The Lower Zambezi National Park is about 4,092 square kilometres in size and lies along the northern bank of the Zambezi River.
The river is a focal point for the abundant wildlife in the area which includes elephant, hippo, zebra, lion, leopard, baboon, vervet monkey, antelopes, crocodiles and a great variety of birds.
Canoe safaris have become a popular way of exploring the Lower Zambezi, this is in addition to game drives in open 4×4 vehicles and walking safaris. The park is easily accessible by air, a 30-40 minute flight out of Lusaka; and by road through Chirundu.
In a game drive here visitors will cross a varying landscape from thick mopane forest, dazzling winter thorn trees, and huge acacias. What makes the park shine brighter is the wide range of safari activities on offer. You can paddle, walk, cruise, and drive in search of the parks bountiful game.
Day and night game drives: Obviously in an African national park game drives are the main draw, but what we loved about the Lower Zambezi was the freedom to go on night game drives.
Night game drives are not allowed in many national parks in Africa, but we love them! They allow guests to have the chance to see some of the nocturnal animals.
Hyenas, porcupines, aardvarks, genets, and pangolins are among some of the creatures you may be able to spot at night. Plus, with night game drives you don’t have to hurry back to your lodge after sunset!
Canoeing: With most lodging options being situated right on the Zambezi River it’s little wonder why canoeing is an option. It’s great to get out on the water without engines running and feeling the thrill of being so close to hippos and crocs!
Walking Safaris: Zambia is one of the best places in Africa to go on a walking safari. Along with Zimbabwe, their guides are among some of the best in Africa.
To get to go on a walking safari in the Lower Zambezi is an incredible experience. We were able to get up close to elephants on foot while also learning about the plants, droppings, and insects that contribute to the eco system.
River Safaris: Sun downer cruises are among my favorite activities to do in Africa. I love being able to have a smooth ride while sipping a gin and tonic listening to the hippos grunt at me. River cruises on the Zambezi are a popular activity to do here.
Fishing: From late August to November, the Tiger fishing on the Zambezi is exceptional, although fish can be caught throughout the year. There is a strict catch and release policy for any fishing in order to minimize our environmental footprint.
Where to stay
Old Mondoro is one of our favorite lodges in Africa. The lodge sits on a lovely point along the Zambezi River that is frequented by animals. It is intimate, basic, and surrounded by wilderness. The concept of Old Mondoro is simplistic. Although it is a permanent camp it embodies the feeling of a bush camp.
Chiawa Camp is Old Mondoro’s sister camp and run by the same family owners. The camp is located about an hour boat ride upstream from Old Mondoro.
Chiawa doesn’t strive away from the luxury. With nine verandas or “tents” the camp is about double the size of Old Mondoro and despite the size, the lodge does not lose its bush feeling.
Each veranda is thoughtfully designed to cater to African luxury. Vintage bathtubs, indoor and outdoor showers, a plethora of comfortable seating, and even internet for those that wish to stay connected on safari. The king-sized beds are draped with mosquito nets and sure to offer guests a good nights sleep.
The main lodge features a second story viewing terrace and a full bar. However, some of the unique features of the camp are two well-placed hides, a swimming pool, and even a fitness center. Chiawa does a tremendous job ensuring that each guest is meticulously cared for and is comfortable.
Another camp that is located far away from the modern world, but still on the banks of the Zambezi is Anabezi on the lower end of the park.
The name comes from the Ana Tree, which can be found all along the property. Anabezi is one of the largest camps in the Lower Zambezi but is easily one of the most luxurious. The camp caters to the modern traveler who still wants to get lost in the Zambian Bush.
There are 12 spacious tents at Anabezi, two main lodges and bars, and two main pools. We were in for a surprise when we stepped into our tent at Anabezi as this is perhaps one of the biggest tents we have stayed in Africa.
Each tent features two twin or double beds, an indoor and outdoor bathroom, indoor and outdoor lounge area, as well as a plunge pool on a raised deck overlooking the Mushika River flood plain.