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Protected Area Lower Zambezi National Park

ID: w149313 View large map

Located in Zambia :: Lower Zambezi
Category: Protected Areas :: Protected Area


Relatively undeveloped, the Lower Zambezi National Park’s rugged beauty will appeal to those with a sense of adventure. It’s located on the Zambezi River, opposite Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park; both parks are part of the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools TFCA (Transfrontier Conservation Area) which forms a large protected area in the Zambezi Valley where game can roam freely.

Formerly the property of Zambia’s president, the area was declared a national park in 1983. Regular patrols by the Department of National Parks has curbed (although not entirely contained) poaching and the game numbers have increased significantly.

Traveller Description

Vegetation includes broadleaf woodland against the Zambezi valley’s northern escarpment, a floodplain with mopane and acacia trees, and riverine forests of ebony and fig. The highest concentration of game occurs along the river with elephant and buffalo frequently seen crossing the Zambezi between the two parks. Lion, leopard and hyena occur in the park, and travelers will enjoy frequent sightings of kudu, zebra, waterbuck, etc. on game drives. The shy and rather elusive Samango monkey (aka blue monkey) can be found in the vicinity of Chongwe Waterfalls, this is one of the best places in Zambia to look for this species.

More than 350 species of birds are found here and besides regular sightings of fish-eagles, king fishers, bee eaters, crested guineafowl and black eagles, twitchers also stand a reasonable chance of spotting specials such as narina trogons and red-winged pratincole.

Chongwe falls is located on the Chongwe river, on the grounds of Chongwe River Camp. Bookings must be made through the lodge and fees paid before visiting. Here the river cascades through narrow rocky channels (this changes with high water levels) and cascades into a crystal-clear pool - sadly it’s not swimmable thanks to the crocs! All in all, this is a lovely place to while away an afternoon.

If you are planning to exit the park on the eastern boundary, you may want to detour to the small village of Kavalamanja. During Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence from colonial rule, Southern Rhodesian freedom fighters were stationed around the Kavalamanja region, due to its proximity to what is known as the Gates of Mupata - the narrowest point of the Zambezi River. The village is close to the river, and it was easy for the freedom fighters to cross the river here, back into Southern Rhodesia, to continue with the fight. In 1978 the village was bombed during a Southern Rhodesian air raid, but the bomb miraculously did not explode. If it did, it would have wiped out the entire village. Today the site is commemorated by a monument and some of the freedom fighters are laid to rest in a small adjacent cemetery.

Address :  Zambia
Postal :  P.O. Box 30972, Lusaka, Zambia
Contact :  Chiawa Camp (Lower Zambezi National Park)
Tel :  +260(0)21 126 1588
Cell :  +260(0)97 776 7433
Email :  Click Here
Website :  Click Here
Cellphone Reception :  Nothing

Time Information
Best Time to Visit :  Open all year round. Best time is mid season June to September. Fishing is best in Sep/Oct.

Rates and Payment
Rates Quoted :  Per Person
Updated for :  2019
Comments :  (Rate Info Updated Apr-2019).
Payment Methods Accepted :  Cash
Fee/s :  Park Entry Fees 2019: Citizens (KR): ZMW41.70pp/day; Residents/SADC Nationals (KR): USD20pp/day; International (KR): USD25pp/day; Self Drives (Residents/Non-Residents) (KR):USD30pp/day. (Feb-2019).

Destination Information
Lodging Camping Airstrip

Game Viewing Game Drives 4WD Trails Guided Walks Fishing Swimming Canoeing Boat Trips Bird Watching Photography
Night Drives
Game to View :  Antelope. Impala. Leopard. Wild Dog. Buffalo. Kudu. Gemsbok. Zebra. Wildebeest. Waterbuck. Bushbuck. Lion. Elephant. Buffalo.
Notes on Activities :  (Some activities may be offered nearby).

Travelling Information

Self Drive Access :  Yes
Vehicle Type :  4WD

While some lodges are open all year round, many close in the rainy season from November to April. The best time to visit is June to September, when the roads are dry and game concentrates along the river. An off-road vehicle is required to drive in the park, and the track gets very rugged and remote the further east you travel.

Access into the park is through either Chongwe or Makumba Gate and although it’s possible to drive through the park and exit in the east near Luangwa River, there’s no entrance or exit gate here so be sure to inform the personnel at either Chongwe or Makumba of your intentions. This is a very rough, difficult and remote track so you’re advised to travel with a minimum of two vehicles when exiting this way. It should also be said that the road via Makumba Gate is also very rough - you drop down the escarpment on 4WD tracks which sometimes get washed away. This route isn’t recommended during the rainy season.

The park is accessible by fly-in and self drive with a 4WD vehicle only as it can become inaccessible in wet weather. For fly-ins private charter planes will land at one of the four airfields within the park: the Royal airfield, Jeki airfield, Kulefu airfield and Kayila airfield. Prior arrangements should however be made.

There are flights between Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa. You could book a return flight to South Luangwa from Lower Zambezi, leaving your vehicle safely at Mvuu Lodge. This will mean organising your accommodation in South Luangwa and asking them to pick you up at Mfuwe airport.

There’s no electricity, cell phone reception or any facilities inside the park besides those offered by the lodges. Camping facilities are only available outside the park.

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

Entrance fees are payable in cash, usually Kwacha, although USD may be accepted.

Lodges in the park offer game drives, canoe safaris, boat cruises and guided walks with an armed guide, or overnight camping safaris along the river. You can get a ranger at Chongwe or Mukamba Gate to accompany you on a game drive in your own vehicle, at a cost of US$20 (at time of writing). It’s good value for money considering you get expert knowledge and the ability to explore the park in full.

Tsetse flies are present in the park.

There is no fuel in the park - the last fuel stop before the park is in Chirundu.

Fuel and supermarkets can be found at Chirundu or in the bigger town of Kafue. Travelling on the T4 (Chipata towards Mukamba Gate), you’ll find the Food and Craft market at Luangwa Bridge, a really colourful and vibrant shopping experience.

 Travel Tip!

The nearest camping is at Mvuu Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River which offers large campsites each with its own private shower and toilet.

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