Zambia safari planning with the experts

Serious safari enthusiasts and wilderness lovers absolutely love Zambia. For remote, low key, original and authentic style accommodation with incredible wildlife action, it doesn't get much better than this. Zambia has brilliant and beautiful, fabulously remote national parks, spectacular walking, the best guiding, and fabulous owner-run lodges.

The best Zambia safari destinations

Zambia is the ultimate go-to for a complete and diverse safari package. Unrivalled game viewing in parks such as the hippo and leopard jam-packed South Luangwa Valley, also home to the majestic carmine bee-eater, makes for excellent open sided safaris for all interests. Add on to this dream-like sunrise boat cruises on the Lower Zambezi, or even some adrenaline pumping kayaking, and end your trip with the magnificent Victoria Falls; you have everything you could possibly need from an African safari. Activity, romance, action, unbeatable walking, beautiful sunsets and some really amazing accommodation options – Zambia is where it is at.

The South Luangwa Naitonal Park is hands down our top favourite Zambia safari destination. Although we do send first-timers, Zambia is best for second or third-time safari goers who have already seen the big five and will therefore appreciate the opportunity of an unspoilt safari experience on foot and away from the crowds.

The Lower Zambezi comes a close second. A wider range of activities is also available here than anywhere else on the continent - day and night game drives, boating safaris, canoe trips, fantastic walking safaris, and some of the world's best tiger fishing.

Kafue also has to feature in our Zambia top three. The South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi have historically attracted significantly more visitors than Kafue, and, as these parks both encourage long stays, Kafue is often left out of itineraries entirely. Safari enthusiasts seek out Kafue for exactly this reason - it is rare to see other travellers whilst staying here.

What are the best safari lodges in Zambia?





In Victoria Falls our favourite lodge is Tongabezi. It is the original top end lodge in the area, and has not decreased in quality since it opened. It is wooden, atmospheric and really extremely comfortable. It makes for an excellent waterside safari, as it sits on the shores of the dramatic and hippo-heavy Zambezi River.

Perhaps an anomaly amongst the more rustic Zambian offerings, Chinzombo screams uber-luxury. It has a glossy and simplistic yet wholly luxurious style, and all the mod-cons you could need whilst on your Zambia safari. It has really set a bar for Zambia, which the rest of the country has not quite caught up with yet!

Nsolo is a Norman Carr camp; a really historic 1980’s bush camp safari style. Do not be fooled though; although it is a bush camp, it lacks no luxuries of surrounding South Luangwa lodges. It’s guiding is really phenomenal, which for any keen safari guest is of the utmost importance.

Set right on the river, with many opportunities to sip on a cold Mosi whilst watching the passing game, Kaingo is a real find and offers everything you could ever need for an unbelievable Zambian safari experience.

What type of safaris does Zambia offer?

Zambia seems to have it all! Walking being the mother of all Zambian safari experiences, boating on the mighty Zambezi being another, hot-air ballooning, kayaking, canoeing, night drives and fly-camping. There is nothing which you cannot enjoy here. For walking and fishing enthusiasts, Zambia offers the very best on the continent. The thing which sets Zambia (and neighbouring Zimbabwe) ahead of all the other African countries is the quality of guiding. Guides train for three years and are some of the very best on the continent.

Can I combine a Zambia safari with the beach?

For a break from your safari, take a hop over to Lake Malawi for some beachy relaxation and excellent water sports. You may decide you’d like to sip on the finest wines and eat some Michelin Star food in the fabulous Cape Town, or you could even venture further afield for a real beach extravaganza in the Seychelles or Mauritius, or slightly closer to home with Mozambique’s white sandy shores. There are lots of options, it just depends on your time frame, budget and whether you are after a Vitamin D hideaway or a cosmopolitan experience on the tip of Africa.

Why go on a Zambia safari?

Zambia is both luxurious and authentic. A safari in Zambia offers true African wilderness, with the best guides in the business. The owner-run feel to the lodges set it apart from its competing countries – Zambia will make you feel very at home.

The wildlife! Zambia has absolutely unbelievable game; fantastic lion prides, a huge amount of leopard and fantastic herds of elephant. It is hard to ignore the persistent grunting of hippos which lounge around in their hundreds on the bed of the Luangwa river.

Victoria Falls; not strictly a safari destination but a few nights here combines beautifully with a wild Zambia safari and is so spectacular that we had to include it…

Zambia is the home of the walking safari. While other countries do offer walking safaris as an addition to a conventional driving safari, in Zambia walking is a focus in some lodges.

How much does a Zambia Safari cost?

There are many accommodation options to choose from in Zambia, but as a guide, itineraries range from around $5,500 per person up to $15,000 per person for around a week on safari. This is including internal flights. The former would be staying in more rustic accommodation visiting both the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The latter is a supreme luxury round trip covering the best lodges in Livingstone, the Victoria Falls, Kafue, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. Zambia really does provide for a huge variety of budgets and groups.

