Two-Week Highlights of Zambia Safari Tour by Light Aircraft

An aerial view of the Zambezi river.
A 14 day trip to Zambia 
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Zambia is pure wilderness as the country effortlessly leads you into the delights and dramas of the wild. The remote national parks are only accessible on foot as giant mammals cross the evocative plains and natural wonders remained untouched by time. This 2-week luxury safari will hop between the national parks by light aircraft to unravel the surprises and subtleties that lie in the heart of Africa with wetlands of the Lower Zambezi, Victoria Falls, South Luangwa, North Luangwa, and Kafue.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Mosi Au Tunya National Park, Zambezi River, Lower Zambezi National Park, South Luangwa National Park, North Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park, Lufupa River, Busanga Plains 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Livingstone – Tranquility Along the Zambezi

Livingstone is named after the colonial explorer who went in search of the source of the Nile and discovered Mosi Au Tunya, which he named Victoria Falls after his queen. His expeditions give you a sense of how remote the town is. A few miles from Botswana and Namibia and across the bridge from Zimbabwe, Livingstone immediately pulls you into the allure of wild Africa. Gaze over the Zambezi River from your suite to watch the hippos that quarrel in the water, admire the colobus monkeys and the baboons that swing past your lodge, and then drift off to the sounds of nature. After your long international flight, there is a salubrious atmosphere that is perfect for recharging your batteries. You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your luxury lodge on the water to settle in for the remainder of the day at your leisure. For the next several days, a sunset river cruise will complete your relaxation each evening.

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

Day 2: Livingstone – A Day at Victoria Falls, the “Smoke That Thunders”

Mosi Au Tunya is a far more appropriate name for the world wonder known as Victoria Falls, as in the local language, it means “the smoke that thunders.” And what thunder! You will hear the growling rumble from your lodge before it becomes deafening as you follow the walking trails that run parallel to the precipice. Rainbows flutter as the mist catches the sun, while various vistas showcase the astonishing flow of water. Today will be very relaxed, and you can take the self-guided walking trail at any point with transfers to the trailhead and park gate provided by the lodge. There is also an option to enjoy another angle with a helicopter flight above the falls.

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

Day 3: Livingstone – Kayak Past Hippos and Walk With Rhinos

The morning sun will dance off of the Zambezi and reflect back with golden tones as you paddle slowly in your kayak. Currents will push you softly and lead you past riverbanks dominated by crocodiles. Hippos cluster together and your guide will lead you away from their resting place. You will see their heads poking out with the odd one yawning to reveal a majestic jaw. After two hours of kayaking, your adventure will continue with a walk through Mosi Au Tunya National Park. White rhinos are snoozing, and the armed ranger will keep you downwind and away from their expert hearing. Soon you will be just 12 – 15 meters away, gazing over at the bulk of six or seven rhinos. Horns protrude, bellies rise, and you will be close enough to hear the huff that might be misconstrued as a snore. Return to your lodge for a late lunch, and the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure with a sunset cruise completing your day on the Zambezi.

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

Days 4 – 5: Lower Zambezi National Park – Iconic Wetland Safari With Africa’s Famous Mammals

Lionesses are prowling on the open floodplains. They snap and harass, working the buffalo with ease, surrounding the herd and inviting the wrath of the big bulls. But then out of nowhere, the tables are turned and the buffalo charge and send the pride into a quick retreat. But the cats are undaunted and will increase the tempo as they work to separate a young calf, a pre-identified target that has been hidden amongst a burly ball of horns and shaggy fur. Some days the scheme works, and the pride eats, while other days, the hunt is unsuccessful. This is a scene that plays out most evenings on the plains, a pride meeting head on with one of a number of buffalo herds that live in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Sometimes the herd has had enough, and you can watch them swim as they paddle furiously to the other side of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools, the scared calves gently cajoled into continuing the crossing.

Such dramatic scenes certainly are not unique to Lower Zambezi National Park. However, in Zambia, they are not watched by dozens of eyes or vehicles. Your first impression of this national park will be how exclusive it feels. Even in peak season, the park has nowhere near the visitors as the parks in neighboring Botswana or Tanzania. Over the next days of your trip, you will journey through the flagship parks of Zambia. Each is completely different from the others in terms of landscape and wildlife, yet all share this unique mix of scale and intimacy. They each feel like private conservancies, where the safari is exclusive to just a few visitors, yet they spread across an area that can dwarf the size of countries.

The Lower Zambezi is an iconic wetland with floodplains enjoyed by migratory antelope, marshes alive with unusual characters, and predators that lurk around the trees. Fly here and land to find your camp is on the water as it offers a prime view whenever anything decides to swim. A classic safari itinerary involves a morning game drive around the waterholes to trace a trail past duiker, waterbuck, elephant, eland, and the predators. Continue with short game walks as kudu, impala, and giraffe can be followed from a relatively close distance. After lunch, a boat safari is your opportunity to sit back, drift silently, and discover all the life found along the banks. All of your activities are privately guided, and you can tailor the program to your interests.

