The Upper Zambezi
rises on the Benguela Plateau in Angola (its source at Kuleni Hill in Zambia
is undramatic) and extends through Zambia's remote western region down to
Victoria Falls. This western sector is extremely difficult to explore but
includes the Barotse floodplain, Sioma National Park and Liuwa National Park
- the region should only be tackled by experienced safari hands.
The ancient kingdom
of Barotseland, whilst having a particularly
interesting history and being an area where old Lozi customs have been retained
by the inhabitants, there is no game to speak of other that herds of Nguni
cattle - it remains an excellent area for fishing safaris.
Park is a rough wilderness without any roads - the park protects a large
population of elephant and it's the only place in Zambia outside of the South
Luangwa in which you'll find giraffe - poaching is rife with incursions from
Angola matching local pursuits.
Liuwa Plain National
Park is a large grassy plain and woodland area - Liuwa plains witnesses Africa's
second largest wildebeest migration - this is really worthwhile!
Livingstone and Victoria Falls
people call Victoria Falls "Mosi-oa-Tunya". The Zambian view on the falls
is as spectacular as it is from Zimbabwe with excellent views on the Eastern
Cataract and fine viewpoints from the Knife Edge Bridge and an ancient Baobab
tree near the railway line appropriately called "The Look Out Tree".
As yet, Livingstone
hasn't been as extensively developed as the town of Victoria Falls on the
Zimbabwean bank but offers some excellent lodge accommodation and activities
during the almost obligatory stay at Victoria Falls. Livingstone itself is
also an important air charter hub from which connections to the Kafue, Luangwa
and lower Zambezi regions are made.
The lower Zambezi
River is essentially the stretch that runs downstream from Kariba Gorge to
the Mozambican border. This section is particularly well known for Mana Pools
National Park, the World Heritage Site on the Zimbabwean bank.
The Zambian shoreline
has a selection of excellent safari lodges en route down towards the Lower
Zambezi National Park. This park is still wild and relatively undeveloped.
Elephant poaching in recent years has declined in the presence of safari
operators in the area and game has improved dramatically as a result.
This part of
the valley with its riverine forests, broad flood plain and woodlands in
the hills towards and beyond the escarpment provides excellent habitats and
the birding is spectacular year round. Access into the Lower Zambezi National
Park during the green season is available but in our opinion not a good idea
- an option is to canoe on the Zimbabwean shoreline during the rainy season.
There is one particularly good canoe safari on the Zambian bank that ends