Liuwa Plains National Park
Liuwa is a large grassy plain and woodland area home to a multitude of large mammals and birds. Africa’s second largest wildebeest gathering also takes place here, and is virtually unknown (overshadowed by the major East African migration)!
This is an incredible fact considering how awe-inspiring the event is, and one definitely worth planning a trip around. Private mobile safaris can be arranged into the area with professional guides but there are no permanent lodges and camps; in other words the only way to visit this area is with a pre-planned expedition….
The best time to visit to see the wildebeest migration is in November. The park is accessible by vehicle from June through to November and is always beautiful with plenty to see.
Liuwa, blue wildebeest (Courtesy Martin Cox)
Numbers of visitors are very limited but slowly increasing, only 50 tourists in 2000! Similar to the Katavi Plains in western Tanzania, the area is mainly a straw colored grassy plain with the odd stand of trees. Zambezi teak and some palms are amongst the tree species found in the area. Most of the plains are flooded from December to end of March/April, when slowly but surely only the water recedes and just a few pans are left with water in the dry season.
With good protection the number of mammals is increasing well and blue wildebeest were present in the largest numbers at the last count. There are large numbers of tsessebe, lesser numbers of zebra and numerous red lechwe, roan antelope are returning and reedbuck are present. Lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog are also present but numbers are unverified. On night drives hyena are common and porcupine can be seen along with side striped jackals if you’re lucky.
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