Tailored from £6,100 per person excl. flights
15 days South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
15 days South Luangwa National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park, Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
This Classic Zambia Safari & Victoria Falls Holiday covers the highlights of Zambia, from wildlife watching at South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, to adrenaline activities at one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the thundering Victoria Falls.
You’ll start at South Luangwa National Park, spotting big game such as lions, leopards, giraffe, buffalo, elephant and much more; though morning and evening game drives, walking safaris and night games drives – South Luangwa is one of only a few remaining national parks in Africa that allows night safaris.
Then, you’ll head to Lower Zambezi National Park, where you can explore the wilderness by water with canoeing excursions, fishing expeditions (try your hand at catching a tigerfish) and boat cruises down the Zambezi, watching wildlife come to drink at the river’s edge as you relax with a sundowner.
Finally, you end your Zambia safari adventure in Livingstone, home of Victoria Falls. Choose from an endless list of Victoria Falls activities and experiences, selecting based on when you travel to the falls, as well as your personal preferences.
Popular options include white-water rafting, spray-filled river walks, helicopter rides and swimming in the Devil’s Pool.
This suggested itinerary is ideal for intrepid explorers looking to get back to nature, from walking in the bush with giant mammals, to evenings stargazing by the camp fire, to feeling the spray of cascading waterfalls on your face. Zambia is truly somewhere you can experience the elements.
You’ll fly into Lusaka Airport, then take a scheduled domestic flight to Mfuwe, where you’ll be met by a Wayfairer representative. Once on the ground, introduced and refreshed, you’ll make your way to your accommodation at South Luangwa National Park via a private transfer.
You’ll stay three nights at Flatdogs Camp, located right on the border of the national park. This is the closest safari camp to the main gate, providing guests with the ideal base for wilderness exploration and wildlife watching. Choose from safari tents, treehouses, chalets and even a “crocodile nest” with private deck and pool – the perfect place to relax after a long day of game drives and safari activities.
Flatdogs is also noted for its commitment to responsible travel values, especially community and conservation issues. The property boasts a carbon neutral certificate as one of the first carbon neutral operators in Zambia and supports various community activities, such as local business start-ups and education.
Today, your exploration of South Luangwa National Park truly begins. Start with a morning game drive in an open viewing vehicle, from which you’ll be able to see a variety of mammals, from big game to tiny critters, including birds, insects and even fish, at the Luangwa River.
Sadly, South Luangwa is no longer a Big Five safari destination, having lost its rhino population in the 1980s. However, there are endemic species and sub-species to look out for, including Thornicroft’s giraffe (noted for its beautiful markings), Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra.
In the winter months, you can take part in All Day Drives, where you’ll be provided with a picnic lunch. You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable and qualified safari guide, plus a National Park scout, combining game drives with walking to stretch your legs.
The Luangwa Valley is home to around 100 species of mammal and 400 species of bird, however, much of Zambia’s wildlife is nocturnal. South Luangwa is one of the few parks in Africa that allows night drives, so you’ll have the chance to see creatures such as big cats when they’re on the prowl at night.
Relax in the day by the Flatdogs pool, enjoying views out to South Luangwa National Park. As there are no fences, you’ll be visited by elephants, bushbuck, giraffe, impala, hippo and puku. After dark, head into the wilderness with your guide to look for predators such as lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and endangered African wild dogs (also known as painted dogs or painted wolves), and observe their night-time hunting practices.
If you’re feeling safari fatigue, you can also visit many of the community and conservation projects which Flatdogs supports, such as those in the nearby Mfuwe village, or go souvenir shopping at local artisan workshops in the area.
Today, you’ll leave Flatdogs and head deep inside South Luangwa to explore a remote region of the park, with a four-night stay at Nkonzi Camp. This secluded owner-run safari lodge has a much more rustic feel; the four open-air en-suite safari tents include hot water bucket showers and flushable toilets – big luxuries out in the bush!
Relax in the evening with a meal made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, under a thick grove of shady trees. Get off the grid and watch some bush TV, also known as the roaring camp fire. After dark, look up for stunning starscapes created by the lack of light pollution in this remote area of the national park. Nkonzi will truly bring you back to nature.
Depending on the weather, you may wish to participate in Nkonzi’s (and Zambia’s) speciality - walking safaris. This activity offers a completely different perspective to a game drive, providing more detailed information about the ecology of the national park (South Luangwa is also home to 2,000 species of plants) and the opportunity to track game using traditional techniques.
Track Zambia’s big game on foot by using spoor, listening to birds and other animals, which alert others to the presence of predators. These walking safaris are best taken in the cool mornings and can last for up to three or four hours, with highly knowledgeable guides who can provide a truly authentic bush walking experience.
Nkonzi’s remote location offers easy access to the Mfuwe bridge area of South Luangwa, as well as the more difficult to reach areas in the north. Or, you can stay in the Mushilashi-Luwi area, where there is always incredible game viewing to be found.
