Can you point to the country of Zambia on a map? Perhaps not. Unless you’re a safari buff or someone who has a burning desire to know the name and location of every country on earth, it’s highly likely that Zambia doesn’t cross your mind often. But that’s precisely what makes it a special and unique safari destination.
Zambia is about the size of Texas, with approximately 10 million fewer people. Its main claim to fame, from a tourism perspective, is that it borders Zimbabwe and is home to one-half of Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall by volume of water in the world. In more recent years, however, the country’s leadership has expressed a desire to expand tourism.
But don’t be fooled: Zambia is still teeming with wildlife, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. The country’s national parks are not fenced in, which means that Big Five safari animals and many more make regular appearances to towns and camps on the outskirts of cities.
Zambia has become one of the world’s premier destinations to spot leopards, too; South Luangwa National Park has even earned the name “The Valley of the Leopard” for the many sightings that occur here every year. Go on a safari and you’ll find them lounging in trees, prowling through the grasses, or crouching in the tree line.
With any safari, it is the guides who can make or break the adventure. If the animals aren’t out and about during the time when you go, the guides bring the land to life and create an environment that inspires you. Should there ever be any potentially dangerous encounters with animals, the guides diffuse the situation and do their best to keep not only you, but also the animals, safe from harm. No matter if you’re on a walking safari or a game drive, your guides will be able to show you the best of nature.
It is in this respect that Zambia truly shines. This country is renowned for its knowledgeable guides. Some people say that this is because Zambia has a density of wildlife not found in other countries, so the guides grow up closer to the bush than those in other locations. Others say that it’s because Zambia has a stunningly high percentage of family-run lodges and safari operators (instead of commercial entities that occasionally lack the personal touch). Whatever the reason may be, it’s the safari-goers who benefit.
With its less crowded safaris than its more well-known neighbors and its lauded guides, Zambia should be on every safari wanderlist. Safaris often book and fill more than a year in advance, so keep this timeline in mind when considering your next few vacations.
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Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.