The Top Major Zambia National Parks, Game Reserves & Map

Zambia has set aside over 30% of its 752,614 acres for wildlife. The nation is home to twenty national parks and thirty-four game management areas. There are few national parks on Earth that can be considered as good as South Luangwa, Kafue, and Lower Zambezi.

Although there is a lot of wildlife in the sparsely developed areas of Luambe, Lukusuzi Liuwa Plain, West Lunga, Sioma Ngwezi, and Nyika Plateau, these areas lack proper infrastructure and accommodations. Mosi-oa-Tunya, close to Victoria Falls, is considered a zoo because of its well regulated antelope, elephant, giraffe, and rhino populations, all of which are free from natural predators.

Although there is little administration, few facilities, and unpredictable wildlife populations in Isangano, Lavushi Manda, Lusenga Plain, and Mweru Wantipa, brave explorers and birdwatchers should still visit. Just outside of the city, in June 2015, the public was welcomed to the newest park to be proclaimed: Lusaka National Park. It is the responsibility of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) to oversee the national parks. Learn the rules and how much it costs to enter the park before you go.

The Major Zambia National Parks

1. Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park is quite large, spanning over 22,500 square kilometers of terrain. The majority of this enormous reserve is still inaccessible, despite being the biggest in the nation and the second biggest on the continent.

Like South Luangwa, Kafue is renowned for its diverse wildlife, but cheetahs, roan, sable, and lechwe antelopes are the most sought-after sightings.

Best Time to Visit

The months of June through October are ideal for a visit. While some areas of the park may be fairly inundated during the wet season, access is easier while the dry season is in full force.

Nevertheless, the park is quite breathtaking during the rainy season, so long as you can endure the roads and heavy downpours. From November through April, Kafue transforms into a verdant paradise, yet there is a severe lack of lodging options.

Park Highlights:

  • There is a park icon that calls the Busunga Plains home. In the park’s floodplain areas, you can find Wattle Cranes nesting.
  • You could be lucky enough to see a cheetah out in the open grasslands on its hunt.
  • The only park in Zambia that offers hot air balloon rides is Kafue National Park.

Kafue National Park, Zambia

2. Lower Zambezi National Park

With its gently winding Zambezi River, steep escarpments, and lush acacia woods, Lower Zambezi National Park has all the makings of an authentic African adventure.

Ironically, the Lower Zambezi was able to maintain its immaculate beauty because it was technically designated as a national park before serving as the private wildlife reserve of Zambia’s president until 1983. Big game, especially buffalo and elephants, are renowned to be abundant in the Lower Zambezi Valley, which extends from the Kariba Dam to the border with Mozambique.

Park Highlights:

  • Canoeing down the leisurely Zambezi is, without a doubt, a popular pastime and an excellent opportunity to see elephants and hippos.
  • In the thicker woodlands, you can see wild dogs and leopards on game drives and bush walks.
  • Most camps provide catch-and-release fishing if that’s your thing.

Lower Zambezi – Zambia

3. South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa is well-known as the Valley of the Leopard because to the abundance of leopards there, but the region’s incredible variety of wildlife is what truly makes it stand out.

When thinking of a vacation to Zambia, the South Luangwa National Park is typically at the very top of everyone’s list. Just about everyone may find something to their liking among the abundance of birds, breathtaking sunsets, and other animals.

South Luangwa is also well-known as the birthplace of the iconic “walking safaris” that visitors simply must partake in while in the region.

More than 60 different animal species and 400 different bird species call this park home. This places it among the most densely populated areas in Zambia in terms of wildlife.

Naturally, a visit to South Luangwa isn’t complete without a night or two at Kafunta River Lodge. Contact us at your earliest convenience if you would want assistance planning a trip to the South Luangwa or any of the other locations mentioned here.

Best Time to Visit

As of late March or early April, South Luangwa’s rainiest season has come to a close. Come while the grass is still green; it will be a picture-perfect visit. If you’re a birdwatcher, now is the perfect time to go. It is not uncommon to see birds such as the Grey Crowned Crane and the Saddle-billed Stork.

We have a dry season from May to October. Less vegetation means better game viewing as animals congregate around the Luangwa River’s remaining water.

Park Highlights

  • For every kilometer of the Luangwa River, there are over fifty hippos. It is usual to see a large group of them relaxing in the water.
  • One of the best ways to see the most abundant wildlife in Africa is on a game drive. Another option for seeing predators in action is to go on a night drive in South Luangwa.
  • It has now been announced that Zambia has the highest population of African wild dogs.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

4. Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Mosi-oa-Tunya is a protected area that includes a large portion of the terrain upstream and downstream of Victoria Falls. The roaring “smoke” that the Falls produce as the Zambezi River roars down the gorge at full force is the inspiration for the park’s name.

The 66 sq. km. Mosi-oa-Tunya park is small in size compared to others, such as Kafue. Its spectacular display more than compensates for its diminutive stature. A lot of people go to Zambia to see this little park, which has the biggest waterfall on the planet.

Best Time to Visit

Between February and April, the Zambezi River is at its most powerful, thus seeing the Falls will be a (very) wet experience. The months of May through July are ideal for seeing the falls without risking a wetsuit. The river will dry out considerably later in the year, making the falls less spectacular, but they will never be totally empty.

Park Highlights

  • If you’re feeling adventurous, you can tackle the Victoria Falls Gorge Swing. A 95-meter swing, 120 meters in the air, and a 70-meter freefall—now that’s something to let out a good squeal!
  • Although it may not be as exciting, birdwatching along the riverbanks is quite remarkable.
  • The government has mandated that the park’s armed guards safeguard the park’s few white rhinos at all times. It is an honor just to lay eyes on these endangered creatures in Zambia.

Victoria Falls – Mosi-oa-Tunya, Zambia & Zimbabwe

5. Luambe National Park

Along with Lusaka National Park, Luambe is one of the tiniest national parks in Zambia, measuring in at a mere 254 km² / 158 mi². Between Lukusuzi and the Luangwa Valley’s North and South Luangwa National Parks, it sits on the Luangwa River’s eastern bank. Among Zambia’s earliest protected zones, it was designated in 1938.

The fauna of Luambe is comparable to that of its bigger neighboring parks; it has the usual suspects, such as large herbivores and carnivores, along with a few lesser-known species. While larger parks sometimes have more animals per square mile, Luambe often has less people per square mile, which is a major plus when compared to its more well-known neighbors.

In a relatively small area, one may find a wide variety of habitats, from the broad grasslands of the Chipuka Plains peppered with sausage trees to riverine forest, cathedral mopane woods, and floodplain acacia thickets.

You should definitely go to Luambe before everyone else does because it is home to over 200 different bird species and has increasing populations of elephants, lions, and leopards.

Best Time: Due to its inaccessibility during the wetter months of May through October, Luambe National Park is not open to the public year-round. During the green season, the restricted accommodation closes.

Discover Luambe National Park

Luambe National Park