The Lower Zambezi National Park lies in the scenic river valley between rolling hills of a hazy escarpment and the mighty Zambezi River.
On this remote section, the river has calmed down after its hectic journey over the Victoria Falls and through the Kariba Dam, and now 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 mahogony acacia and ‘upside down’ baobab trees; inland floodplains lined with mopane forest and interspersed with
winterthorn trees and reed islands harbouring a myriad of wildlife; escarpment hills covered in broadleaf woodland.
The park covers a wide area but the escarpment acts as a kind of barrier keeping most animals in 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 eek out a meagre 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 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.
Bird watchers 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.
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 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 becomes hotter reaching approximately 95°F (35°C).
The best time to visit Lochinvar is during the dry months from June to November.