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Zambia Park Profiles
Which National Park for your Zambia Safari?
South Luangwa National Park
Definitley one of the Top 5 wildlife parks in the whole of Africa. For the sheer quality of the wildlife viewing, the amazing choice of beautiful camps and lodges, night time drives (allowed in Zambia) producing common leopard sightings, high quality award winning guides and the pioneering walking safaris that this park has become famous for. Although rainfall is only moderate in the park and temperatures can be uncomfortable at the end of the dry season; it is the parks rich volcanic soils which provide the lush vegetation that attracts game in such dense numbers. As the dry season unfolds the game moves towards the few remaining permanent rwater sources and the resulting predator action can be explosive. Leopard sightings with kills are a regular occurence, and when the BBC visited the park they estimated a density of one every 2.5 sq km, which is roughly twice as dense as Kruger National Park in South Africa. Lions are the most common big cat seen during the day and you may well be privilged to witness a pride hunting. Spoyyed Hyena are relatively common and we are seeing a steady increase of Wild Dog sightings; admittingly from a fairly low base due to it being depleted by an anthrax outbreak in the late 80's. Birdlife is also rich with around 400 species recorded, you may spot Carmine bee-eaters, African skimmers and giant eagle owls on the night drives.
North Luangwa National Park
Much less well known that its more famous neighbour and about half the size of the south. It has a more diverse range of habitats due to a large part of the park being located on the Muchinga escarpment and this draws bird watchers looking for local specialities. It was only the relatively recent decision for safari operators to set up in the North, which resulted in greater protection to the park and a more equal sharing of resources with the more commercial south. The privately funded North Luangwa Conservation project continues to support the park and its authorities. As well as several large lion prides and groups of hyena which appear to hunt rather than just scavenge; one of the big attractions of the North Luangwa is to see the re-introduced Black Rhino. This project was started in 2003 with the introduction of 5 Rhinos; several further arrivals resulted in a population of approximately 30 rhinos today.
Lower Zambezi National Park
Has a deserved reputation for big game due to the natural migration of wildlife across from adjacent Zimbabwe. Part of the same national park on the Zimbabwean side is actually a World Heritage Site and it also links with the wildlife rich Mana Pools. This makes for a very large, well protected area which crosses both countries borders and allows for migration of Buffalo, Elephants and many different antelope species. The main three predators seen in the Lower Zambezi are Lion, Leopard and Hyena. There are plans to re-introduce Cheetah as there are abundant herds of their main prey Impala within the park. Black Rhino were re-introduced in the spring of 2013 and there is the hope that they can be protected and form a viable breeding population. Around 350 species of birds have been identified in the park and given the plentiful supply of water, it is common to see Spoonbills, African skimmers, fish eagles and ospreys.
Kafue National Park
An up and coming park which is slowly recovering from a lack of resources, heavy losses to poaching and a general disinterest in its future. Thankfully the situation on the ground is now much improved and we are seeing good levels of game and even the nervous Elephant herds becoming mroe relaxed as they start to feel more secure within the park. One of the outstanding wildlife areas within the park is the Busanga Plains, where you have the chance to see Lion prides which have a reputation for climbing trees., as well as stalking nervous herds of antelope. Lufupa has a great reputation for Leoaprd sightings and overall the leopard densities are high in the forested areas; they are rarely seen out in the open. Kafue is the best park for birds in the whole of Zambia and its miombo woodlands attract endemics such as ple-billed hornbill, miombo pied barbet, miombo rock thrush and Sousa's shrike.
Liuwa Plain National Park
Zambia's best kept secret? Probably not that suprising given its remote location. Large areas of this plain are competely flooded beween December and April, making access impossible. November is know as the best month to visit with the maximum number of wildebeest and predators such as Lions, Leopard, Hyena, Wild Dog and Cheetah; who pick of the weaker and older prey just before the life giving rains arrive. Lion numbers are not high and it has been neccesary to re-introduce them, along with Eland and Buffalo. There is some great birding even outside of the rainy season, with crowned and the endangered wattled cranes, as well as many water birds such as open-billed, yellow-billed, marabou and saddle-billed storks.
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