Highlights of Zambia Big-Game Safari

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Total Trip:

11 Days
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Countries Visited:

Zambia
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Places Visited:

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
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

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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:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Dinner

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Dinner

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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:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 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:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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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:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 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:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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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:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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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:

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast, Dinner

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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:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations with three days in South Luangwa
  • Explore the African wetlands during a three-day safari in Lower Zambezi National Park
  • Experience Victoria Falls by walking parallel to the world’s longest continual cascade of falling water
  • Fly across Zambia on light aircraft, enjoying three expressive aerial safaris
  • Indulge in a safari where you track spotted cats during daytime with nighttime game drives in South Luangwa
  • Luxuriate in the serenity of photography hides and wait for incredible close-ups with Africa’s large mammals
  • Marvel at animals that crowd around floodlit waterholes as you spend leisurely evenings in the bush
  • Bask in three Zambezi sunset cruises and admire hippos and elephants along the Zambezi riverbanks
  • Spend half a day on an exhilarating walking safari in South Luangwa
  • Immerse yourself in nature during a full day of canoeing through Lower Zambezi National Park, including paddling around hippos and encountering wonderful scenes along the riverbanks
  • Create a tailored program of safari activities that individualize each day to your interests and mood
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Detailed Description

Zambia remains off the beaten track, and it does not have world-famous destinations like its neighbors Tanzania and Botswana. The country is home to Africa’s evocative wildlife and provides an entirely distinct safari experience. There are fewer rules and more opportunities to get closer to the animals. Evening game drives and walking safaris are part of the every day rather than an add on to your trip. Photography hides and floodlit waterholes provide endless highlights. It always feels as if you are sharing the land with Africa’s biggest mammals whether an elephant wanders past the camp or the chance to canoe alongside hippos arises. This is the country that does safaris differently, and this handcrafted vacation explores the best that Zambia has to offer.

Victoria Falls is well known; however, the country’s other two main destinations are unknown outside of Africa. This is to your benefit because less fame means fewer visitors, and the sense of going off the beaten track remains strong here. For example, a game drive could be extended if you spot a hyena clan hunting a wounded wildebeest, or the guide may change the morning activities due to an incredible lion sighting next to the camp. In the mornings, you may open the tent flaps to elephants drinking from the waterhole below. On another, you may see buffalo swimming across the Zambezi River. Even at the most popular spots in Zambia’s two most visited parks, there are not many other visitors.

Livingstone is the most convenient gateway airport and is just a few miles from Victoria Falls. Spend the first two nights at a lodge inside Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park where you will enjoy your first encounters with a range of animals. Day two is dedicated to the falls, and it is the roar and spray that you will most remember. Each of the subsequent destinations is connected on safari flights. These provide stunning views over the Zambian wilderness and make for effortless travel in a huge country. On day three, the flight takes you to the heart of South Luangwa National Park.

This is Zambia’s flagship destination and one of the finest in all of Africa. Leopards can be a particular highlight along with wild dogs and enormous elephant herds. The landscape is classic Africa, which is a mix of savanna, woodland, and riverine forest. On each day, you will explore a different piece of the ecosystem, building an excellent understanding of wildlife in the wild. On day six, you will fly to Lower Zambezi National Park. This is a lush and enchanting wetland, which is a landscape that attracts migratory animals from hundreds of miles. Hippos and buffalos may blur into the landscape here. Dramatic battles of predator and prey are common along the riverfront. Experiencing the contrasts between the two parks will be one of the biggest highlights on your trip.

On day nine, you will fly back to Livingstone where you will stay at your lodge inside Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. A rhino walking safari provides another new experience this afternoon, and then, the final day is left free. Walking with rhinos epitomizes the style of a Zambia safari. Most visitors to Tanzania have their exploration restricted to daytime game drives. On this vacation, you will tailor a daily itinerary to your interests. There is a chance to do many different activities, and each provides a new perspective and experience. Options include game walks, sunset river cruises, canoeing trips, nighttime game drives, photography hides, and motorboat safaris. Combine these with Zambia’s impressive wildlife, and this is a safari for connoisseurs that want to truly experience wild Africa.  Don’t take just our word for it - consider reading some of our travelers’ reviews of Africa, and see how you can customize your own dream vacation.

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Starting Price

$4945 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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