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National Park Kasanka National Park

ID: w149305 View large map

Located in Zambia :: Great North
Category: Protected Areas :: National Park


Although declared a national park in 1972, poaching was rife in Kasanka until a British expatriate, David Lloyd, visited here in 1985. He saw the area’s potential and established the Kasanka Trust, obtaining permission to rehabilitate Kasanka National Park as a private entity. The trust built roads and rest camps, and soon a small profit was made from tourism. In 1990 Kasanka Trust signed an agreement to manage the park in conjunction with the community and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). Although initially dependent on donations, today the park sustains itself through the proceeds of tourism. It’s the first of Zambia’s parks to be managed by a private entity and all proceeds go towards conservation in the park and improvements in the local community.

Traveller Description

At 450 km2, Kasanka is by far one of Zambia’s smallest national parks, but thanks to its location on the edge of the Bangweulu Basin (see Bangweulu National Park), a rainfall of 1 200 mm per year, and its flat landscape, it has a varied biome including several small rivers, a large swamp, and several small lakes, all interspersed with indigenous forests.

This biome supports a wide range of animals including rare mammals such as puku, sitatunga and the shy blue monkey. With more than 500 bird species, including specials such as Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Pipit and African Finfoot, the birding here is spectacular. Birding is best in the wet season, from November to March when migrants arrive from the north. Game viewing is better in the dry season, when the animals concentrate around water. Fortunately this jewel of a park is open the whole year.

Blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) are a rare and shy species which live in the forest canopy; they prefer humid, shady areas with plenty of water. Their diet consists of fruits and leaves so it’s seldom that you’ll see them on the ground. Keep an eye on those treetops in the swamp forests and you just may see them!

If you spot a few small baboons in the treetops, these are Kinda baboons (Papio kindae), as opposed to the common chacma or Cape Baboon (Papio ursinus). The Kinda baboon is found in Zambia, Angola, DRC and parts of western Tanzania; you can tell it apart from the larger chacma baboon by its crest of hair on top of the head, pinkish skin around the eyes, and their babies’ white furry coats.

Kasanka is famous for its annual bat migration, the largest migration of mammals on the planet (eat your heart out Serengeti!). Every year, from mid-October to mid-December, millions of African Straw-coloured Fruit Bats (Eidolon helvum) arrive in Kasanka, and settle in the mishutu (swamp) forest around Fibwe. This forest is evergreen, with many fruit trees such as figs which thrive in the swampy conditions; the bats are attracted here as food becomes scarce in their home areas. Some of these bats travel 2 500 km to join the annual migration and their numbers reach a peak in mid-November, when there are between 8 and 10 million bats in Kasanka. As usual, prey is followed by predators, and fish eagles, vultures, pythons and leopards all join in the feeding frenzy. Branches are known to break under the weight of the sheer number of bats suspended from them during the day.

Address :  Zambia
Postal :  The Park Manager, Kasanka Trust Ltd. P.O. Box 850073, Serenje, Zambia.
Contact :  Kasanka Reservations
Contact 2 :  Dion Scott (After Hours)
Cell :  +27(0)72 298 0777
Cell2 :  +27(0)82 728 0214
Email :  Click Here
Website :  Click Here
Host Website :  Click Here
Cellphone Reception :  Intermittent

Time Information
Best Time to Visit :  All Year Round with hot wet season (November-April) and cold dry season (May-July)

Rates and Payment
Rates Quoted :  Per Person
Updated for :  2019
Comments :  Park fees are paid per day in the park (06h00 to 18h00) and not per night and paid at the gate upon entry in Zambian Kwacha. (Updated Apr-2019).
Payment Methods Accepted :  Cash, Electronic Funds Transfer
Fee/s :  ​​Park entry fees for Residents: Residents Adults ZMW69pp/pd; Children (6 -13 yrs) ZMW35pp/pd. Foreign registered vehicles 3 tonnes ZMW295.80 per day USD per vehicle/day. Aircraft Local registered ZMW166.80 per landing Mulembo airstrip. (Apr-2019)

Destination Information
Tourist Information Office Lodging Camping Airstrip

Game Viewing Game Drives Tours and Excursions Guided Walks Mountain Biking Fishing Canoeing Boat Trips Bird Watching Photography
Scenic Flights
Game to View :  Tsessebe. Sitatunga. Hippo. Sable. Antelope. Fruit Bat Migration (Nov to Dec). Shoebill Stork. Reedbuck. Waterbuck. Sharpe’s grysbok and the rare blue monkey.
More Activities :  During November and December witness the spectacular bat migration. Shoebill stork trekking. Nearby: Livingstone Memorial. Kundalila Falls. Nsalu Caves and other local community projects.
Notes on Activities :  (Some activities may be offered nearby).

Travelling Information
Closest Town :  Mansa

Self Drive Access :  Yes
Vehicle Type :  ALL

There are three campsites in the park, as well as two lodges which will serve a hungry camper a meal (upon request). The campsites are large, shaded with rustic reed shelters, and have clean long-drop toilets and bucket showers. Water is supplied but if you prefer a hot shower, you will have to heat it yourself. Although the water is clean, it is untreated and you may prefer to bring your own bottled drinking water. Pontoon Camp, the most frequented campsite has hot showers, which are usually prepared by camp attendants, and there are flush toilets in neat new ablutions.
Main Gate to Wasa Lodge Reception: 12km / 30 minutes.
Wasa Lodge to Pontoon Campsites: 10km / 25 minutes.
Wasa Lodge to Kabwe Camp: 15km / 45 minutes.
Wasa Lodge to Kapabi Campsite: 15km / 50 minutes.
Wasa Lodge to Luwombwa Lodge: 28km / 1 hour.
Wasa Lodge to BBC hide / Public viewing areas: 8km / 20 minutes.
Pontoon Campsites to Bat Hides: 4km / 10 minutes.

Tow-ins: Try: +27(0)97 473 7848 / +260(0)96 676 1647 (Based in Lusaka)..

There are no shops in the park; the last opportunity to shop and refuel is at Serenje (coming from the south) or Mpika (from the north).
There is no water at the camping sites but campers have access to borehole water at Wasa Lodge within the park.

The park has a signal booster in the office which is at Wasa. Otherwise there is no cellphone reception in the park. There are a few pockets of signal but it's not great.

Credit Cards and Cash point machines - Credit cards are not accepted very widely in Zambia. None of the lodges in this the park accepts them. Unfortunately because of the signal issue the park does not have a card machine in the park. It is only cash or EFT. Carry enough USD or ZMW as that is the preferred currency in Zambia.

 Travel Tip!

Wet Season between November to March is best for bird watching and Game viewing is best in the dry months from May to October. Pontoon campsite #2 has beautiful views over the swamp, and sitatunga is often seen grazing here in the early morning (no guarantees!).

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