Zambia off the beaten track safari

Description of Zambia off the beaten track safari

Explore Zambia’s unspoiled landscapes, abundance of wildlife and spectacular natural wonders on this two-week safari holiday, which takes you far off the beaten path.

Start at South Luangwa National Park, staying in remote areas such as a camp only accessible on foot. Then, head to North Luangwa, where there are no permanent camps and only a handful of walking safari operators, making this a truly exclusive experience and a great opportunity to see Zambia’s recently re-introduced rhino population.

Next, it’s Lower Zambezi National Park, which offers incredible wildlife-watching, stunning riverside scenery and a stay in a thatched chalet with elephants munching on acacia trees nearby. Your Zambia tour ends in Livingstone, the home of Victoria Falls, but you’ll escape the crowds with a luxury stay on a private island in the Zambezi River.

This is Zambia’s true untouched wilderness.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrival in Zambia & Transfer to South Luangwa National Park - You’ll arrive in Lusaka and take a domestic flight to Mfuwe, where you’ll be met by a private driver and transferred to your first safari destination, South Luangwa National Park. Your accommodation will be Tafika Camp, located in a secluded spot by the river in the exclusive Nsefu Sector of the national park. Unwind in your reed chalet and watch wildlife from your private verandah.
Day 2:Exploring South Luangwa National Park - Start exploring South Luangwa with morning, evening and night game drives, as well as walking safaris (Zambia’s specialty). Join expert guides to discover herds of elephant, buffalo, the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, prides of lion, as well as some of the best leopard viewing in Africa. With more than 60 mammal species and approximately 450 bird species, South Luangwa’s diversity of wildlife means you’ll be spoiled for choice for wildlife-watching activities.
Day 3:Exploring South Luangwa National Park - Don’t miss the opportunity for a night game drive, as South Luangwa is one of the few national parks in the whole of Africa to allow this activity. A game drive after dark provides you with the opportunity to see some of Zambia’s nocturnal creature, as well as big cats such as hunting lions and prowling leopards, when they’re at their most active. In the day, try a mountain biking safari for a ride on one of the park’s cycling trails or take a microflight, where you can sit in an open cockpit. There’s also the option to visit the local village of Mkasanga, where you can meet with locals and learn about their way of life.
Day 4:Transfer to Chikoko Trails, South Luangwa National Park - Next, you’ll head deeper into South Luangwa with a move to Chikoko Trails, a partner accommodation with Tafika. Chikoko Trails’ two camps, Chikoko Tree Camp and Crocodile River Camp, are both only accessible on foot. The lack of roads means that you’ll be treated to incredible wildlife sightings right at your camp. The camps only accommodate six guests at a time, so you’ll have the crackling campfire and sounds of the bush practically to yourself.
Day 5:Exploring South Luangwa National Park - South Luangwa is the birthplace of the walking safari and so the best way to enjoy wildlife watching in this remote corner of the national park is with an intrepid bush walk. Feel your senses heightened without the safety of a safari vehicle, then see the tiny creatures and plant life of the bush in more detail, as your guide and park ranger demonstrate how they track wildlife.
Day 6:Transfer to North Luangwa National Park - Heading out of South Luangwa, you’ll head up to North Luangwa via a private transfer. You’ll stay at Mwaleshi Camp; a semi-permanent, seasonal camp tucked away on a bend of the Mwaleshi River, blending seamlessly into the natural environment. Your simple thatched chalet is made from all natural materials, from which you can enjoy beautiful views of the Zambian bush.
Day 7:Exploring North Luangwa National Park - North Luangwa is truly off the beaten path as, although the park has been declared as a wilderness area, it is not open to the public and there are no permanent lodges here. Therefore, the only way to explore this unspoiled wildlife haven is via a walking safari with a permitted safari tour operator. You’ll head out into the bush with an expert guide, watching hippos congregate at the river and enjoying the tranquility of having a park practically to yourself.
Day 8:Exploring North Luangwa National Park - During your walking safaris, you’ll be treated to sightings of the endemic Cookson’s wildebeest, buffalo, zebra, lions, hyenas and an array of colourful birds. North Luangwa is also the only place where you can see the elusive black rhino, which was re-introduced to Zambia in 2003, though sightings are rare. Don’t miss an adventure upstream to the gorgeous Mwaleshi Falls, where you can also enjoy a spot of swimming.
Day 9:Transfer to Lower Zambezi National Park - Checking out of Mwaleshi, you’ll take a private transfer to the airport, which is also a game drive as you’ll be passing wildlife along the way. Your next safari stop is Lower Zambezi National Park, where you’ll be staying at the private and immersive Old Mondoro Camp, which is comprised of just five chalets featuring outdoor bathtubs overlooking the Zambezi River. There’s also the famous “loo with a view,” an outdoor toilet with impressive views of the Zambezi!
Day 10:Exploring Lower Zambezi National Park - Start your exploration of Lower Zambezi National Park with a game drive for a chance to spot lions, the rare and critically endangered African wild dog, zebra, bushbuck, hippos, crocs and more than 400 species of bird. The region around Old Mondoro also boasts some of the most prolific leopard sightings in the whole of Africa, so make the most of the night game drives available to see these incredible creatures in the wild. Night drives also offer the chance to see hyenas, genets, civets, porcupines and honey badgers.
Day 11:Exploring Lower Zambezi National Park - As well as game drives and walking safaris, the Lower Zambezi can also be explored by boat with plenty of river activities available. Enjoy a canoe safari, drifting down the river’s currents with the hippos and crocs to see wildlife come to drink at the water’s edge. Pack a picnic and head to the beautiful Chongwe Falls for a lunch with a view. Or visit a local Goba village to learn about the region’s culture as well as the amazing work done by Conservation Lower Zambezi.
Day 12:Transfer to Livingstone (Victoria Falls) - Leave Zambia’s national parks behind and head to the historic town of Livingstone, home of the epic Victoria Falls. You’ll be staying at the Islands of Siankaba Lodge, a world-class property spread across two mighty islands in the middle of the Zambezi. Flanked by Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Chobe National Park, you can enjoy the gorgeous setting, swimming pool, spa facilities, as well as an exquisite meal at the onsite restaurant and bar.
Day 13:Exploring Livingstone (Victoria Falls) - Known as Mosi Oa Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) to locals, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world (with a height of 108 metres and a width of 1,708 metres), a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Enjoy the falls with a white-water rafting trip, a helicopter flight over the falls for spectacular views, or a thrilling swim in the Devil’s Pool, a natural infinity pool right on the edge of the falls.
Day 14:Exploring Livingstone (Victoria Falls) - Other activities to enjoy in this area include a trip over the border to Zimbabwe (which has even more beautiful views of the falls), picking up souvenirs at the curio market, a guided nature walk, a mokoro canoe excursion, a sunset cruise with sundowners, a fishing trip on the Zambezi, a picnic island lunch or a cultural tour of local villages by bamboo bike or on foot.
Day 15:Departure from Zambia - You’re off-the-beaten-path tour of Zambia comes to a close as you take a domestic flight back to Lusaka for your onward international journey home. However, after two weeks exploring Zambia’s lesser-known regions and natural wonders, you’ll be leaving having experienced a truly wild African adventure, inspired to ask, “Where next?”

