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0100200 miles 0100200300 km N TZ People Vakacha Habitat Habitat Nkani Nkani May 2009 Travel Zambia 41 9 Black Lechwe, Bangweulu Swamps Lechwe are related to waterbuck, and can be identifi ed by their high- rumped profi le and the male's sweeping horns. Three races occur in Zambia, of which the black lechwe is darkest in colour and endemic to the Bangweulu region. Herds graze on fl ooded grasslands, where their long hooves and powerful hindquarters enable them to plough through shallow water to escape predators. Territorial males display vigorously as they compete for females. 6 Impala, Luangwa Valley This abundant antelope owes its success to its versatile diet, being both a browser and a grazer, and its habit of lambing en masse at the start of summer, which gluts the market with young and ensures a high survival rate. Rams are aggressively territorial during the rut. At other times they gather in bachelor groups, while females and young form larger mixed herds. Impala occur in open woodland habitat across much of Zambia. 8 Eland, Nyika Plateau A male eland is twice as big as any other antelope, weighing up to 900kg. With his massive frame and prominent dewlap he resembles a prize bull. Females are much smaller. Both sexes have straight horns with a single twist. Despite their great size, eland can jump a two- metre fence with ease. They are relatively widespread across Zambia, though nowhere common and always shy. Nyika is a prime location, with herds of up to 60 often seen trekking across the empty skyline. 7 Puku, Luangwa Valley Puku are abundant along the fl oodplains of the Luangwa and Kafue, where small groups can be seen grazing - usually close to the water. They are stockier than the superfi cially similar impala, with a golden tinge to their unmarked coat. Only males have horns, and they use their powerful neck muscles in fi erce contests of pushing and butting. Listen out for their sharp alarm whistle - a sure sign of approaching predators. 10 Sitatunga, Kasanka National Park The sitatunga, like the bushbuck, belongs to the ' spiral- horn' tribe of antelope. It lives primarily in papyrus swamps, browsing on aquatic vegetation. Its uniquely long, splayed hooves allow it to move easily over swampy terrain, and it will hide from predators by submerging itself with only nostrils protruding. Sitatungas are found in pockets of suitable habitat across Zambia. They are generally tricky to fi nd, but the Fibwe hide in Kasanka offers excellent and reliable sightings. MIKE UNWIN ROBIN POPE SAFARISMIKE UNWINMIKE UNWIN ZNTB 5 6 7 8 9 10 Lower Zambezi NP Kasanka NP South Luangwa NP North Luangwa NP Luambe NP Sumbu NP Lusenga NP Lukusuzi NP Blue Lagoon NP Lochinvar NP LUSAKA Kitwe Ndola Chipata Isoka Kasama Mpulungu Chirundu Kapiri Mposhi Mkushi Mfuwe Mpika L. Tanganyika L. Bangweulu L. Mweru L. MweruWantipa L. Kariba Zambezi River Luangwa River

42 Travel Zambia May 2009 People People Vakacha Vakacha Habitat Habitat Nkani Nkani THE NORTHERN WATERFALLS CIRCUIT ( northeastern Zambia) A two- to three- week self- drive circuit from Lusaka is the only practical way to explore the stunning and remote areas of northern Zambia. Days 1- 3: Depart Lusaka on the Great North Road ( branch right at Kapiri Mposhi, or else you'll end up in the Copperbelt), and head for Serenje and the Kasanka turn- off. Purchase supplies and fuel here for your stay in Zambia's rapidly emerging ' bat park' ( bats in residence from October to January). Days 4- 6: Continue to the Bangweulu Swamps, located just off the Chinese Road, as you head north towards Mansa. The wetlands offer an opportunity to search for elusive shoebill storks and endemic black lechwe. Days 7- 10: From Mansa the badly potholed route north deteriorates steadily until it becomes a gravel road after Kawambwa. The northern waterfalls loop offers many rustic campgrounds, with sensational views. Ntumbachusi, Kabweluma and Lumangwe are among Zambia's fi nest