ZAMBIA AND BOTSWANA: Wild West (LP)
(22 DAYS LAND ONLY)
In no other area of Zambia can the mighty Zambezi River be said to have such an impact on both the history and the way of life of the people. Proof of this is shown regularly in the form of one of the continent’s most alluring and intriguing cultural events, the Kuomboka ceremony.
An amazing ceremony that has to be experienced, “Kuomboka” which means to get out of the water, is a ceremony in which the Litunga, one of Zambia’s most powerful traditional rulers, moves from his palace on the flood plain to his palace on higher ground along the edge of the valley. The region is also the site of other kind of migration, that of wildlife. The second largest wildebeest migration on the continent takes place in the area. Many consider it to be one of the most awesome wildlife spectacles in the world. In addition to its fauna and flora, the area is known for its avian riches, particularly the aquatic-bird-cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, storks, ibises, ducks, geese, plovers, jacanas, kingfisher, bishop-birds and masked weavers. This real “off the beaten” track safari includes Liuwa Plains, Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park.
DAY 1: 19 NOVEMBER 05 – LUSAKA.
After our flight, we transfer to our first night’s accommodation and check in. The rest of the day is free for a variety of optional excursions.
DAY 2: 20 November 05 – KAFUE NATIONAL PARK.
After breakfast we head west, from Lusaka on the Lusaka – Mongu road it is a distance of about 276km to Kafue National Park. Sprawling across 22,480sq km of bush country, this is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, larger than the southern African Kingdom of Lesotho, the size of Belgium or the state of Massachusetts. Of all Zambian Parks, Kafue national Park probably has the widest range of mammal species. The numbers and diversity of game reflect the size and variety of the landscape. Part of Zambia’s high central plateau, this park is between 970 and 1,470 meters above sea level and has several distinct eco-systems: riverine forests, miombo woodland, mopane woodland, teak forests and savannah as well as the wet lands associated with the huge Kafue River, which provides a permanent source of water. The river which has luxuriant riverine forest on its banks contributes the greatest diversity of land scape and offers excellent fishing opportunities.
DAY 3: 21 November 05 – KAFUE NATIONAL PARK
The animals that you are likely to encounter include zebra, buffalo, wildebeest, eland, sable, roan, bushbuck, warthog, wild dog, leopard and cheetah. Whether you are watching these or a pride of lions waiting for a chance to kill, a herd of elephants in the plains, or hyenas squabbling with vultures over the carcass of a zebra, you are conscious all the time of being in a special place. The park is also good place to see one of Africa rare antelope, the sitatunga as well as the water loving lechwe in their hundreds.
Such a complex diversity of habitants makes it one of the best locations in Africa for birding and it boast an impressive list of 478 of Zambia’s 733 recorded species. With hundreds of avian species, a visit to Kafue is a must for birding buffs. Bird species in the park include: African eagle, woolly-necked stork, marabou stork, saddle billed stork, goliath heron, giant king fisher, hammerkop, crowned crane, black winged stilt, sacred ibis, spurwing goose, Egyptian goose, cattle egret, wattled crane, Pel’s fishing owl and purple-crested lourie among others.
While it is understandable for a visitor to want to see the larger mammals, it is equally important to observe the other features of the park. These may include the unusual knobbly termite mounds scattered across the plains, the beauty of the hibiscus flower and the dung beetle in action. Such observation will only enhance your experience of the park. The Kafue River, and its tributaries, offer boating and excellent fishing opportunities. Game viewing activities are conducted daily and the optional excursion of a night drive is available.
DAY 4: 22 November 05 – Mongu
Today we break camp and head further into the wild west to Mongu. We pass Kaoma and settle into an African rest house. Mongu is 256km from the Zambezi River. If time allows we might visit the Nayuma Museum that has a collection of artefacts from western Zambia. Here we stock up with the last provisional diesel and water.
DAY 5: 23 November 05 – LIUWA PLAINS
We travel past Kalabo, where we request a scout from ZAWA to guide us and then drive the last 30km to Liuwa. Liuwa comprises of 3666 sq km of vast grassy plains watered by the Luambimba and Luanginga Rivers. The park has the distinction of being the only park where human habitation is allowed within the boundaries. This is largely due to the agreement between the central government and the Lozi traditional ruler, the Litunga. The park was once the personal hunting ground for the Litunga and when it came under government control in 1972, it was agreed that those the Litunga allowed to stay in the park would continue to do so. Getting into this spectacular park is extremely difficult and if you decide to go it alone your trip will require careful organisation and you will have to be completely self sufficient regarding water, food, petrol spare parts and camping equipment. Kalabo is not easily so the real ulendo starts here.
DAY 6, 7 and 8: 24, 25 and 26 November 05 – LIUWA PLAINS
Liuwa plain National Park is renowned for its remarkable migration of blue wildebeest away from Angola around November and December. This is the second largest migration of wildebeest after the Serengeti in Tanzania. Liuwa is well known for its huge back manned lions, which are said to be the biggest in Zambia and its elands though few, are reputedly some of the biggest in Africa.
