Wildlife, Stunning Landscapes & Renowned Sites

While Zambia is more commonly known for destinations such as South Luangwa and hailed for Victoria Falls, the Lower Zambezi region is one of a few areas that offers a true taste of the best of Zambia in every aspect.

Nestled along the northern bank of the Zambezi River, the Lower Zambezi National Park stands as one of Zambia's premier safari destinations, forming an enthralling wildlife haven alongside Zimbabwe's Mana Pools. This relatively under-developed region, flanked by the Zambezi River and a distant escarpment, spans 120 kilometres/75 miles of riverfront and promises an unparalleled safari adventure.

Here, you will encounter prolific wildlife, from abundant hippos and crocodiles to herds of elephants and buffalos gracing the water's edge. The park also boasts an extraordinary birdlife population as well as a good concentration of predators.

Accommodations in the Lower Zambezi are scarce but exceptional, featuring intimate lodges, tented camps, and private villas strategically positioned along the riverbank. With stunning views over the Zambezi, these lodgings offer flexible safari programmes, allowing guests to diversify their experiences beyond traditional game drives. Start your day with a thrilling canoe safari or opt for something a little more unusual like tiger fishing—a unique departure from the typical safari routine.

 

1. Explore the Majestic Zambezi River

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Explore the Zambezi River by boat | Thorntree River Lodge

The longest east-flowing river and the fourth-longest on the continent, the grandiosity of the Zambezi River is far from understated, and a sight that few words could fully capture. With a total drainage of 1,390,000 km² and a length of 2,574 km, the Zambezi flows through six different countries, spending the most time in Zambia and making it the perfect setting to wake up to.

The riverfront delivers exceptional game viewing opportunities. Crocodiles and hippos abound in the Zambezi River, but a cruise or canoe safari will allow you to spot elephant and buffalo herds along the water’s edge or further inland as you drift downstream.

While swimming in the Zambezi River is not allowed, thrill-seekers can partake in a wide range of water activities, including white river rafting guided by experts. When it's time to unwind, treat yourself to a sunset cruise, providing a safe and serene vantage point for observing wildlife.

Highlights:

• Canoe safaris ranging anywhere from a few hours to a couple of nights.
• Easily transfer from one camp to another via the Zambezi River.
• Enjoy a romantic dinner along the river.

 

2. Experience Victoria Falls

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Victoria Falls at sunrise | The Royal Livingstone by Anantara

Setting the stage for a perfectly relaxing experience as you wind down in the Lower Zambezi, Victoria Falls provides the ideal thrilling prelude, capturing your attention and anticipation. Visible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe, the grandeur of Victoria Falls beckon as one of the most remarkable sights in Southern Africa - and being close to them is great reason to visit!

The area is also known as Africa’s 'Adventure Capital', enticing visitors to explore in any way they see fit. Experience a bird’s-eye-view by helicopter or microlight flight or get a front-row view of the Falls from Knife Edge Bridge. This is an experience unique to the Zambian side of the falls, where you can walk along on the precipice of the bridge, 100m above the gorge, for a breathtaking view of the eastern cataract of the waters - but make sure to have a raincoat with you or prepared to get soaked!

Highlights:

• Up-close views of the Victoria Falls (the eastern cataract).
• Heart-racing activities like white river rafting, ziplining & bungee jumping.
• Explore the vibrant markets and restaurants in Victoria Falls Town.
• Enjoy a fuller view with a helicopter or microlight flight over the Falls.

 

3. Wildlife at a Premier Safari Destination

Elephants make their way across the Zambezi | Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp

As is to be expected of a Zambian gem, the Lower Zambezi National Park ecosystem is known for its wildlife and teeming with frame-worthy safari finds. Those in search of predator sightings can look forward with anticipation as lions, leopards, and spotted hyenas scour the park - with the occasional African wild dog sighting. And the Zambezi River beckons to those brave enough to canoe over crocodile-filled waters.

Back on land, elephant, and buffalo herds graze in numbers all through Lower Zambezi, much like the semiaquatic hippopotami in the waters of the famous river. The park boasts a stunning 378 species of bird such as Giant Kingfishers and the African Fish Eagle, which makes for an exciting birdwatching experience - even for non-enthusiasts.

During the dry months (late May-early/November) is the best time to visit Zambia as many areas become impossible to reach during the wetter months, which run from late November to April. The dry season also brings animals out to whatever water is nearest.

Highlights:

• Embark on day and night game drives.
• See the Big 4 (lion, elephant, buffalo, and leopard).
• A birdlife-rich region for bird enthusiasts.
• Enjoy a mixture of dry land and riverine wildlife.

 

4. Diverse & Intimate Safari Accommodation

Sausage Tree Camp, nestled in Lower Zambezi National Park.

While few, accommodation in the Lower Zambezi caters to every kind of traveller. Whether your preference is luxury safari lodges that bring the lavishness of 5-star hotels to the bush, or comfortable tented camps with a rugged charm, there is a sanctuary that will tick every box on your checklist.

Time spent in Lower Zambezi makes for an intimate stay, with staff dedicated to ensuring your experience here is distinctive and all your needs catered to. Bask in prime views from villas that overlook the waters of the Zambezi River as well as easy access to the many water activities on offer. Embrace the convenience of seamless transitions between camps by water, leaving no cons to a stay within the Lower Zambezi.

Highlights:

• Exquisite lodges with all the modern-day luxuries.
• Elegant under-canvas tented camps with an authentic feel.
• Accommodations set along the Zambezi River.
• Gourmet dining accompanied by world-class facilities and service.

 

5. Game Drives, Canoe & Walking Safaris

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A classic Zambian walking safari | Thorntree River Lodge

The Lower Zambezi National Park beckons you to adventure its captivating ecosystem on your own terms. Embrace the freedom to select between day and night game drives, tailoring your safari experience to your mood. You may even consider opting for both so you can relish the unique and enchanting experience of a night drive, and the glory of one at sunrise.

If you find yourself tired by the view from the 4x4 safari vehicles and want a refreshing perspective of your surroundings, an afternoon Zambezi canoe safari is a special experience that’s sure to leave you with a newfound appreciation for water safaris. For safari-goers looking for something a little calmer than a canoe, the near-silent pontoon boats make for a relaxing cruise down the river.

Walking safaris are perhaps the most authentic safari experience. There’s a magical sense of feeling like you’re really part of the ecosystem as expert guides, who are safely armed, lead you to secret spots, and seasoned naturalists share the intricacies of the ecosystem - insects, plants birds and other biodiversity. Sightings are enjoyed from a controlled distance, bringing you close to the greatest predators and big game. A walking safari is a must for all safari returnees.

Highlights:

• Explore by 4x4 on morning and night drives.
• Canoe safaris and river cruises allow you to spot both land and aquatic creatures.
• Walking safaris allow you to truly immerse yourself in the landscape.
• Feel safe knowing all of the guides on the ground and in the water are trained with years of experience.