Exploring the Lower Zambezi

by Sandy Salle on August 2, 2017

Travelers are well acquainted with the Upper Zambezi — the stretch above Victoria Falls that includes fabulous waterfront lodges and safari camps. They know it as one of the gateways to Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta.

But far fewer people know that the Lower Zambezi is just as spectacular in terms of wildlife, landscapes and the overall safari experience.

Flanked by Zimbabwe on the south bank and Zambia on the north, much of the river below Victoria Falls is protected within the confines of national parks and other nature reserves.

The Zambezi River — wide and slow-flowing through this region — makes it super easy to find and photograph the wide array of animals that live along the water or come down to the shore to drink.

It’s nearly impossible to count the number of elephant, hippo and crocodile you come across in a single day in Lower Zambezi National Park (Zambia) or Mana Pools National Park (Zimbabwe). And that doesn’t even get into the abundant bird species that frequent the waterfront.

Lower Zambezi is a snapshot of Africa before mankind even existed, a wilderness that owes its pristine condition to the fact that it was a private game reserve for Zambia’s president until the 1980s when it was transformed into a national park.

Visitors overnight at upscale riverside lodges like Chiawa and or the luxury tents at Chongwe River Camp. You can even hire an entire villa — the amazing Chongwe River House — with its own swimming pool, private chefs and open-air bedrooms that overlook grassy banks where elephants, hippos and warthogs graze.

Days are spent exploring the park’s waterways in canoes, kayaks or motorized boats, trekking the banks on guided walking safaris or venturing inland in study safari vehicles. River fishing is another option.

Across the water in Zimbabwe, Mana Pools National Park revolves around both the Zambezi and four large lakes where wildlife gathers in incredible numbers (“mana” means four in the Shona language).

Mana Pools is part of a string of conservation areas that stretches all the way along the Zambezi from Vic Falls to the Mozambique border. More developed than its counterpart across the river, the national park features numerous campsites as well as large modern lodges like Musangu River Camp.

Hills of Africa can easily arrange your safari to the Lower Zambezi, including flights to Zambia or Zimbabwe, onward transportation to the national parks, safari camp accommodation and all of your activities.

Call us at 1-800-940-9344 to talk about your next adventure.

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