Other mammals that occur in the park are the leopard, hyena, wild dog, zebra, buffalo, tssesebe, roan antelope, oribi, reedbuck and red lechwe. Bird life includes crowned cranes, wattled cranes and many other water birds. We will explore the park through game drives.
DAY 9: 27 November 05 – NGONYE FALLS
We leave Liuwa Plains behind and head south to Senaga, about 117km from Mongu. From Senanga, it is about 100km south-east to Ngenye Falls. One thousand five hundred meters wide, this noisy white torrent is one of the most impressive falls in the country.
DAY 10: 28 November 05 – SIOMA NGWEZI NATIONAL PARK
Our journey continues south-west. To the west of Ngonye Falls, lies Sioma Ngwezi National Park which is about 140km from Senanga. One of Zambia’s less accessible parks, Sioma Ngwezi covers an area of 5,276 sq km of miombo and mopane woodlands and teak forests. It is an arid park and like Liuwa Plain National Park, was once under the control of the Litunga. Unfortunately poaching has contributed to the loss of some of the wildlife. The road network is currently undeveloped and we will rock and roll.
DAY 11 AND 12: 29 and 30 November 05 – SIOMA NGWEZI NATIONAL PARK
Elephant, lion, leopard, warthog, zebra, common duiker, sable, roan, impala, eland and kudu may all be seen here. Apart from the Luangwa Valley and Mosi-O-Tunya national Park, this is the only other place where the giraffe may be seen in Zambia. This is a sub- species called the Angola giraffe which is much smaller and paler than the Thornicroft’s giraffe in South Luangwa national Park. The name giraffe is derived from the Arabic Xirapha (‘the one who walks quickly’) and the sight of its slow motion canter is certainly memorable. We will explore the park by vehicle and also conduct walking safaris.
DAY 13: 1 December 05 – KASANE
After an early breakfast we break camp and drive to the ferry at Kasangula, crossing the Zambezi and settle into our lodge at Kasane.
DAY 14: 2 December 05 – CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
We explore the park through game drives. The option exists to do a river safari. The Chobe National Park covers 11 700 sq km in the extreme north east corner of Botswana. It stretches from Kasane, near Kazungula, where the riverine boundaries of four African countries meet, to the Moremi Game Reserve at its southwest extremity.
The vegetation varies from tropical Linyanti swamp to the severe desert-like landscape of the Savuti, from lush flood plain grasslands to deep sands and woodlands. It was a safari area from earliest times as hunters were attracted by huge herds of elephants and migrating buffalo, zebra and wildebeest. Still today it has some of the densest concentrations in Africa of big game and their ever-present predators.
The Chobe riverfront in the north-west corner of the park is renowned for its game throughout the year. The herds of elephants are among the largest in the world. Huge prides of lions trail the game. Over 400 species of birds have been identified in the region. The skies are alive with birds of prey and the waters full of herons and waders. The rare African skimmer shoots across the water displaying its acrobatic fishing skills. Hippos and crocodiles lurk on the river edges.
Chobe was virtually a crossroads for early explorers, hunters and traders. David Livingstone came through Savuti in 1851 and referred to the marsh there as a “dismal swamp”.
DAY 15, 16 AND 17: 3, 4 and 5 December 05 – SAVUTI
We leave the relative comfort of Kasane behind and travel west to Savuti. We set up camp and explore this section of Chobe National Park through game drives. 3 nights camping
DAY 18, 19 and 20: 6, 7 and 8 December 05– VICTORIA FALLS
Today we travel to one of the seven natural wonders of the world; the Victoria Falls are the greatest curtain of falling water on earth. The clouds of spray and tremendous roar produced by this immense amount of water crashing down into a narrow chasm, gave rise to its more evocative African Name, Mosi-O-Tunya, “Smoke that Thunders”. About 1,708 metres wide and 103 metres deep at the highest point; the Victoria Falls is in fact divided into six waterfalls: Devils Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls, Armchair Falls and Eastern Cataract.
For centuries, these dazzling waterfalls were considered to be sacred and local people came here to pray and make their offerings. Only following the visit of David Livingstone on 16th November 1855 did they come to the attention of the western world. Soon they became an integral part of the grand African tour for the adventurous and wealthy. However, only with the explosion of air travel have more people been able to view them. After settling into our lodge we head for a visit. There can be few experiences on earth as gratifying as watching the gushing white waters of these magnificent falls. The experience is enhanced by the fact that it is possible to walk in front of them, unlike many other waterfalls. Well-kept paths lead to a range of different views but the most astonishing view is from the Knife Edge Bridge. This is as close as you will ever get to the falls. These days would be at leisure and one day can be used for white water rafting and the other day for canoeing. All excursions at the falls are optional and your guide will assist you in booking the excursions you would like to partake in.
DAY 21: 9 December 05 – LUSAKA
We travel north today on our way to Lusaka. We follow in the footsteps of David Livingstone after his 2nd visit to Victoria Falls. We visit a museum on the way to Lusaka. The afternoon is spent lazing around the swimming pool of our lodge or to do some last minute shopping.
DAY 22: 10 December 05 – TO AIR PORT
After breakfast we are transferred to the airport for our flight back home.
End of safari.