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
As with all of our luxury holidays, this itinerary has been crafted to ensure that it positively effects the local communities and environments visited.

This itinerary includes trips to some of Zambia's protected areas of natural beauty, including national parks and the UNESCO-listed Victoria Falls area. By visiting these sites (all entrance fees are included in your luxury tour), you are supporting the preservation and conservation of these areas, and indicating to authorities that tourists are interested in protecting Zambia's incredible natural environments. This, in turn, provides more funding for park rangers and puts more patrols on the ground, which deters and stops poaching.

Whilst out on safari, please ensure that you don’t leave any litter – everything you carry in, you must carry out. Aside from the environmental damage, litter can be harmful to the wildlife.

We also make a special effort to recommend accommodation providers which have responsible and sustainable initiatives. For example, Islands of Siankaba supports a tree planting project called Greenpop, which runs urban greening and reforestation projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

All the local guides referred to in this itinerary are paid a fair wage. We believe that using local guides is important, as it helps generate local incomes and creates jobs, plus it offers a more authentic travel experience.

We recommend independent local hotels, lodges, guesthouses and campsites, rather than international chain hotels, which helps support local communities and allows you to experience true Zambian hospitality. For example, Mwaleshi Camp supports community initiatives such as funding the Mkasanga School, a scholarship programme, an outpatient clinic and is also a partner with Pack for a Purpose, which encourages travellers to pack and donate supplies needed for the area they're visiting.

This luxury Zambia holiday includes the option for cultural experiences learning about local traditions with trips to local villages, such as Mkasanga and Goba, where you can buy authentic souvenirs. We believe getting to know the destination and the people who live there means that you will have a more authentic and meaningful travel experience.

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