Things to see and do
Marvel at Victoria Falls
The original Kololo name for the Victoria Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’. At their highest, the falls drop 108m (345ft) from their basalt lip into the Batoka Gorge, almost twice as far as the Niagara Falls. The flow is most impressive between December and July, peaking in March and April, when the spray can be seen from miles away.
Get your adrenaline fix in Livingstone
Livingstone, formerly Zambia’s capital city, is now well-established as Africa’s adventure sports capital. Among other activities, thrillseekers can bungee jump off the 111m (364ft) bridge linking Zambia and Zimbabwe across the Zambezi River, while below Victoria Falls in Batoka Gorge lie some of the best white water rapids to be found anywhere in the world.
Meander along the mighty Zambezi River
The great body of the Zambezi River is a particularly appealing location for a guided canoe safari, especially within Lower Zambezi National Park. You may well see elephants on the banks as you paddle along. Your guide will point out birds and keep a careful watch for hippos. The Zambezi is also a hotspot for tiger fishing.
Experience Kasanka National Park’s bat migration
This fascinating pocket of woodland is a conservation zone that’s in recovery after a long period of intense hunting and poaching. These days, it’s best known for antelopes, birds and bats. Every year, a staggering population of fruit bats migrates into Kasanka. With the setting sun, they cover the skyline as they head out to feed, returning again at dawn.
Go on a walking safari in South Luangwa National Park
The protected woodlands and grasslands beside the Luangwa River teem with wildlife and form one of southern Africa’s best game-viewing regions. South Luangwa is Zambia’s flagship national park and the undisputed home of the walking safari, a particularly exhilarating way to experience the African bush. Safaris here have an authentic, conservation-conscious feel, with excellent low-impact lodges and exceptional guides.
Revel in colonial nostalgia at Shiwa Ngandu
This extravagant and incongruous manor house, the former home of a British colonial officer, overlooks a lake and is surrounded by pristine gardens. It gives a number of fascinating insights into both the eccentricity and determination of its creator and the colonial heritage of Zambia in general. There’s also an idyllic natural hot spring just down the road.
Explore the fast-growing city of Lusaka
See the attractions in the booming capital, Lusaka, including the Kabwata Cultural Village where you’ll find carvers at work, indigenous arts and crafts for sale, and entertainment from traditional dancers. The Lusaka National Museum covers ethnography, witchcraft, history and contemporary art. Lusaka’s various bustling markets are its lifeblood, while the city also boasts a good restaurant and nightlife scene.
Spy the strange shoebill at Bangweulu Swamps
The marshy shores of Lake Bangweulu, north of Kasanka National Park in northern Zambia, are an important habitat for shoebills, a large, unusual-looking stork which catches fish by lunging with its huge bill at lightning speed. The best months to see them are May and June.
Watch wildlife in Kafue National Park
Enjoy spectacular wildlife watching in Kafue, the second largest national park in the world. Known for its beauty and scenic variety, this underexplored park is bisected by the Kafue River, which attracts hundreds of species of birds as well as herbivores and their predators. You can explore the park on game drives, guided bushwalks and riverboat trips.
Take it easy on Lake Kariba
Relax for a week on a luxurious houseboat on the world’s largest reservoir, Zambia’s equivalent of the French Riviera. The Zambian side of the lake is considerably quieter than the Zimbabwean side, but both are beautiful. You can drift along the banks, explore the islands or just admire the magnificent sunsets, drink in hand.