Highlights of Zambia Big-Game Safari

A 11 day trip to Zambia 
5 out of 5 stars
4 reviews

Zambia takes travelers off the beaten track and into the realm of leopards, elephants, lions, and hippos. On this safari, you will experience the thunder of Victoria Falls before exploring two sublime safari destinations. South Luangwa is an evocative savanna, where big cats prowl, and surprises occupy each moment. Lower Zambezi is an iconic wetland with an entirely different safari atmosphere. Included over the 11 days are game walks, nighttime drives, photography hides, canoe trips, and aerial safaris. This unforgettable trip will have you planning your next safari trip before you get back home.

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

General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

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

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – A Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi

After flying to Livingstone, you will transfer a few miles to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which is a fertile destination along the Zambezi River. Impala may skip around the park, and hippos may wallow close to the riverbank. You may spot a giraffe or elephant close to your lodge. It will feel like the safari has started with these early encounters getting you excited for the adventure that is yet to come. After checking in, you will kickstart your vacation with a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. Drinks will be served as animals graze along the riverbanks. Sightings of hippos emerging from the water may be the big highlight, but as this is the wilderness, it is impossible to predict exactly the animals that you will see.

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

Day 2: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – Encountering Victoria Falls

Through the trees, you will hear Victoria Falls. Its monotonous growl will get louder and louder as you approach. Soon, it will become almost deafening. Stepping out from the forest, you will stand alongside the world’s largest continuous sheet of falling water. Great clouds of spray will rise from the chasm and are likely to fall down on you. It is an expression of power. Narrow bridges will lead you to cataracts in the Zambezi River where there are only 50 meters that separate you from the falls. This intense morning experience will be followed by a relaxing afternoon in the national park with options to cruise on the water and go on a short, walking safari.

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

Day 3: South Luangwa National Park – Aerial Safari and First Game Drive

Sublime views will accompany your journey to South Luangwa National Park. Zambia is vast and arid, but there will green beneath the wingtips as you descend into the country’s flagship destination. The journey by road would take two days, but the flight is only two hours. On a game drive to the lodge, you may start to encounter famous animals. You may even see an elephant herd briefly covering the trail. Maybe spotted hyena will scamper past and provide you with a ten-minute interlude. You will check into your camp where there will be a real sense of serenity. South Luangwa is in the heart of Africa, and it far from human impact, leading to the sort of escapism that is normally associated with private, ocean islands.

After lunch, an afternoon game drive will introduce you to the key animals of Luangwa. Elephants may be abundant and move around in enormous herds, and giraffes are equally conspicuous, both in the forest and in open stretches of the savanna. Buffalos may gather in large herds, and the guide will point out differences between friendly harems and dangerous, bachelor herds. Zebras are also common, and this is one of the very few places in Africa to spot the rare Crawshay’s subspecies. These have narrower stripes with peculiar shading. Of the predators, it will be lions, leopards, and hyena that dominate the safari experience. However, do not expect to see them all on a single game drive. The wilderness is unpredictable, but you will experience quality highlights.

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

Days 4 – 5: South Luangwa National Park – An Experiential Zambian Safari

Over these next two days, you will create your own safari program. There will be a wide choice of activities, and the guide will explain what is possible and what you are likely to see. Daytime game drives can cover large sections of the park and are perfect for exploring different ecosystems. These are best for spotting lions and hyenas and other predators that regularly bask out in the open. Nighttime game drives track leopards, and South Luangwa is the best national park in Africa for this experience. Guides know where the spotted cats lurk and use a spotlight to follow their serene movements across the savanna.

