For many years Zambia had the reputation of being something of a bland destination, but since the tourist boom of the 1990s many of the previously hidden treasures of Zambia’s natural landscape have been revealed, and the country is now at the forefront of the Southern African safari and venture travel scene.
Zambia stands at the crossroads of the north/south overland axis between East and Southern Africa. With one of the two venture activity centers associated with Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River on Zambian soil – the other is across the river in Zimbabwe – it is a favorite among backpackers, overlanders and budget travelers. However it has also in recent years been building a reputation for being among the premier luxury wildlife safari providers in the region, with quite a few South African and overseas lifestyle investors setting up superbly appointed lodge and tented camp destinations associated either with private or national wildlife parks.
Culturally Zambia shares something of a sparse landscape with her regional neighbors, with an urban scene that hardly excites the imagination, and a somewhat impoverished local history. However, in general facilities in the country are good, the infrastructure sound and local conditions as safe and easy as anywhere in Africa. For those in search of a quintessential African woodland and plains destination Zambia is a superb option.
Travel To & Within Zambia
Why Travel To Zambia
One of the undisputed jewels in the crown of African wildlife parks is the Luangwa Valley complex of nature conservancies. These are the North and South Luangwa National Parks, both of which are situated in the sublimely beautiful Luangwa River Valley in the east of the country. The region is best known for walking safaris, wherein an almost unparallel diversity of animal and bird-life can be viewed.
Besides these Zambia has some 19 separate national parks and conservancies, some suffering sustained neglect, but others well preserved and well appointed. Among the latter is Kafue National Park, which offers a variety of eco-regions, but most interestingly the flooded grasslands of the Kafue Flats. Others include the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a phrase meaning The Smoke That Thunders, referring to the pall of mist and spray that perpetually hovers over the Victoria Falls. The park encompasses the falls itself, and has a compact wildlife section that, while it cannot be described as either remote or extensive, nonetheless protects and showcases many vulnerable species, including a pair of White Rhino.
The Victoria Falls, and the Zambezi River itself, are shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has lately tended to be off the regional tourist map, so the adrenalin sport market associated with Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River has recently been focused on Zambia. The Zambian view of the falls is commonly agreed to be inferior to the Zimbabwean, but from Zambia it is possible to approach the lip of the falls, while the white water rafting, microlite flights, bungi jumping and a variety of other variations on river sports are excellent.
When to Travel to Zambia.
Zambia is part of the summer rainfall region so between mid-November and mid-March you can expect the countryside to be green, wet, hot and humid. It is at this time that the mosquitoes proliferate, and when wildlife disperse into the bush. The dry winter months are therefore an ideal time to visit this part of Africa, for apart from the fact that the weather is pleasantly cool during the days, and sometimes cold at night, wildlife tends to be concentrated around available water, allowing for the most productive potential for game viewing. Access to the remote parts of the country is also much easier at this time.
The down side is that the Zambezi River is lower and the rapids extremely wild. If you like this, then come in winter, if not, then come during the rains when the water is higher and the ride smoother.
There is a very low threat factor in travel to and around Zambia. Zambia has never been at war, suffers no particular border insecurities, and is on the whole an adequately policed and well ordered society. There is no recognizable threat of terrorism, and street crime is moderate with a few regular incidences of petty theft and bag snatching reported in the larger centers. Where large numbers of tourists congregate hungry eyes are always watching, but crime levels generally are low, and personal risk in the countryside nominal.