Zambia map & highlights

Logistically, Zambia isn’t the easiest by road; the main routes are mostly on good quality, sealed roads, but veer off and you’ll be met by ruts and potholes aplenty. It is, however, very well connected via a good network of internal flights. You can’t fly directly from the UK to Lusaka, but once here you need only jump on a short flight and face a slow and steady two-hour car journey to reach more remote areas such as the South Luangwa National Park. Do this by road alone and you’re looking at a 13-hour stretch.
Bangweulu wetlands

1. Bangweulu wetlands

One of Africa’s most spectacular, and best kept, wildlife secrets. Over 100,000 black lechwe antelope live here and this is one of the best places in the world to see shoebill storks. As the Bangweulu swamp dries up, you can birdwatch on foot around the remaining pools. Game drives are spectacular, too, with elephant, buffalo and other antelope here, all adapted to life in a wetland environment.
Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage

2. Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage

Few tours take in this world-renowned orphanage for chimpanzees, near the DRC border, but it’s well worth a visit. On the headwaters of the Kafue River, the sanctuary houses some 120 chimps in 4,200 hectares of forest and fruit groves. It’s also home to numerous other animals which roam around the grounds. Conservation work with local communities takes place, too.
Kafue National Park

3. Kafue National Park

Kafue covers an enormous 220,000km2 and has a great conservation record, yet remains largely unexplored. The sheer quantity of wildlife you’ll encounter here is secondary to its incredible diversity – boasting numerous species of ungulate and rare antelope, plus leopard and cheetah. Those looking to tick off the Big Five in 24 hours are missing what makes this park so special.
Lake Kariba

4. Lake Kariba

Bordering Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba is the largest lake in Zambia at 280km long by 50km wide and it’s also one of the largest manmade lakes in the world. It’s known for its population of fish eagles and is studded with islands, including Chete, a road-free piece of land where leopards, impalas and lots of lions and crocs roam.
Liuwa Plain National Park

5. Liuwa Plain National Park

This remote park is a pristine wilderness. Game tends to spread out, so expect some driving, but the rewards are seeing prowling wild dogs or dozing lions, in a forgotten piece of Africa that remains undeveloped. In November, huge herds of blue wildebeest arrive from Angola – the second largest gathering of them in Africa, overshadowed by East Africa’s more famous Great Migration.

6. Livingstone

Named after the 19th century Scottish missionary explorer Dr David Livingstone, this was once the busy hub of Northern Rhodesia, until the capital’s relocation to Lusaka in 1935. Today, it’s a relaxed and friendly town by Victoria Falls, with craft markets to explore, and also a hub for the adventure scene. Book activities like rafting, bungee jumping and microlight flights over the falls here.
Lower Zambezi National Park

7. Lower Zambezi National Park

Downriver from Victoria Falls, this national park is home to some really remote camps and much wilder game due to limited exposure to people. Here, game walks bring you closer to the flora and fauna, great and small, while canoeing in the Lower Zambezi is an exciting way to see elephants, hippos, crocodiles, impala, warthog and numerous colourful birds.

8. Lusaka

Zambia’s capital doesn’t boast any obvious attractions or historical treats, and its mishmash of streets, Soviet-style high-rises and modern buildings don’t entice travellers to linger – many organised trips merely touch down here. Nevertheless, its busy markets and great restaurants are worth exploring, and the city has a genuinely African feel with an interesting, cosmopolitan population.
North Luangwa National Park

9. North Luangwa National Park

Way less visited than its famous southern counterpart, this park is Africa as it once was – wild and untouched. You won’t see many, if any, other tourists here, but will spot huge herds of buffalo and large prides of lions. The park has no permanent lodges, with only the northern section open to the public and a few operators licensed to run game drives and walking safaris here.
South Luangwa National Park

10. South Luangwa National Park

One of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world and the birthplace of the walking safari, South Luangwa National Park surpasses expectations. An unspoiled wilderness with one of the highest concentrations of animals in Africa found around the Luangwa river, it’s home to elephant, giraffe, buffalo and leopard, plus over 400 species of bird. Added bonus – it’s never crowded.
Victoria Falls

11. Victoria Falls

The locals’ nickname for Victoria Falls is ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, which means ‘the smoke that thunders’. One glimpse of this spectacular, mile-wide sheet of water tumbling into a narrow gorge below confirms why. At peak flow the falls become a raging torrent, with the spray created rising up 400m. Double the height of Canada’s Niagara Falls, this is one of the Earth’s greatest spectacles.
Zambezi River

12. Zambezi River

The great Zambezi River sets the rhythm of life for those that live along it. In the upper part, farmers and fishermen make the most of the unpolluted water. In the middle, it serves as a border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and as a playground for white water rafting and kayaking, and in the lower part, it’s flanked by national parks, supporting the abundance of wildlife that dwells there.

Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Zambia or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.


Safari and Victoria Falls (11 days):
Lusaka > South Luangwa (six days) > Livingstone > Victoria Falls

Canoe safari (10 days):
Lusaka > Nyamomba > Lower Zambezi River (3 days) > Chiawa Game Management Area > Lower Zambezi National Park

Off the beaten track and chimps (21 days):
Livingstone > Victoria Falls > Liuwa Plain National Park > Kafue National Park > Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage

Travel times in Zambia

The following times give you a rough idea of the travel times between the main attractions in Zambia.

Lusaka – Mfuwe (for South Luangwa): 1hr by plane Lusaka – South Luangwa National Park: 13hrs by car Lusaka – Livingstone: 70 mins by plane Lusaka – Livingstone: 6hrs by car Lusaka – Lower Zambezi National Park: 3-4hrs by car Lusaka – Kafue National Park: 13hrs by car Livingstone – Botswana border for Chobe National Park: 1hr by car
Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Dave3006] [Bangweulu wetlands: Mehmet Karatay] [Chimfunshi wildlife orphanage: Lileluba] [Kafue National Park: SarahDepper] [Lake Kariba: Peaches&Cream] [Liuwa Plain National Park: Jonchwalker] [Livingstone: SarahDepper] [Lower Zambezi National Park: Paul Kane] [Lusaka: tjabeljan] [North Luangwa National Park: Paul Kane] [South Luangwa National Park: Geoff Gallice] [Victoria Falls: Diego Gorge] [Zambezi River: Laura] [Sample itineraries: Henning Borgersen]