Zambia Safari: Your Guide to Our Intimate Heartland

What You Will Learn About in this Guide:

  • Why you should visit our intimate heartland in Zambia
  • Wildlife in Zambia
  • Climate in Botswana
  • Languages and Cultures in Zambia
  • Our Signature Camps in Zambia
  • What to Pack on your Zambia safari
  • FAQs

Why Zambia?

Zambia is renowned for its glorious national parks, which make up one third of the country. It is home to the game-rich, south Luangwa, the calm lower Zambezi, and, of course, the iconic Victoria Falls— a vast curtain of thundering water located in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another one of Zambia’s draw cards, is its rich and diverse landscapes. Zambia has many vast, untouched areas, including mountain highlands, deep rift valleys, wetlands, and floodplains, just to name a few. The country is known for its hospitable nature. You’re in for a sure treat when meeting the locals and other travellers in search of adventure in this resourceful country.

Elephants Lower Zambia

A typical Zambia safari includes a walking safari, a visit to the Victoria Falls, the wild Zambezi River, and, of course, the raw, untamed wilderness. For travellers who are passionate about wildlife, you will soon find that Zambia is a wildlife paradise. We suggest you pack your camera and some extra batteries. This country is filled with picturesque opportunities and memorable experiences.

At African Bush Camps, we’re passionate about Africa, its wildlife, and its resources, which include the communities surrounding our camps. We’ll gladly include cultural visits as part of your itinerary. This will give you an opportunity to experience much more on your trip and will give you a deeper insight into the communities that surround our beautiful camps.

Why Should You Visit Zambia?

  • Experience one of the seven natural wonders of the world: Victoria Falls.
  • Visit one of the continent’s best safari destinations. 
  • Explore the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Kariba.
  • Experience wildlife, right on your doorstep at Thorntree River Lodge.

Wildlife in Zambia

Zambia is an excellent safari destination to view wildlife, Kafue, South Luangwa, and the Lower Zambezi are particularly fascinating. Leopard sightings are quite common, including wild dogs and cheetah, if you’re lucky. You can rest assured that you will find the Big Five in Zambia

Rhinos are more difficult to spot and are mostly restricted to Mosi-oa-Tunya and North Luangwa National Parks. Elephants, buffalo, and lions are common in most of the parks, although Kafue and South Luangwa are particularly well-known for their leopard sightings. Beyond the Big Five, you will find that Zambia is filled with fascinating rare and endangered species. This includes black lechwe and Crawshay’s zebra.

Rhino Safari

The second largest wildebeest migration in Africa takes place in November in the Liuwa Plain National Park. Kasanka National Park is home to 10 million fruit bats, which fly from October through December.

Zambia has a more pleasant climate than other tropical countries in Southern Africa. Its rivers and lakes are ideal for fishing, and the country has thriving populations of hippo and crocodiles.

Climate in Zambia

Zambia has a tropical climate characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. Here’s an overview of the climate in Zambia:

Dry Season (May to October):

  • The dry season in Zambia is considered the winter season.
  • It is generally a cooler and drier period with lower rainfall.
  • Daytime temperatures range from around 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F) on average.
  • Nights and early mornings can be cool, with temperatures dropping to around 10°C (50°F) in some regions.
  • This season is ideal for wildlife viewing as animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot.

Wet Season (November to April):

  • The wet season in Zambia coincides with the summer season.
  • It is characterized by higher temperatures and increased rainfall.
  • Daytime temperatures during this period range from around 25°C (77°F) to 35°C (95°F) on average.
  • The humidity levels are higher, especially closer to the rivers and wetland areas.
  • Rainfall varies across the country, with regions in the north and east receiving more precipitation than those in the south and west.
  • The landscape turns lush and green during this time, and it’s the breeding season for many animals, offering great opportunities for birdwatching and witnessing newborn wildlife.
  • It’s important to note that Zambia’s climate can vary across different regions and altitudes. The higher areas, such as the plateau regions, tend to be cooler than the lower-lying areas. Additionally, localized variations in rainfall patterns can occur.

Languages in Zambia

There are several languages that belong to the Bantu clan in Zambia. English is the official language, and the main language for business and education. Although there are 72 languages in Zambia, many of them could be considered dialects. While some of these languages have a long and rich history in Zambia, others, such as Lozi, are the result of migrations in the 18th and 19th centuries. All the vernacular languages of Zambia are part of the Bantu clan and are closely related.

Bemba, Nyanja, and Tonga are the most common indigenous languages in Zambia. These groups make up about 90% of Zambians.

Other indigenous languages include Ila, Mambwe, and Namwanga.

Imagine that over 70 languages have been identified as Zambian! It would be easy to believe that the country would become a nation of conflicts due to its diversity of languages.

The “One Zambia, One Nation” slogan, which was created by Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of Zambia, has contributed to the peace that Zambia has enjoyed.

The official language of Zambia, English, is another contributing factor. This choice makes it so that no one tribe feels superior to the others.

People from diverse tribal backgrounds have come together to form a friendly and gregarious atmosphere. This has allowed people to marry across tribal lines, something that was rare before.


Culture in Zambia

The modern culture of Zambia is a mixture of the values, norms, and spiritual traditions of over 70 different ethnic groups. Many of the tribes in Zambia arrived in the region through migratory waves some centuries ago. These tribes grew in number and moved on to establish new kingdoms and farm land.

Before being colonized, Zambia was home to a few free states. They had extensive economic connections with one another and the rest of the world via trade routes that connected them to the west and east coasts of Africa. Copper, ivory, and slaves were the main exports. They could be exchanged for jewellery, salt, textiles, and hardware.

Ethnically diverse people were brought together by economic interests during the colonial period. This, along with the clear influence of western standards, created a new culture that was not subject to any political directives.

