After the de riguer mammals are ticked off your checklist, Zambia’s rare species and migrations are sure to excite even the most jaded safari-goer. In Kasanka National Park in the northeast, eight million fruit bats darken the sky in November and December, and sitatungas, a semi-aquatic and highly elusive antelope, are commonly spotted. Nearby in the Bangweulu wetlands, herds of thousands of black lechwe roam; this is the only place in Africa you can see the antelope in large numbers. In November, tens of thousands of blue wildebeest gather on the plains of Liuwa Plain National Park, and in Kafue National Park lions can be seen swimming in swamps and even climbing sycamore trees. In both of these parks you also have a chance to see wild dogs, a hard to spot carnivore endangered throughout Africa.
The upside to Zambia’s rough roads and long distances is that self-sufficient, adventurous travellers are rewarded with landscapes all to themselves. Highways leaving the capital, Lusaka, branch out to eight bordering countries, and turnoffs on dirt tracks lead to small villages and dense woodland. North Luangwa National Park or Ngonye Falls in the southeast are all worthy destinations for a wilderness adventure.
While admittedly overwhelming to the senses, the city’s outdoor markets are worth experiencing to see how ordinary Lusakans do their everyday shopping. Design House Café, on the outskirts of the capital, has an idyllic garden setting and breakfast or lunch here is worth every kwacha of the taxi ride.