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

Days 6 – 8: South Luangwa National Park – The Mystique and Charm of Zambia’s Flagship Safari Destination

Fly north and cruise above the Great Rift Valley, touching down in a park untouched by time. A dusty stretch of savannah extends in one direction, while a swathe of woodland dominates the horizon in the other. Splitting the park is the Luangwa River, a provider of life to the hundreds of thousands of mammals that roam through. You will follow the water and spot hundreds of elephants as they splash in the shallows and beneath the riverbed. Giraffe walk past and they are visibly different to those in Lower Zambezi as the endemic Thornicroft’s subspecies are distinguished by incredibly vivid markings. Also endemic are Crawshay’s zebra and Cookson’s wildebeest, two more species that make South Luangwa a bucket-list destination for safari aficionados.

Over these few days, you will hop from camp to camp to explore a large area of the park on expertly guided game drives. Pass lion pride on the plains, follow herds on the move and lose track of all the hyenas you pass. Unique for a national park, you are allowed to drive at night, and it is an essential part of the experience as your spotlight reveal leopards and spotted hyenas as they seek out their prey. You are hundreds of miles from anywhere as you bump across the raw savannah and surround yourself in the drama that takes place as the sun dips from the sky.

Despite the remote location, the camps are permanent, and there is a high degree of comfort. Each has been handpicked for its location, usually perched above the landscape so as to deliver continual impressions of wildlife on the move. Each day, you will stop at one or two of the special photography hides for great places to unwind while gaining close-ups of animals as they stop for a drink. This is Zambia’s flagship destination and is well established as one of the best in Africa. You will see the full wish list of famous animals, and there is nothing quite like glimpsing a leopard’s blue eyes through the trees. But, most of all, you will be immersed in the subtle details of a land that’s becoming a flag-bearer of nature conservation.

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

Days 9 – 10: North Luangwa National Park – Exclusive Walking Safari in the Land of the Giants

Wake to follow the rutted four-wheel trail to North Luangwa National Park. The trail will narrow and then stop as it disappears into a sandy walking trail that meanders onto the horizon. You will follow it as you walk into the wilderness, passing elephant herds in the trees. Wildebeest herds will gallop past, closely followed by a scattered herd of zebra. Soon, the driving trail will be long behind you, and there will be nothing but you, the guides, and the promise of wild Africa. North Luangwa can only be explored on these exclusive walking safaris. Nothing has been interrupted, with even the mobile camps carefully removed after each day’s use. You will be able to experience a complete immersion that will indulge all of your senses while bringing you all of the sounds and smells that accompany the big game sights.

Begin the next morning just after sunrise as you step through a mystical atmosphere of birds that are tweeting and hooves that are thudding into the earth. Walk for a few hours before resting beneath shaded trees as you let the heat of the day pass. Local trackers are experts at keeping you safely clear of the big cats while getting you close to the ungulates. In the afternoon, you will continue the walk as you move slowly and enjoy all of the clues as you feel your senses tune into the secrets of the wilderness. Stay at mobile camps within the park in a comfortable accommodation that is in keeping with the ambiance. This is not a place for opulence or pretension, but it is where you come to feel a deep connection with nature.

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

Days 11 – 12: Kafue National Park – Epic Herds and a Safari Deep In the Wild

Kafue is equally wild as the open grasslands are prime places to spot lion pride and packs of wild dogs. Miombo woodland is studded with kudu and bushbuck, while the northern Busanga Plains are punctuated by islands of sausage trees and date palms. Puku and red lechwe huddle here in gigantic herds, sometimes tens of thousands of them seen in a single panorama. Especially in the area where woodland meets grasslands, encounters with spotted hyenas and cheetahs coat every safari in a certain drama. Your luxury camp is located up here, close to the Lufupa River. After your domestic flight into a new wilderness, these two days will follow a customizable program of game drives, walking safaris, and boat safaris along the Lufupa.

This is the least visited of Zambia’s big game destinations, and it will feel like an adventure playground. Watch klipspringer prance across rocks, find lions mating amongst granite outcrops, turn a corner to giant elephant bulls, and marvel at the escapism of it all the whole time. If you are feeling very adventurous, you can take a drive south to a mosaic of grasslands that change evocatively with the seasons.  During the winter dry season of May to September, it is very easy to spot big game as you tour the waterholes. If you are seeking a tranquil safari, cruise down the river for the day to fill your eyes with scenes straight from a nature documentary.

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

Day 13: Livingstone – Return to the Tranquility of the Zambezi

After your days of safari, you will return to Livingstone and the serenity of the ancient river. Check back into the same lodge and receive a warm welcome back. Lounge on your terrace, listen for the calls of hippos and baboons before cruising along the Zambezi at sunset. With wine glasses in hand, you can celebrate the last two weeks and recount all of the mystical memories from a world that feels so different from the West. Zambia surprises as its national parks provide a diversity of ecosystems and experiences, and you will have seen them before they have emerged as Africa’s next unmissable destinations.

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

Day 14: Livingstone – Departure

Leaving Zambia is hassle free as Livingstone International Airport is just a 15-minute transfer from your lodge. You will have time for a leisurely morning to enjoy all of the lodge’s facilities before your transfer to the airport and your journey home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. 

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates!