The Best Safaris In Zambia

Safari In Kasanka National Park

Safari In Kasanka National Park
By Mazuba Kapambwe

Kasanka National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Zambia.

Found in the Central Province in the northern part of Zambia, Kasanka is run through a public-private partnership between the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and the Kasanka Trust.

Safari-goers coming to Kasanka can expect a more remote, ‘wilderness’ style safari with fewer visitors and unique wildlife.

Safari in Kasanka National Park

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Zambia kudu

Kudu in Kasanka National Park

Best safaris in Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park offers walking safaris led by a guide around the Wasaka Lake or smaller lakes such as Wasa II and Kalemba. A typical day at Kasanka begins with a game drive to the pontoon where sitatunga (a rare, swamp-dwelling antelope) can be seen. Next, you might take a game drive or canoe safari, or visit the huge red mahogany trees in Kasanka.

Most visitors to Kasanka go to experience the annual bat migration which occurs from November to December. An estimated 9 million fruit bats migrate from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the park to feed on the fruits of the masuku tree, an indigenous Zambian fruit. The Kasanka bat migration is billed as the second-largest mammal migration in the world. The best time to see the bat migration is at either sunset or sunrise, when the light highlights the millions of flying bats. Your guide will take you a tree hide high up, where you’ll be able to witness the migration up close.

There is also an option of a hiking safari which runs for four nights, with many stopping at Fibwe hide to view birdlife. There are close to 500 species of birds at Kasanka including pel’s fishing owl, the African blue crane and more.

There are plenty of non-safari things to do in Kasanka. Try visiting the David Livingstone Memorial, which commemorates the place the 19th-century explorer died in his quest to find the source of the Nile. Another point of interest is the Nsalu caves, which feature rock paintings from the stone age period.

A day trip to the Kundalila Falls can be included in a visit to the Kasanka National Park. The falls are a beautiful single drop falls set in a forest deep in the Muchinga escarpment.

When to visit Kasanka National Park

The park is open throughout the year, and the emerald season is perfect for birdwatchers. From July to August, wildlife such as elephant, hippo, sitatunga and puku can be spotted. It is also a great time to do a walking safari as the weather is pleasant. Between September and October, game drives, as well as canoe safaris, can be done.

Kasanka National Park best safari camps and lodges

Kasanka National Park has just three lodges. Wasa Lodge is the closest to the airstrip and to the entrance of the park. It is also the closest to the hides to view bats in the forest. Guests staying at the Wasa Lodge have incredible views of the Wasa Lake, where animals such as hippo, sitatunga and puku can be spotted.

The Luwombwa Lodge is located on the Western side of Kasanka National Park. This is a good place to see birds such as the black-breasted snake eagle and raptors. The nearby Chifukwe plains are home to antelope such as reedbuck and sable, as well as frequent sightings of zebra and buffalo.

Those on a tighter budget can camp either at the Kabwe, Pontoon and Bufumu campsites located in the park.

How to to Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park is accessible by road. The drive from Lusaka takes between five to six hours. Alternatively, there is a landing strip in Kasanka. The Kasanka park team can arrange private charter flights for guests.

Safari In Kasanka National Park

Mazuba Kapambwe

Mazuba is a freelance writer from Zambia whose travel writing has appeared on CNN Travel, Unearth Women, Culture Trip and several in-flight magazines. Her travel podcast Mwende Bwino (Go Well) was recently featured on Conde Nast Traveler’s website and listed as one of the top five Zambian podcasts. Mazuba co-wrote the Lusaka Arts and Culture guide produced by the National Arts Council of Zambia.

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