Introducing Odyssey Explorer

Welcome to our new itinerary-building app! Odyssey Explorer allows you to browse a range of popular itinerary templates and tailor them to suit your budget and tastes. Once you are happy with your route template, Odyssey Explorer gives you the freedom to select and change your accommodation in each destination. It is an excellent tool for you to get an instant price for your dream trip before you work with a Tanzania expert to fine-tune it and make it into a reality.

When is the best time to take a safari in Zambia?

As with most African safari destinations, the best time to go on safari in Zambia is usually during the winter months from July to October. This is the dry season when the weather is great, and as the bush becomes less dense and water scarce, it is easier to spot the wildlife coming to drink at the waterholes.

The ‘green’ season offers its own delights; keen birders especially will enjoy a Zambia safari during or just after the rains. The South Luangwa is a lovely place to visit in June, however it should be noted that most camps shut during the rains. Be warned – in October the game is exceptional, but this is a trade off with the heat as it really is very hot at this time of year.

Top 5 Zambia safari tips

Make sure you give a walking safari a go! Zambian walking safaris really are unrivalled throughout the rest of the continent.

Norman Carr offers a unique sleep out experience for those who have dreams of truly going ‘into the wild’! With just a mosquito net between you and the African bush, it doesn’t get much more adventurous, or more peaceful than this.

Although not strictly a safari, we cannot help but recommend the Victoria Falls – there is a reason why it is one of the eight wonders of the world!

Night drives as with walking safaris, gives you such a different perspective of the surrounding wilderness. Ask your guide to switch off his engine, and just sit, look up at the stars and listen to the purring of the African night.

Ask us about ballooning in Kafue – a bird’s eye perspective of the Zambian bush!

Zambia Safari FAQs

Zambia Safari Vs Botswana Safari


Whether you go for a safari in Botswana or Zambia comes down to two main points; your style and your budget. If you love authentic tribal pillows, wooden beamed rooms, and generally a bit of an African authenticity, then Zambia should be your choice. If you are after knock-out, uber-luxury then Botswana is for you. Botswana is more expensive, when the only thing arguably you are paying extra for is the private concessions. Saying this though, although Zambia’s wildlife areas are National Parks, you can escape the crowds very easily, and most of the lodges we recommend are in more remote areas anyway.
 

Bush lodges vs lodge based safaris


When compared to other African countries, Zambia’s luxury safari accommodation is generally lodges. The bush camps, however, are basically slightly more rustic and ‘hut-like’ than the proper lodges. However, Zambia is refreshingly old-hat when it comes to uber-luxury accommodation options. With the exception of one or two lodges, it has very much gone for authentic, wooden and slightly rustic style throughout the country. However, of course there are different standards within this bracket of rustic! Authenticity is probably the word to define Zambia’s architectural style in its lodges. The lodges when compared with the bush camps may have more creature comforts, such as infinity pools and spas!

 

Zambia Safari itinerary planning


A wider range of activities is permitted in Zambia’s parks than in many African national parks, including night drives, walking and boating. As a result, you don’t have to search for the more expensive private reserves in order to get right up close to nature.

Our most popular Zambia safari itineraries usually start off by visiting both the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi National Park for four nights each in the bush. They typically end with a flight to Victoria Falls for white water rafting, bungee jumping or just relaxing in a luxurious lodge.

Regular flights connect Zambia’s National Parks via Lusaka, making it easy to combine it with Southern Africa destinations in one itinerary. Also, nearby Lake Malawi offers a perfect beach add-on to your Zambia safari itinerary.

Further into the Zambian wilds is Kafue and Lewa Plains; these are amazing destinations but the flights can be expensive. Their relative inaccessibility means you have the unbelievable wildlife and endless wilderness pretty much to yourself!

Client Reviews

[100% BASED ON 5 REVIEWS]

Zambia Safari - Reviews

Tafika was fantastic – still can’t quite decide between there & Old Mondoro as to favourite! Alice & I both did micro light. It was awesome. Totally different perspective, think Zambia is our favourite safari destinations! Village/school visit also v enjoyable & humbling too

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Back from our trip to Zambia on Saturday – I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for organising things so perfectly for us. All connections were perfect, there was someone at Lusaka airport to help us every time we passed through, it was all brilliantly arranged. Thanks very, very much.

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I just wanted to let you know that we returned today from an amazing 8 days at Tafika and Mwaleshi in the Luangwa valley. Thank you so much for suggesting these camps to us, they were absolutely perfect.

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Thank you so much for recommending Zambia and especially Chiawa!!!
What a special place!  We had amazing wildlife experiences (lion kill in camp by a mating pair, hippos and elephants in camp every day, leopard in tree on the river and lots of other wonderful sightings on foot and by car and on the river.  I think the croc with the huge eel in its mouth was a first for me!).  Dave and Grant were there for part of the time and just wonderful to us.

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We asked Africa Odyssey to recommend as remote as possible an itiniery over 8 days in Zambia, with no time wasted waiting around for transfers or flights. They suggested combining Tafika and Mwaleshi run by Remote Africa Safaris in the South and North Luangwa parks. The camps were exceptional, the wildlife stunning, and you don't get any more remote than being the only guests in a 4000 sq km national park as we were at Mwaleshi. A truly memorable experience for two very experienced and demanding travellers, which exceeded expectations. Thank you very much.

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