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November 2007 Travel Zambia 45 Where to stay Today’s visitor to Zambia’s largest park now has a range of options. These are some of the best. Northern Kafue Wilderness Safaris: Lufupa Lodge – northern central Lunga River Lodge – northeast Busanga Bush Camp – Busanga Plains, northwest Kapinga Camp – Busanga Plains, northwest Shumba Camp – Busanga Plains, northwest Hippo Camp: McBrides’ Camp and McBrides’ Bushcamp: Southern Kafue Nanzhila Lodge: Kaingu Lodge: Mukambi Safari Lodge (plus Plains Camp up on the Busanga Plains): Puku Pans Safari Lodge: Key wildlife Kafue is home to over 150 mammal species – as many as any park in Africa. Lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and wild dog are among Kafue factfile the plentiful predators, while an unusual diversity of antelope includes eland, roan, red lechwe, puku, tsessebe, sable and blue duiker. Birders will also find such rarities as black-cheeked lovebird, Chaplin’s barbet and Denham’s bustard among the list of over 470 species. When to visit Although some lodges are open all year round, most of those in the heart of the park only operate during the dry season, from May to November. See p29 for more about Kafue during the green season. Lodge life WILDERNESS SAFARIS (4) Wild dogs on Nanzhila Plains NANZHILA PLAINS

46 Travel Zambia November 2007 To the average visitor, especially newcomers to Africa, Zambia’s wildlife is little short of mind-boggling. It’s not just the spectacular, crowd-pulling ‘megafauna’, such as lions and elephants, but also the sheer variety and abundance that takes the breath away. Whether it’s big game that you’re after, or your aim is to tick off some of Zambia’s 779 species of bird, every corner of the country has a treat in store. The map below reveals just a few of the highlights. Vakacha Around Zambia · itineraries · self-drive · safari news · travel latest · a helping hand · volunteering Around Zambia Nile crocodile Crocodiles are a feature of most lakes and waterways across Zambia – notably the Zambezi, Luangwa and Kafue rivers. These massive reptiles, which have remained virtually unchanged since the days of dinosaurs, may live for more than 90 years and reach five metres in length. So keep away from the water’s edge. Chaplin’s barbet Chaplin’s barbet is Zambia’s only endemic bird. It is confined to the Kafue Basin in the south-central region, between Lusaka and Kafue National Park, where it breeds in large sycamore fig trees. You can identify this chunky little bird by its red forehead and thick, powerful bill. Leopard Probably no country in Africa offers a better chance of seeing this elegant and elusive cat, which remains top of many safari-goers’ wish list. Smaller and more solitary than lions, leopards are primarily nocturnal – and night drives, especially in South Luanwga and Kafue, are especially productive. Listen at night for the rasping, saw-like territorial call. Cranes Cranes are celebrated the world-over for their elegance and spectacular courtship dances. Zambia has two species, the wattled crane, pictured here, and grey crowned crane. Both are easy to see on grasslands and flooded wetlands around the country, especially in the Kafue Flats region. Wild dog There are fewer than 5,000 wild dogs left in Africa, but Zambia remains one of the best places in which to glimpse this fascinating and endangered predator, with Kafue, South Luangwa, Luambe and the Lower Zambezi all being good locations. Packs wander vast distances, so sightings are never predictable. Pel’s fishing owl This massive, orange-ochre owl is another drawcard for birders – and relatively easy to see in many parts of the country, including the Luangwa Valley, Kafue and Kasanka. It holes up in dense riverine forest by day, emerging after dark to snatch its prey from the water, fish eagle-style, in lethal talons. PHILIP PERRY LIZANNE ROXBURGH NANZHILA PLAINS FRANCOIS SAVIGNY / NPL MIKE UNWIN 4 2 1 3 6 Mwinilunga Solwezi Limulunga Mongu Kaoma Livingstone Kazungula Victoria Falls Zambezi River Kafue River Liuwa Plain NP Sioma Ngwezi NP West Lunga NP Kafue NP