Morning game drives start around 6am, but the early morning wake-up call is worth it to see some of the park’s wildlife at its most active, plus a tea and freshly-baked biscuit stop helps too. The soft morning light and dewy dawn are perfect for photographers.
Afternoon and night game drives offer a completely different safari experience. Departing around 4pm, as the day is cooling down, you’ll be able to spot the park’s predators heading out to hunt. Enjoy a sundowner cocktail at a scenic sunset spot before continuing your game drive safari in the dark.
South Luangwa is one of only a few national parks on the continent to offer night game drives, where you’ll be able to see nocturnal creatures such as civet and genet, as well as owls and other bird species.
Today, you’ll leave South Luangwa for Lower Zambezi National Park. First, you’ll take a road transfer to Mfuwe, then a scheduled domestic flight, before a final road transfer to your next accommodation, Mvuu Lodge.
Sitting on the banks of the beautiful Zambezi River, Mvuu Lodge (known as “the place of the hippo”), is a luxury tented safari camp located in the game-rich Chiawa area, just outside Lower Zambezi National Park and opposite the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mana Pools.
Explore the Chiawa game management area and then head into Lower Zambezi National Park for sightings of kudu, impala, buffalo, elephants (both single bulls and herds), lions, leopards, hyena and even more elusive creatures such as genet, serval and pangolin.
Due to the surrounding terrain of escarpment, wetland, bushveld and riverine, a diverse collection of birdlife can also be found here, with species such as parrots, owls, vultures, hornbills, bee eaters and kingfishers calling the area home, amongst many more.
Take advantage of the mighty Zambezi River with water activities such as boat trips, canoeing and fishing. A river cruise makes for a relaxing safari experience, watching animals come to drink at the water’s edge, as you unwind with a gin and tonic in hand.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, pick up a paddle and drift down the river, exploring at your own pace, navigating small islands and islets, and getting up-close to colourful bird species. Choose from a half-day guided canoe adventure, a full day, or even overnight.
The Zambezi is also known for its exceptional fishing, as trophy tigerfish weighing up to nine kilograms have been landed and recorded in this region. With long sand beds, shallow flood plains and deep rocky pools, you’ll also be likely to encounter bream, chessa, nkupi and vundu.
A fishing expedition starts early and if you’re keen to hook a toothy tigerfish, then you’ll start with catching bait fish, such as chessa, first. You’ll fish until around 10am, then return to Mvuu for brunch and relaxation during the hottest part of the day, recommencing around 3pm. Fish species are prolific in this stretch of the Zambezi, so you’ll most likely be toasting your success with a sundowner as your boat heads back to camp.
Today, you’ll leave wildlife and wilderness behind, and head to Livingstone, the home of Victoria Falls. You’ll start with a road transfer to Jeki, then catch a scheduled domestic flight to Livingstone, before taking another road transfer, following the Zambezi upstream to your accommodation, Chundukwa – one of the best lodges at Victoria Falls.
Chundukwa River Lodge is an authentic safari-style lodge, inspired by Zambian culture and facing the mighty river that feeds the falls. The property is comprised of five stilted chalets and a family house, offering a private and intimate riverside setting, blending in with the natural landscape; décor and furniture are tastefully made using recycled wood, metal and sustainable reeds.
Zambia’s Victoria Falls, also known by its local name Mosi Oa Tunya (“The Smoke That Thunders”) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. What you decide to do at this incredible site depends on when you travel to Victoria Falls, as river levels dictate which activities are safe.
However, with such a wide variety of activities at Victoria Falls, there’s always something to see or do. Choose from scenic and spray-filled river walks, breath-taking helicopter tours, or an exhilarating dip in the Devil’s Pool – a deep, natural pool created by erosion, with a natural barrier that allows you to swim to the waterfall’s edge without getting swept over.
The historical town of Livingstone, named for Scottish explorer David Livingstone who is thought to be the first European to see Victoria Falls in 1855, is also worth a visit. The town lies around 10 kilometres from Victoria Falls Bridge. The wide, tree-lined streets and colonial architecture are pretty, but still retain a small-town African vibe. A visit to The Livingstone Museum provides more context on local history.
You might also like to explore the bush on horseback, with a guided ride along the Zambezi, organised by Chundukwa River Lodge. Choose from one-to-two-hour river rides, half-day trails with a picnic break and overnight horse riding and camping experiences.
Sadly, your Classic Zambia Safari & Victoria Falls holiday comes to an end. After checking out of Chundukwa, you’ll take a road transfer to Livingstone Airport, then a scheduled domestic flight onto Lusaka Airport, in plenty of time for your onward international journey.
Though your Zambia tour comes to a close, you’ll leave with memories of wildlife encounters, waterfall spray and more than a handful of photos and anecdotes to share with loved ones upon your return home.