Zambia

The rugged raw wilderness on display at every turn in Zambia is breathtaking. While always in the shadow of Botswana or Zimbabwe, Zambia is worthy of a closer look by safari goers. It is home to some sparsely visited wilderness with impressive wildlife spectacles—namely the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa and a fruit bat migration of over 10 million strong. What other treasures can be found in Zambia? Let us show you!

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What to Expect

Many travelers go to Zambia just for the wonderous Victoria Falls, and that natural phenomenon is of course worthy of such attention.

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But so is the rest of the country; which is full of wildlife but not so much tourists. From the remote Liuwa Plains in the West to the heart of the nation, the immense Kafue National Park, pristine wilderness and virgin bush abound. In the more visible South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, diverse activities aim to get you out of your vehicle and into a more intimate Africa. Visitors are welcomed with open arms by Zambians, who have a deep appreciation and pride in their peaceful nation.

Don't Miss Out

The Essence of Zambia — Zambia is home of the walking safari and not much can top a thrilling walk through the bush. Every nerve is tingling, your senses are heightened, and each noise can mean a quick decision by your guide.

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Rest assured, some of the best walking guides on the continent are in Zambia and they know the bush better than anything. Something stirs in your soul when you are on foot in Africa, some connection to our ancestors and how they first survived this wild place…it’s quite powerful. So is seeing an elephant herd grazing and being close enough to hear them strip the bark off the trees or being just out of sight from a rhino as it browses for its next meal. Absolute exhilaration.

Adrenaline at Victoria Falls— Viewing the magnificent Victoria Falls is without a doubt a highlight of Zambia, but the sheer diversity of activity on offer in the area is equally magnificent.  You can find the limit of your comfort zone as you dive off bridges, rappel down cliffs, white-water rafter, zip-line, or kayak. Sit in the Devil’s Pool on the edge of the falls or fly like an angel above all of that spray in a micro-light or helicopter. This and so much more is waiting for you in Livingstone and the Zambezi River.

The Largest Mammal Migration on Earth— Each November, the convergence of two migrations happens in Zambia. The largest migration comes in the form of Straw-colored fruit bats – also known as flying foxes – with bodies the size of puppies, and wings that span almost three feet. Now imagine 10 to 15 million of these (estimates vary) cramming into Kasanka National Park, which is the size of a few football fields. Seriously. There are hides set up in trees for you to witness this incredible event. If that is not enough for you, include a visit to Liuwa Plain National Park when wildebeests numbering in the thousands migrate from Angola in search of the short sweet grass after the rains.

Hidden gem— While the Zambezi River gets a lot of attention in Livingstone and Victoria Falls, the more serene side of this mighty river takes center stage in Lower Zambezi National Park.  Watch the sunrise over the river from your riverside lodge, or gently paddle a canoe through the languid water passing hippo pods and spying crocodiles on the banks. Search for wildlife from a small motorboat—and then test your angling skills in an area world-renown for Tiger Fishing. As evening falls, find yourself dining on a beautiful sandbar in the middle of the river with the velvety night surrounding your candlelit table.

Need to know

Flights are typically routed through Johannesburg via European gateways like Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and Zurich. Flights directly into Lusaka via Dubai, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa are also quite popular.

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  • We advise spending 2-3 days if you are just going to Livingstone and the Victoria Falls area or 9-12 days if you are venturing deeper into Zambia! Victoria Falls is easily combined with any destination in Southern Africa and a safari combines nicely with Botswana, Zimbabwe, or South Africa.
  • We usually recommend Zambia to safari veterans and those who want an active safari. Travelers new to the safari experience might want to combine Zambia with destinations that offer higher densities and diversity of wildlife.
  • Visas are required for most visitors, but inoculations may be recommended. We suggest you see a travel medicine specialist for advice.
  • The infrastructure in Zambia is still developing and this means that getting around to more remote destinations can be challenging. The Livingstone area remains very accessible from multiple points and modes of transport.
  • English is the official language of Zambia, even though over 70 tribal languages are spoken nationwide.
  • Zambia requires extra certification for their walking guides and can claim some of the best on the continent as a result.
  • The cuisine is not a draw in Zambia, but you will certainly eat simple delicious meals on safari.

When to go

Zambia’s summer begins in early November and ends at the end of April. Summer marks the onset of the rainy season.

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By contrast, winter begins in May and runs through August. During this period, there is little precipitation and the temperatures are at their peak.

May – October: This is the long dry season and best viewing conditions with short grass. Wildlife congregate around water sources. You may want a beanie, warm jacket, and gloves from June through August! Guests can expect cold mornings and cool evenings until September. In October, the heat can be oppressive in the wilderness areas and the volume of water at Victoria Falls is at its lowest. This is peak travel season for visitors.

November-April: This is typically the rainy or ‘green’ season, when the heat breaks, the landscapes are lush with long grass and skies dramatic with billowing clouds. Wildlife is a bit more dispersed and some lodges and parks close due to accessibility issues. Expect showers in the morning with clearing in the afternoon before clouds roll in again for heavier rains in the evening. Road conditions in the bush can be muddy. This season is best for landscape photographers and bird watchers.

Accommodation

High end properties can be found throughout Zambia however, most properties are not as polished or posh as counterparts in other nations.

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Zambia is best known for its seasonal semi-permanent camps in remote locations as a base for walking safaris. It is also well-known for a wide spectrum of styles in the Livingstone and South Luangwa areas. Consistent traits in Zambian hospitality are genuine enthusiastic staff and attention to guest experience.  Every property booked on a Rothschild Safari is vetted by staff and offer the highest standards in each category.

What our travelers say

Amy Lundberg

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

Betsy Robertson

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

Dawn Jacobs

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

George Kowalski

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

Jackie Smith

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

Jamie Scarlett

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Joe Moravec

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Kim Mather

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Lisa Anderson

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (and family)

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.