Zambia is filled with natural wonders that dazzles the senses of which the spectacular Victoria Falls must be the most awesome. In addition Zambia offers stunning rivers, mountains and incredible game viewing. Land of the wild Zambezi River, breathtaking lakes and wetland. Also blessed with 17 magnificent waterfalls apart from the spectacular Victoria Falls, with 5 massive lakes offering excellent fishing. Lake Kariba is no doubt Zambis’s undiscovered French Riveira.
Zambia is situated mainly on a vast plateau 3000m above sea level and boasts the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa rivers - as well as one of the largest waterfalls in the world, the Victoria Falls, which it shares with neighbouring Zimbabwe. Most of the country has a mild, pleasant climate, while the river valleys are hotter and more humid; the extreme north becomes tropical on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, one of Zambia's ten large lakes. While Lusaka is the country's capital, Livingstone, just ten kilometres from the Falls, is more well known to travellers as the 'adventure capital' offering adrenalin-packed activities on and around the Falls and the Zambezi River.
When it comes to wildlife, Zambia offers impressive diversity as well as large concentrations and numbers and some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent. Endemic subspecies of giraffe and wildebeest are found in the Luangwa, while enormous herds of black lechwe inhabit the floodplains of the Bangweulu. Birdlife is particularly prolific, with 740 bird species found here, including many specials; it is the southernmost extreme of the bizarre-looking African Shoebill's range for example and one of the best places to see this sought-after species.
The historical town of Livingstone is itself not very large or busy, but is the home base for travelers coming to se the Victory Falls. Safari into Zambia offers you magnificent game viewing in Kafue – the largest of Zambia’s 19 national parks and the only park where you will find cheetah. Canoe in the company of hippos in the lower Zambezi Nation Park – an authentic safari experience. Birthplace of the African walking safari through South Luangwa National Park, while exploring the remote wilderness of Africa, accompanied by a skilled walking guide and staying in mobile safari camps like the popular Classic Zambia Walking Safari. Imagine paddling on dugout through the Bangweulu Swamps. Zambia’s own Serengeti is home to one of Africa’s last great wildebeest migration in Liuwa Plain National Park.
If your ultimate safari was not enough, hop across Zambia’s border to Lake Malawi or the Archipelagos of Mozambique with it’s unspoilt white beaches and coral reef. Even Zanzibar with her aromas of freshly ground spices and idyllic tropical diving and romantic beach holidays will end your African holiday with a sense of ecstacy.
Zambia has three distinct seasons. December to April: warm and wet; May to August: cool and dry; September to November: hot and dry. Average temperatures in the cities in summer range from 25° C to 35° C and in winter from 6° C to 24° C.
Zambia has a tropical climate and is distinguished by a dry or wet season, instead of summer and winter. The Luangwa Valley for game viewing is best during the dry season from June to October. But then again the rainy season, with its spectacular profusion of greens and reds, changes the landscape dramatically and the bird populations increase with the arrival of migrants from the north.
Victoria Falls are the most spectacular between April and May after the rainy season but often the sprays are so thick that it is difficult to see the full width of the falls. To appreciate the magnificent rock formation and gorges, it is just as interesting to visit when the water is low at the end of the rainy season from October to December, Kafue National Park is best from May to October as is the Lower Zambezi. Ideal road traveling months are April to September as the heat is at its most bearable.
There are good international connections to Livingstone and Lusaka and frequent scheduled flights between these two major gateways. Generally, however, travel to the game parks is undertaken by private or scheduled charter.
A number of charter companies run regular flights from Lusaka and Livingstone to major destinations. Charter flights are the most viable means of getting to the main National Parks, such as Kafue, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The frequency of such flights is dependent upon the season.
Zambia is not an ideal self-drive destination, as distances are vast and the lack of infrastructure means that 4-wheel drive is the best option, although only for the very experienced traveller. Travelling by coach or train is not recommended.
Zambia is a large landlocked country, with neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Bothswana and Mozambique. With an area of 752,617km Zambia covers just 2.5% of the African continent. It is dominated by a great plateau cleaved by two major valleys - the Zambezi and Luangwa. Numerous rivers scratch its surface oozing across seasonal flood plains or cascading over magnificent waterfalls. Lakes, both man-made and ancient, languish in valleys and depressions, while Zambia’s extremes range from high, windswept grasslands to hot and sultry swamps.
At times “The Real Africa” can seem anything but real. It is far from any coast, yet boasts sandy beaches where it borders Lake Tanganyika - a favourite spot for angles. A natural template for Zambia’s border with Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River is Africa’s fourth largest at 2650 kms. No one can be left in any doubt as to the beauty and importance of this stately river. From the tempestuous cataracts of Victoria Falls to the placidity of Lake Kariba, the Zambezi has many moods. Zambia’s greatest water world, however sprawls across the shallow basin the the remote northeast. The Bengweulu Wetlands combine lake, river, swamp and plain to create a haven of some of the country’s rarest wildlife, including the sitatunga antelope and shoebill stork.
The Zambezi and its valleys are one defining aspect of this country; another is the southern end of the great African Rift system that cuts through the eastern and southern parts via several deep rifts along the course of the Luangwa River. Incredible natural features also include the breathtaking Victoria Falls, Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest natural lake in the world and the floodplains of Busanga, Barotseland, the Kafue Flats and the Bangweulu Swamps.
In general, the country is situated on a high plateau and is characterised by immensity of space and gentle horizons, broken by the enormous valleys of the Upper Zambezi and its tributaries - of which the Kafue and Luangwa Rivers are the largest. With an average height of 1200 metres above sea level the climate is comfortable rather than tropical, while the valleys of the middle Zambezi, the Luangwa and its tributaries, all about 300m above sea level, are hotter and more humid. The Kafue Flats form yet another valley trough, although the altitude, about 975m, is only slightly less than the surrounding plateaux.
In the south, the mighty Zambezi hurls itself over the lip of the Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, twists silently through the narrow Batoka Gorges before flowing into Lake Kariba and on through the Lower Zambezi Valley.
There are many national parks and reserves scattered throughout the country of which Kafue is by far the largest and oldest. To the east lies the Lower Zambezi National Park (great for canoe safaris), to the north is Zambia’s best known park, the South Luangwa (a wildlife sanctuary famous for walking safaris) and just above that the wild and remote North Luangwa. In the south west lies Zambia’s major attraction - the Victoria Falls. Known by the local people as “The Smoke that Thunders” - this spectacular and magnificent sight is the widest curtain of falling water in the world, formed by the Zambezi River crashing 100 meter over a 1.6km precipice.Health & Safety
Generally, Zambia is very safe, though in the cities and tourist areas there is always a chance of being targeted by muggers or con-artists. As always, you can reduce the risk considerably by being sensible.
Consult your doctor or an immunisation centre about the relevant vaccination requirements for the countries to which you will be travelling. We do suggest you get a Yellow Fever vaccination, because it’s compulsory for most African countries. For extra safety while travelling African countries, we recommend vaccinations for typhoid, polio, tetanus, hepatitis, meningitis and cholera. Also with your passport, make a certified copy of your certificate. Refer to www.travelclinics.co.za for more medical advise.