Zambia Safari Vacations
Zambia pioneered the walking safari over 65 years ago, and has quietly and without fanfare remained true to its roots while those around it commercialized.
This is the place to find a raw, wild and remote experience for those families who have already earned their wilderness colors (kids generally need to be 7yrs+).
Top 4 Reasons To Visit Zambia
1. Safari and waterWe love Zambia for an authentic safari combined with the sensational Victoria Falls. Even though the ‘Vic Falls’ is commercialized and busy it is still absolutely worth a visit, and the accommodation we propose will be up to our usual exclusive standards.
We recommend either starting or finishing a safari here. Get involved in a bit of rafting, bungeeing, and kicking back by the pool while everyone else goes a little crazy.
2. Safari on footZambia is the place for a walking safari, and there are some camps which only offer walking as an option.
Zambia’s guides are world-leaders and absolutely know how to engage kids, grandparents, and anyone in between. These Zambia safaris are the real deal however, and unsuitable for kids younger than about 7 yrs.
3. Fewer CrowdsZambia is not on most people’s radars when they plan to go on safari to Africa.
Such world heavyweights are the Serengeti, the Mara, the Kruger, and following that Kenya and Tanzania, that little sister Zambia gets eclipsed. This means fewer crowds, often lower prices and great value for the incredibly wild experiences.
4. Stunning BeachesMalawi is opening up as a great freshwater beach option for the middle of Africa.
With short flights hopping over the border between Zambia and Malawi, this makes a fab circuit for those wanting a safari and beach holiday without flying via Johannesburg or Eastern Africa to get it.
Why not to go to Zambia
This is your safari black run. we’d mainly advise that you don’t throw your family into this unless they’ve practiced their turns on some reds previously.
A caveat to this would be Vic Falls, which is an easily-accessible and fine tuned family experience with a host of activities.
Added to this, if you try to head to Zambia for a luxury safari during the rainy season, you are out of luck. Most of the great camps are closed during this season (November to April).
When to go to Zambia
Image ©Norman Carr
Zambia follows the wet and dry season schedule, like most of Southern Africa, dictated by the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone). Zambia’s dry season runs May – October, and during this period it gradually heats up until the rains come in November and usually (if temporarily) cool things down a bit.
The rains fall until April – and then it all starts again.
Oooh it’s wet and it’s hot, with torrential downpours in the afternoons and many a mud-road destroyed.
The Zambezi river starts to flood in Jan/Feb which means a thundering spectacle at Victoria Falls, but it also means high water rafting – and limited at that – which isn’t most people’s ideal. This is not a great time to be in Zambia on a luxury holiday unless you are a keen birder, and many camps will have shut up shop and gone elsewhere themselves.
The rainy season ploughs on, but in late March things start to look up.
April sees many camps opening up again and the land becomes firm, and just sporadic afternoon showers with pleasant temperatures makes April a great time to go on a luxury Zambia family safari.
Heading into peak game-viewing season, May and June are usually gorgeously sunny without being unpleasantly hot, the bush is drying out and animals begin to congregate around known waterholes.
Zambezi and the Falls are at high water which is good for experiencing the Falls, but not so great for white water rafting.
This is true high season, but you won’t feel it in most of Zambia (Vic Falls will be busy).
This is a fab time to visit all of Zambia on safari, including the Falls if you want to get involved in grade 5 low water rafting, river boarding and camping in the gorge.
The rainy season kicks in around mid November (although these days you can never tell exactly when the rains will come) and the cycle begins again.
What to do in Zambia:
Our Top Experiences
Image ©Norman Carr
Bat Safari – Kasanka National ParkUp to ten million fruit bats all head out to forage just as the sun sets, turning the sky black with bats.
Watching this from a 60 ft high hide in a tree top is one of our top African experiences.
Walking Safari – South LuangwaAlthough children can’t go on many walking safaris in Zambia because it’s just not suitable, there are some fab nature walks for the family (7yrs+) in South Luangwa and lovely private houses to keep your family together and well-attended (i.e. the children get looked after whenever you feel like doing something on your own).
Lagoon Boating Safari – NsefuEmerald Season boating when the water levels are high is an exhilarating experience for the Easter break, offering a fab view of the natural world.
Visits to the local village and school are additional enriching afternoon activities which are often cited as the most memorable bits of the holiday!
White Water Rafting – Victoria FallsVictoria Falls is the site where the Zambezi River plummets into a gorge, separating the placid river above from the turbulent rapids below. These rapids provide some of the most challenging (and fun!) white water rafting in the world, not to mention scenic.
This is really for your older teenagers who can handle the physical nature of rafting – particularly at low water. There are a host of other activities going on at Vic Falls if you don’t all fancy donning the helmet and heading out into angry water, and there are some lovely spots for a G&T too.
Freshwater Angling – Lower ZambeziThe Lower Zambezi is famed for its tiger fish, but you can also try your hand at Barbel, Bream, Chessa, Nkupe, and Vundu.
Sundowners and boating trips are fab for all the family even if fishing isn’t your thing, or even a gentle canoe paddling adventure.