Zambia: Africa's Best-Kept Secret
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USASeptember 27
Board your independent flight to Zambia.
Livingstone, ZambiaSeptember 28 — September 29
Arrive in Livingstone this evening and transfer to Toka Leya Camp, which overlooks the Zambezi River, for dinner and overnight. The next day visit Victoria Falls and enjoy a cruise on the Zambezi to search for hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of waterfowl. Keep an eye out for the taita falcons, auguar buzzards, and fish eagles that nest in the walls of the gorge. You will also have a chance to tour the highlights of modern and historic Livingstone and embark on your first game drive in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park to search for zebra, impala, wildebeest, and a variety of birds.
Livingstone / Kafue National ParkSeptember 30 — October 3
Fly to Busanga airstrip, your gateway into Kafue, Zambia’s oldest and largest national park. Untouched by human development, the magnificent Busanga Plains are populated by astounding numbers and a diversity of wildlife that move into the region as the dry season progresses. Red lechwe graze the protected plains in the thousands, as do puku, oribi, roan and sable antelope, and herds of tsessebe, hartebeest, zebra, and buffalo. This incredible wealth of game draws predators in large numbers, including wild dogs, leopards, and cheetahs. Lions on the hunt are often spotted—sometimes in prides numbering close to 20. Nocturnal species include aardvark, small-spotted genet, African civet, hyena, and the amazing greater and lesser bushbaby. Birding on the plains is an exceptional experience and Kafue boasts 490 avian species including crowned and rare wattled cranes, black storks, African finfoot, black-collared eremomela, scaly-throated honeyguide, and the endemic Chaplin’s barbet. Spend four days here with the group split two nights each at Shumba and Busanga, transferring between them by helicopter. Enjoy multiple opportunities to view and photograph both iconic and lesser-known herd and predator species during walking safaris, by open 4x4 vehicles, and on night drives.
Shumba Camp – Located in the heart of the Busanga Plains, Shumba Camp sits close to permanent water and seasonal floodplains. Raised platforms provide magnificent views and wildlife watching opportunities. Hippos frequent the local waters in great numbers and bird activity is lively in the lush fig tree branches that shelter the camp.
Busanga Bush – This camp is situated at the edge of a vast mosaic of grassy, seasonal floodplains. The lounge and bar area provide uninterrupted views out over the plains where large herds of puku, red lechwe, buffalo, and wildebeest congregate; followed by their predators, lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs. You will also enjoy exceptional views of the resident herd of roan antelope.
Kafue National Park / South Luangwa National ParkOctober 4 — October 6
Fly by charter aircraft to South Luangwa National Park for three extraordinary days of exploration in one of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries. Fabled for its incredible wildlife of 60 animal species, and its few human visitors, South Luangwa is also considered the best walking safari destination in all of Africa. Explore the Luangwa River vegetation and adjacent dambos, a series of wetlands, on guided walks. Game viewing drives take you through mopane woodland, open grassland, along river shores lined with giant crocodiles, and to oxbow lakes where herds of elephants gather and hippos jostle for space. Birders watch for yellow-billed storks, tropical boubous, crowned cranes, scarlet-chested sunbirds, and Lilian’s lovebirds.
South Luangwa’s leopard population is the densest in Africa, and lions, wild dogs, and spotted hyenas can be seen in this driest time of the year, when waterholes shrink and game is increasingly concentrated. Cookson’s wildebeests and Thornicroft’s giraffes—the world’s tallest animal at nearly 18 feet—are found nowhere else on the planet except in this corner of Africa.
Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge – Built in the 1970s for Kenneth Kaunda, the former Zambian president, the furnishings and décor reflect an elegant and understated colonial style. A long veranda stretches outside the dining room for magnificent views down the valley to the Luangwa itself.
South Luangwa National Park / Lower Zambezi National ParkOctober 7 — October 9
Fly by charter aircraft to Jeki airstrip in Lower Zambezi National Park and transfer to camp by boat for three full days in the region around the legendary Zambezi River. The Lower Zambezi encompasses 1,580 square miles of diverse ecosystems, including rugged escarpment, 80 miles of riverfront, and countless islands, lagoons, and acacia-dotted floodplains.
Lush vegetation provides rich habitat for huge herds of elephants. Buffalo and waterbucks feed along the grassy banks and Africa’s iconic predators—lions, leopards, and wild dogs—all thrive on the abundant prey. Ride motorized boats or canoes past basking crocodiles, down channels teeming with hippos, and close to reed islands where wildlife feed. Birdlife here is astounding as well, including Pel’s fishing owls, majestic fish eagles, goliath herons, woolly-necked storks, lovebirds, hornbills, and dazzling little bee-eaters. Game drives give you excellent photographic opportunities and lions stalking their prey are a frequent sight. Walking the floodplains and mopane forests is also an option, as are night drives, which offer the best chance to spot leopards.
Chiawa Camp – An award-winning safari camp, Chiawa sits beneath a grove of evergreen mahogany trees overlooking the confluence of the Zambezi and Chiawa Rivers. After Lower Zambezi was established as a national park in 1983, the Cumings family built this camp and brought the very first tourists to the park. It was also along these riverbanks that Calvinist missionary, David Livingstone, traveled during his exploration of southern Africa nearly 150 years ago.
Lower Zambezi National Park / LusakaOctober 10
Transfer to Jeki airstrip by boat for our flight to Lusaka and connect to your flight to the USA.
Arrive in the USA and connect with homeward flights.