Safari is never about interaction. Africa’s landscapes are home to many deadly animals, and on this safari, you will start to understand these animals rather than impact their daily rhythm. On game drives, it is easy to get close to big animals like elephants, buffalos, giraffes, and lions. During walking safaris, it is important to avoid these animals. Trackers use their intimate, local knowledge to keep you safe, guiding you instead toward smaller animals. With a game walk, you can cross paths with Cookson’s wildebeest, impalas, pukus, baboons, elands, warthogs, and vervet monkeys. All these animals are also regular visitors to the camp, so you can expect wonderful sightings to continue into the night,

Photography hides are dotted throughout South Luangwa and provide an excellent place for you to relax. You will tuck yourself in and wait for the giants to arrive. Such a perspective means that you often look up an elephant trunk or gain an intimate insight into the behaviors within a herd. After three days in South Luangwa, you will come to understand that a safari is not just about the Big Five. Every animal encounter will teach you something new, and everything will be connected. These quality sightings are what make a Zambian safari so unique and special.

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

Day 6: Lower Zambezi National Park – Big-Game Safari Along the River

South Luangwa has classic African ecosystems. You will have explored savanna, riverine forest, woodland, and arid plains. Upon landing in Lower Zambezi National Park, you will find something new. This is a UNESCO World Heritage wetland with lush vegetation and open floodplains. Permanent water is the lifeblood of the park, and it attracts tens of thousands of migratory animals during the dry season. During these months, animals gather around the rivers, grazers come to drink, and predators lie and wait, often leading to intense battles between predator and prey. Again, this safari will not be about seeing a lion pride, but it does concern lion prides and understanding their behavior.

Your camp will be situated along the Zambezi River. Many incredible scenes can be witnessed directly from an elevated deck above the water. You may see elephants using their trunks as snorkels during a swim across the river, or buffalo herds slowly crossing from Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Different animals come to drink at different times of the day, and during these three days, you will understand more about the wetland ecosystem. Today’s activity will be an afternoon game drive that follows the Zambezi riverbanks. This will be the best way to appreciate how the park’s animal population is different from Luangwa and how everything here is dominated by the river.

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

Days 7 – 8: Lower Zambezi National Park – Experiencing in the Wetlands

Just like in South Luangwa, you will customize a program to your interests. There are different activities here than in South Luangwa. Daytime game drives are complemented by canoe and motorboat safaris. Drifting along the rivers in a canoe is beautiful, and wildlife will not see you coming. You will travel slowly and serenely without disturbing the animals. Sometimes, you can look across, and just a few meters separate you from a huge elephant herd or a rare antelope.

Motorboat safaris are just like game drives except on the water. You can cover large distances and explore parts of the park that are otherwise inaccessible. For example, it is possible to visit the park’s eastern boundary where the Mpata Gorge plunges into the water. Most visitors combine one land and one water-based activity each day, but it is entirely up to you. Guides will also tailor the route to animals that you want to see. So, if you really want encounters with lions, they will plan the drive accordingly.

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

Day 9: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – Rhino Walking Safari

Today, you will fly back to Livingstone where you will be transferred to the same lodge that you stayed in during days one and two. Here, the safari continues, and you will probably see more wildlife than before. After six days on safaris, all your senses will have turned to the natural world. You will pick up on small clues and have an appreciation for small animals as well as the famous giants. You will spend time in the middle of today with rhino conservationists. The rhinos may be snoozing during these hot hours, so you will be able to walk within just 10 to 20 meters of them, which is an extremely rare privilege anywhere in Africa.

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

Day 10: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park – Free Day to Explore Around Victoria Falls

This final day will be left free and will give you some chance to completely rest before your flight home. Victoria Falls is filled with potential activities, and these can be arranged locally. One option is for you to cross the bridge into Zimbabwe and view the great waterfall from a different country. There will also be options for canoeing, game walks, river cruises, and scenic flights. In such blissful surroundings, it will be easy to spend the day doing nothing it all. All you have to do for the rest of your trip is reflect on your safaris while gazing over the river, watching the unusual impala or hippo pass your way.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, dinner

Day 11: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park to Livingstone – Departure

After breakfast, it will be a 20-minute transfer to Livingstone’s international airport.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast


Starting Price 

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.