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November 2007 Travel Zambia 47 Roan antelope The handsome, horse-like roan is Africa’s second largest antelope, but also one of its most elusive. Small herds can be seen in a number of areas, including Kafue, Kasanka and Liuwa, but the best spot is undoubtedly the Nyika Plateau. Here roan thrive on the thin soils and are a common sight trooping along the ridge tops. Thornicroft’s giraffe Nothing unusual about giraffes, you might think. But the Luangwa valley has its own unique subspecies – the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, found nowhere else in Africa. It can be distinguished by its dark body markings, pale face and unmarked legs below the knees. Shoebill The shoebill, visible in only a handful of locations across Africa, is a top prize for birders. This huge bird uses its capacious, hook-tipped bill to catch lungfish, and is generally hidden in the depths of papyrus swamps. Zambia’s Bangweulu wetlands offer excellent and reliable viewing – especially for those prepared to get a little wet. Elephant Numbers of jumbos are slowly rising in Zambia. Good populations are found in the Luangwa, Kafue and Zambezi regions, with smaller numbers scattered elsewhere around the country. The Zambezi Valley offers the spectacular sight of herds crossing the river, trunks held aloft like snorkels. Fruit bats Every November and December up to six million straw-coloured fruit bats gather to roost in the evergreen swamp forest of Kasanka National Park. This is Zambia’s largest gathering of mammals, its combined weight equivalent to 1,000 elephants. Enjoy spectacular views from the Kibwe hide, where for half an hour at dusk the sky is blackened with bats. Hippo Hippos are widespread across Africa, but nowhere will you find them in greater concentrations than the Luangwa Valley, especially towards the end of the dry season when gatherings of hundreds squeeze into the shrinking pools and river loops. For an even closer encounter, try canoeing the Zambezi. 0200 miles1000300 km100200NTZ MIKE UNWIN MIKE UNWIN ARIADNE VAN ZANDBERGEN KAFUNTA SAFARIS KIERAN DODDS SAUSAGE TREE CAMP 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 LUSAKA Kitwe Ndola Chipata Isoka Kasama Mpulungu Chirundu Kapiri Mposhi Mkushi Mfuwe Mpika L. Tanganyika L. Bangweulu L. Mweru Wantipa L. Mweru L. Kariba Zambezi River Luangwa River Lower Zambezi NP Kasanka NP South Luangwa NP North Luangwa NP Luambe NP Sumbu NP Lusenga NP Lukusuzi NP Blue Lagoon NP Lochinvar NP

48 Travel Zambia November 2007 N kaniNkaniVakachaVakachaNkaniNkaniVakachaVakacha Budget/DIY (US$2000–3,500) For the self-drive, self-sufficient visitor travelling on a budget. Cost includes 4WD vehicle and camping hire, based on four people sharing. All activities extra. Days 1–4 Livingstone Arrive Livingstone. Spend three nights at one of many campsites or budget hostels in and around town (e.g. Jolly Boys, Fawlty Towers, Zambezi waterfront). Choose from numerous activities, including white-water rafting, river cruises and bungee-jumping. Or simply relax and enjoy the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. Days 5–6 Lechwe Lodge / Lusaka Collect your rental vehicle and drive northeast towards Lusaka. Stay one/two nights at Lechwe Lodge: a mid-range lodge on the Kafue River c.90 minutes from Lusaka, with walking and riding; or one/two nights at a budget camp closer to town (e.g. Pioneer Camp). Visit markets and museums on a city tour. Days 7–13 Kafue National Park Drive west to Kafue National Park, entering by Nalusanga Gate. Spend three nights at campsite in northern sector (e.g. Lufupa), followed by three in southern sector (e.g. Mukambi, Chunga, Puku Pans, Kaingu). Activities (available at lodges) include game drives, guided walks and boat trips. Wildlife includes elephant, hippo and good predator sightings. Prolific birdlife. Day 14 Livingstone Return to Livingstone, leaving Kafue south by the Dumdumwenze Gate. Drop off your rental vehicle. Enjoy a final night by the Falls after your safari. So how much will your safari cost? The budget-conscious traveller has many economical options. Equally, the sky’s the limit if you want to splash out. Experienced tour operators will tailor-make a tour to suit your wallet. Meanwhile the following rough itineraries give you some idea of what to expect. Prices are per person and do not include international flights. Deluxe (US$8,000+) Treat yourself to a no-expenses-spared safari of a lifetime, with exclusive personal service and top guides. Days 1–4 Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park Arrive Lusaka. Direct transfer to Kafue, then helicopter flight to Busanga Plains for four nights at two upmarket lodges (e.g. Shumba, Kapinga). Explore woodlands and floodplains on game drives and boat trips. Wildlife highlights include numerous antelope species, lion, leopard, cheetah and possible wild dog. Prolific birdlife. Days 5–9 South Luangwa National Park Direct flight to South Luangwa National Park. Spend three nights at a top-end lodge (e.g. Tafika, Tena Tena, Kapani), followed by two nights at an exclusive bushcamp (e.g. Mwamba, Bilimungwe, Mchenja). Walks, drives and night drives. Wildlife highlights include elephant, lion, leopard and endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe. Days 10–12 Lower Zambezi National Park Direct flight to Lower Zambezi National Park. Spend four nights at a top-end lodge (e.g. Chiawa, Chongwe, Sausage Tree) on the banks of the Zambezi. Explore the river on game drives, walks and by canoe. Wildlife highlights include hippo, elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rich birdlife. Days 13–14 Livingstone/Victoria Falls Fly to Livingstone for two nights at a top-end lodge on the banks of the Zambezi (e.g. Tongabezi, Islands of Siankaba). Relax in style after your safari and enjoy the spectacle of Victoria Falls. Numerous activities available. With thanks to Expert Africa: www.expertafrica.com Itineraries Left: Yellow-billed storks and Thornicrofts’ giraffes visit the riverfront at Wildlife Camp, South Luangwa. MIKE UNWIN (2) Mid-range (US$3,000–4,500) The best of the country without breaking the bank. Days 1–5 South Luangwa National Park Arrive Lusaka. Transfer by air to South Luangwa National Park and spend five nights at a mid-range camp on the banks of the river (e.g. Wildlife Camp; Flatdogs). Watch wildlife, including elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe and lion, around camp and on optional walks, drives and night drives into the park. Highlights include excellent leopard sightings, endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe and spectacular carmine bee-eater colonies. Days 6–10 Lower Zambezi National Park Transfer by plane to Lower Zambezi National Park. Spend five nights at a mid-range camp (e.g. Ana Tree) on the banks of the Zambezi. Explore the river and its backwaters by game drives, on foot and by canoe. Highlights include plentiful hippo, elephant and buffalo, plus all principal predators, including possible wild dogs. Also rich birdlife and dramatic scenery. Days 11–14 Livingstone Spend four nights at a mid-range hotel (e.g. Royal Zambezi Sun) beside the world famous Victoria Falls. Choose from a wealth of activities, including white-water rafting, river cruises, bungee-jumping, microlighting and game drives in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Or simply relax and enjoy the river and the Falls.