Why book an African Safari (Especially Now)? Read More

Our Hidden Gems of Zambia

Thirty years ago there were virtually no safaris in Zambia; now it’s a well-trodden travel destination, mostly thanks to its classic combination of Victoria Falls with the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa national parks.

And why not? Thundering Victoria Falls is rightly a world wonder while the two national parks are famous for their big game viewing. There is, accordingly, a wide range of accommodation in these destinations, and the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa are now firmly on the international safari map.

Victoria Falls view from Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls – seen from Zambia’s side of the Zambezi River – has helped establish Zambia as major safari destination.

But where does that leave the traveller looking for a more off-the-beaten-path safari experience? Those who want something a bit different, perhaps unique, and definitely without any crowds.

Good news: a land famous for its mineral wealth, Zambia has also dedicated an astonishing 40% of its land area to nature conservation in some form or another: let’s open Zambia’s natural treasure box and find those hidden gems.

💎 North Luangwa National Park

The other half of the South Luangwa once had a reputation for poaching which is perhaps why it was never much developed or marketed for tourism. But poaching is now almost non-existent which leaves a thriving natural ecosystem without the oversupply of lodges and visitors. Indeed, such is the health of the North Luangwa that black rhinos have been reintroduced, making it the only Big Five destination in Zambia; the park also home to African wild dogs, its rivers are full of hippo and crocodile, and the bird list is long and diverse.

Black rhino in North Luangwa hidden gems of Zambia

Game viewing in Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park often begins the moment you arrive.

The North Luangwa is classic safari country and best explored with a combination of 4X4 drives and guided walking safaris; Zambian guides are among the most highly trained in Africa and the on-foot experience is highly recommended. Go during the May – November dry season; it’s coolest and driest between June and August but you’ll see the best wildlife in September and October.

💎 Kasanka National Park

Lying in the Congo Basin, one of Zambia’s smallest national parks is home to one of nature’s biggest secrets: the largest mammal migration on the planet. Towards the end of each year, around ten million fruit bats arrive, all converging on a single patch of swampy forest in the park. It’s one of the last great displays of abundant wildlife and it takes place in a lush, green landscape at the interface between Africa’s grassy savannahs and its rainforests.

Bat migration in Kasanka hidden gems of Zambia

Witness the world’s greatest mammal migration at Kasanka – a unique safari experience.

Run privately with all profits returning to the park and local community, Kasanka can be explored from a handful of comfortable lodges on foot, by canoe and even mountain bike as well as by the more familiar 4X4 vehicle. Visit between July and October for the driest weather and best wildlife viewing but you’ll need to book between October and December for the bats: mid-November is the peak of the migration.

💎 Bangweulu Wetlands

The name says it all: this sprawling ecosystem of rivers and floodplains is one of Africa’s most important wetlands and home to great herds of antelope and their main predator – cheetah – as well as buffalo, hippo and hyena.

Antelopes and birds Bangweulu Wetlands hidden gems of Zambia

Bangweulu means ‘where the water meets the sky’ – a fitting name for this flooded, teeming landscape.

Once heavily poached, Bangweulu is now a community-owned and managed reserve which has resulted in a win-win relationship between local villages and the surrounding wildlife. Lying in northern Zambia, it’s a destination easiest to visit during the May to October dry season which works well with a safari in Luangwa for example but bird watchers will relish the January to April summer months. This is when migrant birds arrive and the list tops out at over 400 species; Bangweulu’s most famous bird – the prehistoric-looking Shoebill stork – is resident all year.

💎 Liuwa Plains National Park

Back in the 1990s the number of annual visitors to Liuwa Plains could be counted on one hand. Not because there is nothing there – Liuwa Plains is home to Africa’s second biggest wildebeest migration – but because it was so remote. And although there is now a handful of lodges and operators at Liuwa, it still remains one of Africa’s last hidden gems.

Liuwa Wildebeest migration experienced from a canoe safari

Watch Liuwa’s wildebeest migration from the vantage of a canoe for maximum safari experience.

Tucked away in western Zambia, Liuwa Plains is a vast grassland studded with antelope, riven by small rivers and flooded in the later summer months – January to April; this is the time to go for the best birdwatching but Liuwa Plains is driest and most accessible between May and October; the park’s biggest event, however, takes place in November and December when tens of thousands of wildebeest converge on the grasslands for their calving season, attracting predatory lions and spotted hyenas.

Hands-on Expertise

  • We’re based in Africa
  • Consultants Travel in Africa
  • Knowledgeable team
  • Expect great customer service

Accredited & Bonded

  • SATSA – Bonded Membership (2061)
  • Travel Save Compliant Certificate
  • Fully Independent & Owner Run
  • Travel Support from Start to Finish

Reviews

Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena