About 30 % of Zambia’s 752,614 square kilometers is reserved for wildlife. There are 20 national parks and 34 game management areas in the country. South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi rank among the finest game parks in the world. Luambe, and Lukusuzi Liuwa Plain, West Lunga, Sioma Ngwezi, and Nyika Plateau have substantial wildlife but are still undeveloped. Mosi-oa-Tunya, near Victoria Falls, is regarded as a Zoological park as it has a well managed population of antelope, elephants, giraffe and rhino, but does not have any predators.

Isangano, Lavushi Manda, Lusenga Plain, and Mweru Wantipa have never had management or facilities and have little wildlife but are still worth a visit by intrepid explorers and bird lovers. The newest park to be proclaimed is Lusaka National Park, just outside the capital, which opened to the public in June 2015.

Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is the largest national park in Zambia, covering an area of about 22,400 km² (similar in size to Wales or Massachusetts). It is the second largest park in Africa and is home to over 55 different species of animals. The park is named for the Kafue River. It stretches over three provinces: North Western, Central and Southern. The main access is via the Great West Road from Lusaka to Mongu which crosses the park north of its centre. Seasonal dirt roads also link from Kalomo and Namwala in the south and south-east, and Kasempa in the north.

History

Kafue National Park was established in 1924 after the British colonial government moved the traditional owners of the area, the Nkoya people of (King) Mwene Kabulwebulwe, from their traditional hunting grounds into the Mumbwa District to the east. Dissatisfaction with the pace of development in Central Province and a lack of benefit from tourism in the park have led to calls from Nkoya leaders to establish a new province in the area which they have proposed to call Kafue Province.

Lower Zambezi National Park

The Lower Zambezi valley is a huge rift in the earth's crust, through which a mighty river flows. Over millennia, mineral-rich volcanic soils deposited by the Zambezi have nurtured lush vegetation, while old meanders and oxbow lakes add to the attraction for wildlife.

There are national parks on both sides of the river – Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwean bank, and the Lower Zambezi National Park on the Zambian side. The landscape is beautiful: tall leadwoods, ebonies, acacias and figs stand on a carpet of rich grassland. But the main attraction is the area's game, which congregates near the river during the dry season.

South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia, the southernmost of three national parks in the valley of the Luangwa River, is a world-renowned wildlife haven. It supports large populations of Thornicroft's giraffe, and herds of elephants and Cape buffaloes often several hundred strong, while the Luangwa River supports abundant crocodiles and hippopotamuses. It is one of the best-known national parks in Africa for walking safaris. Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972 and now covers 9,050 km2.

The Muchinga Escarpment in Northern and Central Provinces forms the park's western or north-western boundary, it slopes down from there to the river, lying mostly on its western bank. The eastern bank of the river is in Eastern Province, and as access to the park is only from that side, it is usually thought of as being wholly in Eastern Province.

The park spans two ecoregions, both of them woodland savannah, distinguished by the dominant tree: Southern Miombo woodlands cover the higher slopes of the valley, while Zambezian and Mopane woodlands cover the bottom of the valley. Read more

Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park is a park located in the Serenje District of Zambia’s Central Province. At roughly 390 km2 (150 sq mi), Kasanka is one of Zambia’s smallest national parks. Kasanka is the first of Zambia’s national parks to be privately managed. The privately funded Kasanka Trust Ltd has taken on all management responsibilities, in partnership with the Zambian Wildlife Authority, and has been in operation since 1986. The park has an average elevation between 1,160 m (3,810 ft) and 1,290 m (4,230 ft) above mean sea level. It has nine permanent lakes with the largest being Luombwa that provides angler sighting. There are eight rivers in the park, with the largest being the Luapula River, all of which flows into the Bangweulu basin, a major tributary of the Congo River.

A total of 108 mammal species have been recorded in the park. Elephant, Hippopotamus and a set of rare breed of birds were reintroduced in the park after the takeover by Kasanka Trust. Close to five million Eidolon helvum (African fruit bat) migrate to the Mushitu swamp in the park for three months during October to December, making it the largest mammal migration in the world. There are over 330 bird species identified in the park.

North Luangwa National Park

North Luangwa National Park is a national park in Zambia,[1] the northernmost of the three in the valley of the Luangwa River. Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972 and now covers 4,636 km².

Like the South Park, its eastern boundary is the Luangwa River, while it rises to cover a stretch of the Muchinga Escarpment to the west. The Mwaleshi River flows east-west through the centre of the park, the area to its south being a strict wilderness zone.

Wildlife is widely found, including Cookson's wildebeest, Crawshay's zebra and many antelopes and birds. Elephant numbers have recovered from poaching in the 1970s and 80s. The struggle against poaching in the park was described by Delia and Mark Owens in their book The Eye of the Elephant. For many years its wildlife suffered greatly from poaching, but recent years have seen poaching almost entirely stopped. It has generally suffered from a lack of investment and interest compared to the much more popular South Luangwa National Park, although its flora and fauna are very similar to its southern counterpart. In 2003, black rhinoceroses were re-introduced to the park

Topography & Vegetation
Habitats
Fauna

Liuwa National Park

Liuwa Plain National Park lies in Western Province, Zambia, west of the Barotse Floodplain of the Zambezi River near the border with Angola. The Park is governed by African Parks (Zambia), which is a partnership between African Parks, the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and the Barotse Royal Establishment, the traditional government of the Lozi people.

History

Liuwa Plain National Park was designated as a game reserve of Barotseland by the king, Lewanika, in the nineteenth century and became a national park in 1972. Liuwa Plain is situated on the upper Zambezi floodplains of western Zambia and is bounded by the Luambimba and Luanginga Rivers. Liuwa is characterised by seasonally flooded grassy plains dotted with woodland islands. Originally proclaimed by the King of Barotseland in the early 1880s, it was historically used as a royal hunting ground and was protected by the Lozi people.

Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Sotho: Musi oa Tunya [Mosi wa Tunya] "The Smoke that Thunders"), is an UNESCO World Heritage site[2] that is home to one half of the Mosi-oa-Tunya — 'The Smoke that Thunders' — known worldwide as Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. The river forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, so the falls are shared by the two countries, and the park is 'twin' to the Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwean side. ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ comes from the Kololo or Lozi language and the name is now used throughout Zambia, and in parts of Zimbabwe.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park covers 66 km2 (25 sq mi) from the Songwe Gorge below the falls in a north-west arc along about 20 km of the Zambian river bank. It forms the south-western boundary of the city of Livingstone and has two main sections, each with separate entrances: a wildlife park at its north-western end, and the land adjacent to the immense and awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, which in the rainy season is the world's largest curtain of falling water.[4] It extends downstream from the falls and to the south-east along the Batoka Gorges.

Wildlife
The Wildlife Section
The Falls section

Okavango - Zambezi Trans frontier Conservation Area

Okavango - Zambezi Trans frontier Conservation Area, also known as KAZA is situated in a region where the international borders of five countries converge. It includes a major part of the Upper Zambezi basin and the Okavango basin and Delta. The zone includes the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the southeastern corner of Angola, southwestern Zambia, the northern wild lands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe. The centre of this area is at the confluence of the Chobe River and Zambezi River where the borders of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet. It will incorporate notable sites such as Chobe National Park, Hwange National Park, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Victoria Falls.

History

The initiative was created in cooperation with Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature. It developed from the Okavango-Upper Zambezi International Tourism Initiative (OUZIT) and the “Four Corners” Trans boundary Natural Resource Management. On 24 July 2003, the Ministers responsible for tourism in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe met in Katimo Mulilo, Namibia and agreed the vision for the KAZA TFCA initiative. Read more