Rural residents have maintained their traditional and indigenous values and customs. The government recognised the importance of culture in the development of a nation after independence in 1964 and began exploring the idea of a national identity.

The National Heritage Conservation Commission was one of the institutions created to preserve and promote Zambia’s culture. To encourage the expression of artistic talent, cultural villages and private museums were also established.

Where to Go

Our Zambia camps offer luxury and comfort, surrounded by sublime views from every angle.

Thorntree River Lodge is the perfectly positioned lodge from which to enjoy water activities on the iconic Zambezi River, while Lolebezi is set in the breathtaking, untouched wilds of the Lower Zambezi National Park.

Relax, reset and unwind while gazing at the silhouettes of the acacias against the flaming sunset, walking through the trees to spot some of Africa’s most impressive wildlife, and come back to world-class luxury in your room in the evenings.

Our Icon Camps in Zambia

Thorntree River Lodge- Haven of Serenity

The beautiful Thorntree River Lodge is located on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. Here, you will be able to unwind in the infinity pool, which seamlessly blends with the river horizon, for a moment of respite from a busy day in the bush. Thorntree River Lodge is a celebration of connection and community. Enjoy a refreshing sundowner while you experience the majestic African sunset from your deck. You may also enjoy one of our unique fine-dining experiences.

The lodge is located just 20 minutes downstream from Victoria Falls. It can be accessed via the international airports of Victoria Falls or Livingstone. Our famous kids’ club, the Ngwana Club, is open to all ages.

Thorntree River Lodge is a unique Zambia safari lodge that combines a peaceful riverside setting with an eco-conscious approach. This lodge is inspired by a mix of traditional African culture and contemporary influences. African Bush Camps’ mindful philosophy elevates your experience.

The Lodge is a peaceful base for exploring a variety of amazing activities. The shared areas offer stunning river views from their unique vantage points. The lounge flows seamlessly into the dining room, and the library has WIFI connectivity. The deck, which is located on the riverside, is home to a sunken Boma and an infinity swimming pool. Thorntree River Lodge also offers a spa and a gym that promote holistic wellness.

We offer daily excursions from our lodge in Livingstone, Zambia to the Zambian (and Zimbabwean) sides of the Victoria Falls. Private river cruises, cultural visits, and canoeing are all part of your stay. We can also book activities like bungee jumping, helicopter flips, and guided rainforest walks on your behalf.

Lolebezi – A  Luxurious Experience on the Mighty Zambezi | Icon Camp

Lolebezi is the latest addition to the African Bush Camps family. The luxury safari lodge is being built in the eastern part of the Lower Zambezi National Park on 5 hectares of unspoiled protected wilderness.  

Lolebezi offers travellers a unique, secluded, wilderness experience.   

The lodge is being constructing on the banks of the Lower Zambezi, boasting in one kilometre of river frontage. Travellers can expect a immersive, world-class Zambian experience, which celebrates the location, wildlife and the  Lolebezi’s luxurious, yet unpretentious design. 

Atzaro Okavango Camp – Sustainable Luxury in the Heart of the Delta | Icon Camp

Experience sustainable luxury at Atzaro Okavango Camp, an exquisite safari destination located in the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring landscape of this World Heritage wilderness, surrounded by lush palm islands and vibrant delta vegetation. Our eco-friendly oasis offers a unique blend of “savanna meets delta” adventures and unforgettable wildlife encounters, ensuring an unparalleled experience in the captivating beauty of the Okavango Delta.

As our esteemed guest, you’ll have the opportunity to witness iconic African wildlife year-round, including elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, giraffes, lechwes, and hippos. Whether you’re a safari enthusiast or a nature lover, our premier destination caters to your every need, providing a private and exclusive experience, regardless of the size of your travel group.

Thorntree River Lodge –  A Haven of Serenity on the Banks of the Zambezi River

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FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions

What are the popular safari destinations in Zambia?

Popular safari destinations in Zambia include South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park, and the Victoria Falls area.
When is the best time to go on a safari in Zambia?

The dry season from May to October is generally considered the best time for safaris in Zambia. During this period, wildlife congregates around water sources, making it easier to spot animals.

What wildlife can I expect to see during a Zambia safari?

Zambia is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, and numerous antelope species. You may also spot rare species like wild dogs and endemic birds.

What types of safaris are available in Zambia?

Zambia offers various safari experiences, including game drives, walking safaris, canoe safaris, and boat safaris. Each provides a unique perspective on the wildlife and landscapes of Zambia.

Are there any safety considerations or precautions to keep in mind while on a safari in Zambia?

It is important to follow the instructions of your experienced guides, maintain a safe distance from animals, and avoid any sudden movements or loud noises. Malaria precautions should be taken, and travel insurance is recommended.

What are the accommodation options for a Zambia safari?

Accommodation options range from luxury lodges and tented camps to budget-friendly campsites. Many lodges offer all-inclusive safari packages, ensuring a comfortable and immersive experience.

How do I reach the safari destinations in Zambia?

The main entry point for international travelers is through Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. Domestic flights or road transfers are then used to reach the safari destinations.

Are there any cultural or etiquette considerations to be aware of during a Zambia safari?

Respecting local customs and traditions is important. It is customary to greet locals and ask for permission before taking photographs of people. Additionally, following any specific guidelines provided by your guides or camp staff is recommended for a respectful and enjoyable safari experience.

Can I combine a Zambia safari with a visit to Victoria Falls?

Yes, many visitors combine a safari in Zambia with a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls. It’s a popular itinerary option, allowing you to experience both the wildlife-rich parks and the awe-inspiring natural wonder.

Do I need a visa to visit Zambia for a safari?

Visitors from most countries will require a visa to enter Zambia. It is recommended to check the visa requirements well in advance and obtain the necessary documentation before your trip.