Africa is always associated with its magnificent wildlife, game reserves and safari opportunities. All of this is practically on your doorstep in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka. From lions, cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, zebras, chimpanzees and much more, you won't have to travel far out of the city to find yourself immersed in African nature, national parks and reserves. Here are our top tips for making the best of your African Safari from Lusaka:
1. Munda Wanga Environmental Park
An Environmental Park, Education Center, Wildlife Sanctuary and Botanical Garden all in one, Munda Wanga Environmental Park is certainly worth a visit. Located just 15km south of Lusaka, it is the perfect starting point to your Zambian adventure. The Educational Center attracts over 40,000 visitors each year. Its goal is to educate visitors about the country’s rich flora and fauna. The sanctuary is home to over 45 animal species, many of which are native to Zambia. The gardens showcase over 1,000 species of plant life. This family-friendly park also has a recreational park including a bar, games and activity areas, a water slide and picnic areas.
2. Lower Zambezi National Park
The Lower Zambezi National Park covers 4,092 square kilometers and crosses the borders between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Protected under UNESCO, the park is an ecological haven featuring some special wildlife. Here, it is easy to get up close to the animals. You will find elephants, buffalo and some big cats including cheetahs and leopards, as well as a Nile crocodiles. Much of this incredible wildlife oasis is pure wilderness, but that adds to the charm.
3. Chaminuka Game Reserve
The sub-tropical climate around Lusaka is the perfect location for the wildlife at Chaminuka Game Reserve. The landscape here is made up of savannah and woodlands, providing the perfect cover for the 72 species of wild residents. From lions, hyenas, zebra, elephants, giraffes, fish eagles and other birdlife. Organized day trips here include transport to and from Lusaka, just 40 minutes away, a delicious buffet lunch and a choice of activities. Pursuits include 4x4 guided safaris, bush walks, fishing, boating, bird watching, and access to their extensive exhibition of art and paintings.
4. Kalimba Crocodile Farm and Reptile Park
Enter this amphibious world devoted to crocodiles, snakes and other reptiles. This is a family attraction and the park doesn’t take that long to go around, making it the perfect trip for young kids. It is possible to have a guided tour and even hold some of the animals, both on request. If you are lucky enough to coordinate your visit with feeding times then you will experience the incredible strength and determination of these predatory animals first hand.
5. Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park is worth the four-hour journey, situated approximately 250km from Lusaka. It is the largest national park in Zambia, and actually one of the largest on the whole of the African continent, sprawling a massive 22,400 square kilometers. The two ways to see the park are either by self-drive safari, or the recommended option by a safari guide or company. The latter option offers you a greater chance to see the animals you are searching for and the extensive knowledge of the guides, who cannot fail to impress and inspire you. The varied terrain in this park makes a tranquil haven for the flora and fauna that live here. The many species that call this park home include Antelopes, blue wildebeest, zebra, lions, leopards, cheetahs and spotted hyenas. The wetlands and seasonal flood plains make the perfect home for the resident birdlife, of which 495 species have been recorded.
6. Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Park
One of the largest chimpanzee reserves in the world, Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage is recognized across the globe for their incredible work. Chimps have been rescued, often on international grounds and given a second chance at life in this sanctuary. Over 130 chimps live within four different communities in spacious enclosures, recreating their natural habitats. Although not a tourist attraction, visitors are welcome, but animal welfare is the priority here at all times. This is the perfect place to experience these incredible animals and their natural behavior. If you want to visit, it is best to call ahead and announce your arrival. It is certainly worth the journey from Lusaka. Keepers and staff will be delighted to welcome you into their incredible primate world.
We hope that this list of reserves, national parks and sanctuaries has inspired you to visit Zambia and start planning your African adventure. The stylish Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka makes the perfect base, whether you are staying in the city for the duration of your trip or using it as a stopping point between your wildlife adventures. Psst! After a busy day, return to the hotel to relax by the refreshing outdoor pool!