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Your Zambia Safari: The Ultimate Guide

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.

Zambia Safari Mana Pools Sunset

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.

Lion Family Zambia Liuwa Plains

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.

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.

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.

Where to Go

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is bordered between Livingstone town, farm land and the iconic Zambezi River. It is Zambia’s smallest national park.

The small park was created in 1972 to preserve representative species of wildlife in Zambia. The park starts at the Batoka Gorge and runs for approximately 12 km along the Zambezi River. It is located above Victoria Falls.

Livingstone borders several river crossing points and wildlife migration routes that were once used by elephants. At times, these gentle giants still use these routes, a few of which are located within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Here, wildlife is found all year, especially elephants during the drier months.

Elephants Lower Zambia

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is not fenced off by any manmade borders. As a result, wildlife roams freely in and out of the park.  The park is home to migratory elephants, the endangered white rhinos, impalas, buffalo, waterbucks, wildebeests, bushbucks, warthogs, hippos, and crocodiles throughout the year. Although, the white rhino is very rarely sighted, you will also find a mixture of riverine forest, mopane wood, and grassland that provides an excellent habitat for many bird species.

The Old Drift Crossing Point and the cemetery are located within Mosi-oa-Tunya . This is where the first European settlers were laid to rest. The Old Drift was the place where ox-wagons used to be able to cross the Zambezi before there was a bridge.

Our 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.

Guides Hots Thorntree River Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia, Luxury safari lodge

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 – The New Addition to the African Bush Camps Family 

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 will offer travellers a unique, secluded, wilderness experience.   

Lolebezi River Elephant

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. 

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

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Suggested Itineraries for Your Trip to Zambia

Romantic Africa

A romantic safari like no other: experience Zimbabwe and Zambia while indulging your ultimate African fantasy on a luxury safari with African Bush Camps. Our intimate camps set the scene for both exploration and relaxation, bringing a touch of luxury to the natural world, while ensuring you create special memories to last a lifetime.

Couple on Safari Somalisa

Wake up each morning to the melody of the dawn chorus and heart-stirring vistas of wild Africa, before a day of thrilling game drives, sunset cruises, sumptuous cuisine and first-class hospitality. Simply kick back and allow yourself to be swept away by the romance and grandeur around you. This is sure to be a memorable and romantic getaway.

The Essence of Botswana & Zambia

A land of staggering beauty, Botswana has developed a tradition of top-level safari tourism, offering some of the best wildlife safaris you will find. Natural parks and vast private game reserves make up 40% of the fenceless territory, enabling huge herds of game to roam freely in contrasting landscapes of magnificent extremes, from the Kalahari’s desert plains to the Okavango’s lush waterways. Combine this with the natural wonder of the Victoria Falls and, with such a diversity of habitats and ecosystems, there is a safari for every season.

Family Safari Adventure

From wildlife spotting to nature walks, cultural excursions to sunset boat cruises, there is something for everyone on our adventure-packed family safari circuit – perfect for multi-generational travel. This is the trip of a lifetime that allows you to enjoy a hassle-free holiday as indulgent and relaxing for parents as it is exciting, educational, and fun for the children. There is a wide range of activities on offer, and our experienced safari guides will tailor these activities to the age of your children. These activities include game drives, walking excursions, and a seasonal half-hour scenic helicopter ride across the marshes between April and November.

The Magic of Three Countries

For those with an adventurous streak and a thirst for a safari rich with African wildlife and culture, we’ve got something that fuses the very best of Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia-  Our Magic of Three Countries itinerary.

Linyanti Ebony Chobe Botswana

Botswana is a paradise for mobile tented safaris and attracts the most discerning of travellers. It is a renowned safari destination for its unique blend of contrasting landscapes, abundant wildlife, and a proud history of wildlife conservation. With Zimbabwe firmly back on the African safari map, offering excellent game drives and walking safaris, and the natural wonder of Zambia’s Victoria Falls, you have the perfect safari combination.

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