10-Day Highlights of Zambia Safari

Elephant with baby near the Zambezi River in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
A 10 day trip to Zambia 
4.25
4.25 out of 5 stars
4 reviews

Zambia is not just a safari, but an immersion in the raw brilliance of big-game Africa. You will witness leopards, lions, elephant herds, and endemic species, and get even closer on game walks and nighttime drives. Privately guided and handcrafted, this 10-day safari honors the highlights of Zambia and why it is Africa’s next big destination. Four days in South Luangwa are complemented by two days in the Lower Zambezi wetlands and three days in Mosi-oa-Tunya, where rhinos are just upriver from Victoria Falls.

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Lusaka, South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa River, Zambezi River, Lower Zambezi National Park, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Livingstone, Victoria Falls

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Lusaka to South Luangwa National Park – Introduction to the Capital and into the Wilderness

After your arrival in Africa, you will change planes in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, transferring onto a light aircraft that soars north to the Luangwa Valley. It has probably been a long journey to get here, and your first day on safari is very relaxed. Take a short drive into the park and cruise the rutted four-wheel drive trails to your luxury camp. Look down on the waterhole, and elephant and buffalo are among the first of the big animals spotted. Herds of Crawshay’s zebra are close by, an endemic species that will become a regular over the next four days. Rest, relax, and re-energize after the journey with drinks served on your private veranda. The safari has started, and you quickly realize that activities are not necessary to see Africa’s great mammals. In South Luangwa, you can sit back and watch them right from your suite.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, safari, dinner

Day 2: South Luangwa National Park – First Game Drives: The Surreal Charms of an African Safari

Giraffes wander past, silently and serenely, and a herd of Cookson’s wildebeests gallop by full of energy and enthusiasm. Beside the river, there is a hippo out of the water with a curious face standing upon its thick shoulders. You are watching it all from the camp, and you get your first introduction to the area’s inhabitants before your first day of private game drives. Over these four days, you are staying in the Luamfwa Concession in the south of the park, close to the Luangwa River which is a magnet for all kinds of game. At least sixty mammal species can be seen here as they wander through the mopane woodland and scattered savannah. Spotting it all is remarkably easy, and you will quickly discover that a Zambian safari is not a glimpse into the wild, but an absolute immersion.

Your game drives are private and tailored to your interests. On this first full day, the guide will recommend a morning and afternoon drive, exploring distinctive habitats within the park. Elephants dominate the trees with their trails of destruction as conspicuous as their whirling trunks. Kudu and eland cluster in small herds and are easily distinguishable from the abundant impala. Carnivores are prolific in this southern area of the park. Lions are relatively easy to find during the daylight hours, and leopards are a particular specialty of South Luangwa. Of the Big Five, it is only rhinos you will not see here, but these private game drives showcase how an African safari is about so much more than ticking off the famous giants.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 3 – 4: South Luangwa National Park – Private Big-Game Safari Reveals the Raw Beauty of Wild Africa

Nature’s orchestra becomes louder at dawn. Elephants sound like a sporadic brass band, lions emit long baritone roars, yellow baboons hold the harmony together, and some of the park’s 400 bird species add a smattering of treble. It is a beautiful wake-up call and an immediate reminder of exactly where you are. Take a light breakfast, then start exploring with a private game drive that bounces along the rutted trails. Because you are staying in a private concession, the driver can take you off the main tracks and bring you closer to the individual scenes. Stop beside hyenas that tear into a wildebeest carcass and witness the blood smeared across their menacing faces. Follow the vultures to a fresher kill, where you are close enough to hear and smell the ferocious feast.

After around two hours, you stop for brunch, a hearty meal enjoyed with a view over the Luangwa River where hippos and buffalo are among those bathing below. The sun is rising, and you can feel the savannah’s energy slowing as animals move at a walk rather than a canter. It is a private safari, so you have options over the day’s program. Choose to stay out for the full day, building a comprehensive picture of South Luangwa and its residents, straying into areas that hardly ever receive visitors, or return to the luxury camp where the tranquil atmosphere is infused with animals jumping around nearby. Later in the afternoon, you continue the safari with another activity.

