Spotlight on Zambia and Zimbabwe
Zambia invites its visitors to mix things up a bit so that they leave with a true sense of all the country has to offer – and it offers something for everyone. Relaxing river cruises, elephant-back safaris, guided canoeing safaris, game viewing, bird watching, bungee jumping, white water rafting, micro-lighting, helicopter rides, abseiling, and walking safaris, transform travellers who come to see Zambia’s wildlife, landscape and culture, into those who leave knowing it. The majestic Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi River and known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, separates Zambia from its neighbour, Zimbabwe. Both sides offer equally enviable viewpoints: the Zimbabwean side offers the best view (be prepared to be sprayed with water); the Zambian side offers the opportunity to stand on top of them (literally), or bathe in a rock pool at the falls’ edge. Gaze at the magnificent, thundering waters; then get your adrenaline fix with a dare devil activity in the Batoka Gorge and Zambezi River below.
Zambia’s national parks showcase some of the most amazing wildlife in Africa. South Luangwa National Park is a majestic park, home to a myriad of wildlife and whose river supports a large concentration of hippos and crocodiles. The Lower Zambezi National Park, running alongside the Zambezi River, is absolute wilderness. It is host to great herds of elephant often seen grazing along the river’s edge, fish eagles, antelopes, buffaloes, zebras and good populations of lion and leopard. Kafue National Park is a remote wilderness area, home to the endangered African wild dog, and is the only park in Zambia with cheetah.
Lake Kariba, one of the world’s largest artificial lakes, was created as a hydroelectric dam to provide power to both Zimbabwe and Zambia. The best way to experience Lake Kariba is to spend a few days drifting along her shores on a houseboat or relaxing at one of the many Zambian or Zimbabwean lakeside hotels and lodges where sunbathing, eating and drinking overflow.
Gastronomically-speaking, Zambia’s specialties include freshwater fish from the Kafue, Luapula and Zambezi rivers, Nile Perch and Lake Salmon, accompanied by a staple of the Zambian diet, nshima, which is a bland but filling maize porridge. Its national drinks are Mosi and Rhino lager but there are some interesting alternatives available including Dr. Livingstone’s Lager, Safari Stout, Chibuku (an opaque beer), and Baobab White which is brewed with the fruit from the baobab tree.
When to go
April and May provide good stable weather (dry and cool), but June to October are the best with clear blue skies, sunshine and excellent game viewing.