cascades and each well worth a visit. Days 11- 14: Head to Ndole Bay Lodge on Lake Tanganyika for some well- deserved rest. Located on the edge of Sumbu National Park, it offers great beaches, fi shing, snorkelling, diving and excellent hiking in the neighbouring park. Days 15- 18: The route back to Lusaka ( via Kasama and Mpika) takes you to Mutinondo Wilderness. Enjoy a few fi nal days of hiking, swimming and generally kicking back at this delightful rustic lodge, perched on the lip of the Luangwa escarpment. But tear yourself away in time for your return fl ight from Lusaka. Road trips for the rugged Zambia's best- known attractions, such as Victoria Falls and South Luangwa, come laid on a plate for the visitor. But what of those many destinations that lie far from any airstrip? Stephen Cunliffe took to the road and discovered two excellent routes for those adventurous enough to explore Zambia under their own steam. THE WILD WEST CIRCUIT ( southwestern Zambia) A two- to three- week route west from Livingstone takes you across the remote western reaches of Barotseland and returns to Lusaka via Kafue National Park. Days 1- 3: Start with a couple of days acclimatisation in Livingstone, where you can marvel at the spectacular Victoria Falls and sample some of Africa's fi nest adventure sports, before tackling Zambia's ' wild west'. Days 4- 8: From Livingstone follow the excellent tarred road west to the Namibian border at Sesheke ( last guaranteed fuel until Mongu). Take your time on the shocking road to Senanga and break the journey at Mutemwa Lodge on the upper Zambezi - an excellent base for the neighbouring Sioma Ngwezi National Park ( see page 18). The new Sioma River Camp is 150km further on and provides access to the stunning Ngonye Falls. Days 9- 12: The long drive north through Senanga is bone- shatteringly brutal, but after a night's rest in Mongu you will be ready to head west via the Lului Pontoon to Kalabo and into Zambia's hidden gem: Liuwa Plain National Park ( see p30). Enjoy Africa's second largest wildebeest migration ( November is best) and prolifi c birdlife. Days 13- 18: Back track to Mongu and rejoin the tarred road. Head east, via Kasoma, into Kafue National Park, where a number of lodges and campsites are situated close to the main road. You could lose yourself for weeks in Zambia's largest national park, so be sure to make it to Lusaka in time for your fl ight home. Numerous car rental agencies offer 4WD vehicles in Zambia. The following are reliable companies with excellent reputations, who offer well- maintained vehicles for collection in Lusaka or Livingstone: Safari Drive ( www. safaridrive. com) UK- based company with over 15 years experience in African self- drive safaris. Offers fully- serviced Land Rovers with advanced food orders, satellite phones and 24hr back- up service ( in case of emergencies). Also provides maps, itinerary suggestions and a full briefi ng on vehicle operation. Hemingways ( www. hemingwayszambia. com) Livingstone- based company using Toyota Hilux double- cabs that are in excellent condition and fully equipped with two roof- top tents, long range fuel tanks, a fridge and all necessary camping gear. An experienced driver can also be provided on request. Livingstone Car Hire ( www. 4x4hireafrica. com) Hire fl eet of Land Rover vehicles ranges from standard unequipped Land Rover Defender 110 Station Wagons to fully kitted Land Rover 130 Campers - all insured for cross- border travel. SELF- DRIVE SUPPLIERS All vehicle documents and owner's handbook GPS, maps and satellite/ cell phone Rooftop tents and fridge Long- range fuel tanks ( 100 litres/ 650 miles) Two batteries and two spare tyres Tyre pump and pressure gauge High- lift jack and wheel spanner Tow rope or snatch strap Spade, machete/ axe Top tip You will not be travelling with a guide, so don't forget your binoculars, camera and reference books. ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT STEPHEN CUNLIFFESTEPHEN CUNLIFFE