Four days is ideal here as game drives are just one part of the program. The wildlife and the wild atmosphere makes South Luangwa one of Africa’s great parks. But it is the variety of activities that creates the experience. Spend some time walking, and enjoy short journeys with the herds or expeditions into unchartered land inaccessible to vehicles. South Luangwa pioneered the African walking safari and wandering with the herds is unforgettable. Nighttime drives can be part of your daily program, and the nocturnal world is full of drama and charm. By piecing together a private collection of activities, you start to appreciate the ineffable beauty of wild Africa and how it is found in both the small nuanced details and the great impressions of scale.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Lower Zambezi National Park – Exploring the Change in Atmosphere and Encountering a New Animal Cast

Take a flight south, and you are amongst the lush colors of Lower Zambezi and relaxing on the banks of the river. Like in South Luangwa, the luxury camp elevates the experience. Canvas walls enable nature’s sounds to continually impact the experience, but that is the only real similarity with camping. The spacious suites look more like contemporary hotel rooms from the inside. They have the African touch, like an indulgent outdoor shower with a view over the plains, and a private balcony for dining while surrounded by animals. Like in South Luangwa, the safari program is completely private and customized to your interests, with game drives and walks likely to be a feature on your first day here.

Some animals are constants on a Zambian safari. Large prides of lions are prominent on the plains where manes shimmer in the sun. Elephants and buffalo are so plentiful that you barely raise an eyelid when they pass; although, the breeding herds always have the ability to grab your attention. You notice differences, like distinct subspecies of zebra and wildebeest, rare predators such as wild dogs, and a fresh assortment of antelope species. Best of all, as the safari progresses, you will understand that the experience has a lot to do with how the animals behave. This is nature’s theater, and with a private safari, you have the best possible seats.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Lower Zambezi National Park – Complementing the Angles with Walks and Boat Safaris in a Lush Wetland Park

Something moves in the trees. The foliage is dense, and you cannot see what it is. It moves again, and your eyes adjust to see that, amongst the green canvas, there is a shock of yellow and black. A leopard, serene and sublime, watches over the river. She is scanning for food, and looking more closely, you see her cub, playful and adorable on the branch. At another time during the safari, you might see the leopard prowling with cold precision as she stalks her prey. Lions are often found lazing and snoozing and occasionally seen on the hunt. As the safari progresses, you watch the scenes from multiple perspectives. You admire a leopard hunting from one perspective, and watch the impalas’ fear and tension from another, while witnessing the mourning of a herd who has lost a youngster is a moving third.

South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi classically complement each other, and personal moments with big cats spread across the full six days of your safari. In this park, you add activities on the water to your program, cruising along the famous Zambezi River. Open floodplains are packed with life, and the motorboat gets closer, giving you a very eye-to-eye perspective on the animals. Down narrow channels, there is less to see, but the thick foliage is a prime place to set an ambush, and a brilliant chance to get very close to the carnivores. There is also an option for a canoe safari, adventurous and enchanting as it silently explores the landscape. Each activity has its highlights while over six days, the combination of wildlife scenes and safari angles symbolizes why African safari is the world’s most unique travel experience.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – An Afternoon with White Rhinos

One famous animal has been missing from the safari so far. Mosi-oa-Tunya is the only place in Zambia where you can see rhinos, a small number of the rumbustious white subspecies lounging on a savannah near Victoria Falls. There are other animals in the park, but it is not on the level as South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, two of Africa’s greatest destinations. After the flight to Livingstone, you are taken by vehicle into the park before approaching the rhinos on foot, an easier way to get closer. Walking slowly and silently, you come to within 15 meters of the iconic horns and bulging bellies, Africa’s endangered giants seen from a unique perspective. Seeing rhinos completes the Big Five experience and, more pertinently, it completes your impression of Africa’s wildlife diversity. Spend the rest of the day relaxing at a luxury lodge within the national park as animals continue to feature regularly on the vistas.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 8 – 9: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – Relaxing on the River and Discovering Victoria Falls

After seven days focused on adventure, it is time for the classic escapism that comes at the end of many vacations. You are not on the ocean, but the river, where the profusion of hippos means there will be no sunbathing on the banks. Instead, unwind on the veranda, enveloped by the sounds and wildlife. Seeing animals from your suite is one of Zambia’s great highlights. On a safari activity, you approach the animals who register your presence before deciding what to do next. At the lodge, the animals approach you, registering that you are not a threat. There can be occasions when you drift off on the sun lounge, only to be woken by a herd of bushbuck barely two meters away. You may find yourself reading a book as a large troop of monkeys jumps from the trees to your roof. Get up to grab the camera, and the animals will run off. Don’t move and the proximity can be astonishing.

These intimate moments with wildlife are combined with another piece of nature: Victoria Falls. Take a private boat trip to the islands near the precipice, close enough to hear and smell the rushing water. Walk the trails and cross narrow bridges to cataracts in the Zambezi, where you are engulfed by the power and noise of the falls. Sunset Zambezi cruises are another included activity here, a peaceful way to end your final days in Zambia. After the early starts on the safari, these two days are about resting amongst nature and appreciating the tranquility of Zambia’s untouched landscapes.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Mosi-oa-Tunya to Livingstone – Departure

Depart Zambia from Livingstone International Airport, less than an hour’s transfer from your lodge.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,495
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.