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0200 miles1000300 km100200NTZPeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCulture November 2008 Travel Zambia 47 11 Plains of western Zambia Liuwa Plain National Park is a great starting point for this vast region, with large numbers of water birds ( African spoonbill ( left), wattled crane, slaty egret), as well as many larks, bustards and raptors. The more adventurous still can take a their 4WD and GPS across the river at Chavuma into western Zambezi District, in search of white- throated francolins and cloud cisticolas. Timing: best July– Dec. 9 Nkanga River Conservation Area Just north of Choma, this is arguably the best spot for Zambia's striking endemic, Chaplin's barbet ( left). Easy access and a wide range of habitats ensure great birding at all times, with species such as Schalow's turaco also regular. Visit at the onset of the rains to witness a spectacular roost of swallows, weavers and bishops. Timing: all year. 8 Mutulanganga These seemingly mundane thickets along the road to Siavonga hold several gems. Crested guineafowl, Livingstone's flycatcher and white- throated nicator are present throughout the year, but barred long- tailed cuckoo, red- capped robin ( above) and the ultimate prize, African pitta, are present only in the rains. Timing: all year ( Nov– Jan for pittas). 13 Shiwa Ng'andu A fascinating historic site with an impressive selection of birds: Bocage's robin, black- backed barbet ( left), splendid starling and black- bellied seed- cracker in the forest patches; white- cheeked bee- eater and black- chinned quailfinch in the dambos. Keep an eye out for palm- nut vultures overhead. Timing: all year. 14 Luapula Valley Search the extensive papyrus swamps ( often close to the road) between Mwense and Nchelenge for marsh tchagra, greater swamp warbler, swamp flycatcher, papyrus yellow and white- winged warbler. Timing: all year. 12 Livingstone The famous Victoria Falls are not the only attraction here. Explore the Zambezi upstream for African fish eagle, African finfoot, rock pratincole and African skimmer, and downstream spot black eagles, peregrine falcons and other raptors in the gorges. Timing: all year. 10 Luangwa Valley Justly famous for its big game, this magnificent area is also full of big birds. Vultures and eagles are ubiquitous overhead, drying lagoons are fished out by white pelicans and various storks, and huge colonies of carmine bee- eaters breed in the river banks. The mopane woodland is alive with long- tailed starlings, Lilian's lovebirds and white- browed sparrow- weavers. Timing: all year, but access limited during the rains. For more information on all of these sites, see Important Bird Areas in Zambia by Pete Leonard ( Zambian Ornithological Society), and Birds of Zambia by Dowsett, Aspinwall & Dowsett- Lemaire ( Turaco Press). Available from the Natural History Book Society ( www. nhbs. com) Pete Leonaeonard Andrea Leonaeonard m ike. harrison@ harrisonclear. coco. uk m ike harrison 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 13 14 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 I soka Kasama Mpulungu Chirundu Kapiri Mposhi Mkushi Mfuwe Mpika L. Tanganyika L. Bangweulu L. Mweru Wantipa L. Mweru L. Kariba Zambezi River Luangwa River

48 Travel Zambia November 2008 PeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCulturePeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCultur Rivers Most of Zambia is drained by the Zambezi, to the southeast. But the north of the country forms part of the catchment of an even mightier river: the Congo. The Zambezi River is Africa's fourth largest river system, after the Nile, Zaire and Niger. It rises as a small spring in the Mwinilunga District of northwest Zambia and flows 2,700km east to the Indian Ocean. Along the way it passes through the broad Barotse floodplains, the spectacular Victoria Falls, the zigzagging Batoka Gorge and the massive Kariba Dam. For 500km it serves as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kafue River, a major tributary of the Zambezi, is the largest river lying wholly within Zambia. It rises on a plateau in northwest Zambia, flowing south through the Copperbelt, Kafue National Park, and the immense floodplain of the Kafue Flats – home to one of Africa's densest concentrations of birds – before meeting the Zambezi about 20km north of Chirundu. The Luangwa River is another tributary of the Zambezi. It rises in the Mafinga Hills in northeast Zambia and down through a broad rift valley before reaching the Zambezi at Luangwa Town, 750km to the south. It is one of the largest unaltered rivers in southern Africa and the Luangwa Valley is home to abundant wildlife. The Chambeshi River in northeastern Zambia is the furthest headstream of ? ? Africa's second- longest river, the Congo ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . It rises in the mountains near Lake Tanganyika and flows for 480km into the Bangweulu Swamps. It then exits as the Luapula River, ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? forming part of the border between Zambia and Congo DR, and connects Lake Bangweulu to Lake Mweru. Zambia by water Zambia may not be able to boast an ocean, but many of its most impressive natural attractions are of the watery variety. These include southern Africa's greatest river, one of the world's largest man- made lakes and the most impressive waterfall on the planet. Lakes Zambia's best- known water body is man- made. But there are many impressive natural ones too. Lake Kariba stretches along Zambia's southern border. It is one of the world's largest man- made lakes, 220km in length and covering an area of 5,580km2. The lake was created between 1955 and 1959, when the Kariba Dam was built across the Zambezi. It provides electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe and supports a thriving commercial fishing industry. Lake Bangweulu is Zambia's largest natural lake and one of the world's great wetland systems. Its permanent open water surface expands to 15,000km2 when its swamps and floodplains are in flood, though its average depth is only 4m. The system is fed by the Chambeshi, among others, and drained by the Luapula. Lake Tanganyika, at 677km, is the longest freshwater lake in the world and also, at a maximum depth of 1433m, the second deepest. Zambia lays claim to the lake's very southern tip, where ? ? ? ? ? Sumbu National Park protects a remote shoreline of sandy beaches, vertical cliffs, rocky coves and natural bays. Lake Mweru in northern Zambia is fed by the Luapula River, which forms a swampy delta to the south, and drained by the Luvua, which flows north to join – ultimately – the Congo. The lake measures 118km in length and is deeper in the north than the south. Waterfalls Zambia has more than 17 major waterfalls. One of them, Victoria Falls, ? ? ? ? needs little introduction ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . But those prepared to venture off the beaten track will find many more. Victoria Falls was described by the Kololo tribe in the 1800s as Mosi- oa- Tunya, ' the smoke that thunders'. At a width of 1.7km and a height of 108m, this is arguably the world's greatest waterfall. In peak season, spray can be seen from 50km away as 546 million cubic metres of water per minute thunder over the edge. The falls are formed where the full width of the Zambezi ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? plunges into a deep chasm carved into a fracture zone in the basalt plateau. Ngonye Falls lie in western Zambia ? ? near the Village of Sioma, on the Zambezi. The falls are only 12m high, but form around a broad crescent with a volume of water that, in peak season, is second only to the Victoria Falls. You can see the falls from Sioma, but a better view comes by crossing the river 2km downstream. Kalambo Falls are situated in Northern Province on the Kalambo River, near the border with Tanzania. This spectacular jet of water plunges 221m down into the gorge below. It is the second highest waterfall in Africa and the twelfth highest in the world. Lumangwe Falls, which resembles a mini Victoria Falls, is located near the Chipembe pontoon in Northern Province. The falls are 35m high and 100m across and nourish a small rain forest on the Kalungwishi River. Local legend has it that they are home to a great ' Snake Spirit' called Lumangwe. Guests of Tongabezi Lodge, near Livingstone, may marvel at Victoria Falls from the air or canoe among hippos on the Zambezi. tongabtongab e zi ( 2)