It is located in southeastern Zambia.
It is not just a park, but the complete area is a precise wildlife haven. The well-known Mana Pools National Park of Zimbabwe is on the opposite bank, which is ringed by a great Game Management Area (GMA). Due to the unavailability of fences between the GMA and the park, animals frequently meander across the region.
Remoteness is a crucial part of the Lower Zambezi Park and GMA. There, you will be able to see the sky without light pollution, with the majestic blanket of stars, including the wondrous sight of the sparkling Milky Way.
The bosom and small cottages give you the feeling of being in a setting where the modern world has yet to interrupt upon nature.
The Scenery of the Park
The Zambezi, one of the remarkable rivers of Africa, is the main feature of the park. The northern boundary of the park is the Muchinga slope, which constructs a splendid backdrop to the river in the plain—Acacia shrubs, sandy flats, and mopane woodland fringe the waterways. Figs, Leadwoods, and ebonies are a few of the alluring trees that dot the landscape.
Things to See and Do
The top things to do and see in Lower Zambezi National Park include transfer between camps by boat, marking 391 recorded species of birds, and cultural visits to Goba villages. Hiking to the Chongwe Falls, guided nature walks, and undertaking classic game drives to discover more than 57 mammal species are pretty adventurous as well.
For sundowners and afternoon tea, you can set out on a pontoon boat. Moreover, you can relish the lunch on a sandbank, the chilly water overlapping your ankle. Paddling the channels of the Zambezi River to see birds and wildlife can be pleasurable.
Traveling Options to Lower Zambezi National Park
- International Air Travel
For the visitors going on a trip to Lower Zambezi by air, a couple of flight possibilities are available for them. Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport will be the starting point.
Lusaka Airport has various daily links with Nairobi (Kenya Airways) in Kenya and Johannesburg (South African Airways). Other international connections include daily Ethiopian Airlines flight to and from Addis Abeba and Emirates flight to and from Dubai.
- Domestic Air Travel
Traveling from Lusaka to Livingstone or vice versa nationwide is also possible. It is ideal for tourists visiting Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls areas. Several visitors also tour South Luangwa National Parks; flights for it are available from Mfuwe Airport. Whereas traveling by road is possible with a 4×4 vehicle.
Lower Zambezi – An Appreciable Safari Destination
The gathering of wildlife around the water is what makes this national park an exceptional destination. The region covered by Lower Zambezi is 4,092 square kilometers, but the maximal game is concentrated, alongside the valley floor.
A cliff, along with the northern end, acts as a physical fence to several animal species of the park. An enormous herd of elephants congregate at the edge of the Zambezi River to satisfy their thirst and spray around. You can expect some tremendous photographing opportunities.
During the coracle journey on the boat, you might see hippos, glancing curiously above the surface of the water. Moreover, waterbucks, island hopping buffaloes, and prolific birdlife are often seen.
Best Time to Visit the Park
Most people who want to travel to Lower Zambezi National part visit between July, middle of Dry season (May to October), and end of Dry season. During this period, the wildlife watching of the park is at its supreme. On the other hand, the humidity and heat during the wet season (November to April) can be truly burdensome.
Zambia has three seasons:
- Hot Rainy Season
December to March is hot, humid and rainy with an abundance of insects. Lodges often close from December to March, as roads become impassable. Expect midday temperatures of at least 82°F (28°C)
- Cool Dry Winter
May to September is cool and dry, with pleasant mid-term temperatures around 75°F (24°C). Night temperatures go down to 46°F (8°C). Warm clothing is advisable for winter evenings.
- Hot Dry Season
October and November become hotter, reaching approximately 95°F (35°C).
The best time to visit Lochinvar is during the dry months from June to November.