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Zambia

Zambia is a landlocked country in the centre of Southern Africa and is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. This country is known as ‘the real Africa’ and has a huge amount to offer.

From the spectacular Victoria Falls in the South and the banks of the mighty Zambezi to the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the North via world class national parks teeming with game – Zambia offers a plethora of things to do and see. All this in relative solitude; the country is half the size of Europe and with only ten million people.

The most iconic landmark in Zambia is the spectacular Victoria Falls. They are so enormous that the spray can be seen from miles away. The sheer sight of the torrents of water plummeting down the falls, churning in the ‘Boiling Pot’ and then entering the Batoka Gorge is awe inspiring. On the whole adrenaline junkies are in their element here with a vast array of extreme sports activities such as white water rafting, abseiling, gorge swinging and river surfing on offer.

The ‘Flight of the Angels’ is also popular. This gives you stunning aerial views of the falls and can be done by helicopter, microlight or fixed wing aircraft. The catchy name is owed to David Livingstone who upon his first view of the falls proclaimed it ‘a sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight’. If this all sounds a bit too much for you we’d recommend the elephant back safari or the walking tour of the falls, both exceptional if not a little tamer.

Zambia is not only famous for the Victoria Falls but for its other falls. Amongst these are Ngonye Falls also on the Zambezi and Kalombo Falls which cascades 221 metres down into a gorge on the river of the same name and then on into Lake Tanganyika.

Tanganyika became known to Europe courtesy of explorers Richard Burton and John Speake who were searching for the source of the Nile when they happened upon this giant body of water. The other famous lake is Kariba, it’s shores constitute Zambia’s undiscovered riviera. Excellent water sports are on offer here and the sunsets are some of the best in Africa. The lake is also reknowned for fishing, tigerfish and bream being the most sought after.

North Luangwa reserve is best described as ‘wild’. This is a remote park particularly suited to those who want to experience ‘the Africa that was’. There are no permanent lodges, very few roads and entrance numbers are limited.

A trip to the shores of Kariba wouldn’t be complete without a walk on the mammoth dam wall. The views to either side are utterly contrasting. To one side the seemingly endless expanse of the lake and to the other a sheer drop off to the gorge far below.

Water aside most travellers are enticed to Zambia by its superb game reserves. The game and parks will impress even the most seasoned safari aficionado. South Luangwa game reserve is one of the top game reserves in the world, with over 60 species of animal and 400 kinds of bird at the last count. This park is where the legendary ‘walking safari’ had its inauguration. The changing seasons create dry and bare areas in the winter and a lush green paradise in the summer. The winding Luangwa River and lagoons complete the park’s charm. Night drives are excellent for leopard spotting and you couldn’t possibly miss the hippos; they number 50 per kilometre of river within the park.

North Luangwa reserve is best described as ‘wild’. This is a remote park particularly suited to those who want to experience ‘the Africa that was’. There are no permanent lodges, very few roads and entrance numbers are limited. The reserve was opened to the public in 1984 but only for walking safaris. Game drives are now an option but for their peacefulness and assured sense of wonder we would recommend the walking safaris.

The Lower Zambezi is Zambia’s newest park and fairly undeveloped. This beautiful wilderness is a great place to get up close to game as the animals ‘island hop’ in and out of the Zambezi channels. The canoe safaris here are unbeatable.

Kafue is the oldest park. It’s also the largest – about the size of Wales! The diversity of wildlife here is astounding. Particularly impressive are the Busanga Plains in the North of the park. This area is untouched by human development and forms a vast flat expanse which stretches as far as the eye can see. In the wet season the flatlands here flood and become a huge watery wilderness.