Places to Visit in Zambia | Top 10 Travel Destinations
A landlocked country in southern Africa, Zambia is emerging as a premier travel destination for its stunning, unspoiled landscapes and friendly atmosphere. Some of the best places to visit in Zambia include the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, as well as an array of national parks, landmarks and attractions. From beautiful Kafue National Park to historic sites like Shiwa Ngandu, Zambia offers a diverse range of travel opportunities to complete a vacation in Africa.
No list of places to visit in Zambia is complete without Victoria Falls. This jaw-dropping waterfall on the Zambezi River is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It reaches a height of 355 feet, but its width is perhaps even more impressive, at over a mile long. Though not the tallest or widest waterfall in the world, it is considered to be the world’s biggest sheet of falling water based on combined dimensions. The mist rising from the falls can be seen as far as 30 miles away. There is a range of activities available at Victoria Falls, from relaxed sightseeing on foot to heart-pounding, adrenaline-inducing experiences like white water rafting and bungee jumping. The closest urban center to the waterfall on the Zambia side is the city of Livingstone.
Check In to Ngoma Zanga Lodge, Step Out to Victoria Falls
While Victoria Falls may be the main attraction in the area, it is worth spending some time in Livingstone as well. The city was established in 1905 and named after missionary and explorer David Livingstone. It has a number of museums where you can learn a bit about local history and prehistory. The most notable among them is the Livingstone Museum, which is both the largest and oldest museum in the country. Other popular activities include walking city tours and shopping at the local markets. Livingstone is the jumping-off point not only to visit Victoria Falls but for a variety of adventure sports as well. It has become somewhat of a backpacker mecca, and it has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Check In to aha The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa, Step Out to Livingstone
South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is the most famous safari destination and one of the best places to visit in Zambia, as it boasts among the highest concentrations of wildlife in all of Africa. It slopes down from the high mountains and into the valley of the Luangwa River, which serves as a home to crocodiles and hippos. The park is also one of the very best places to see herds of elephants, giraffes, and buffalo. The ideal time to visit South Luangwa National Park is during the dry season when the area’s wildlife flock to the banks of the river. This also provides a great chance to see predators such as lions and leopards in action! Make sure you sign up for a walking safari, which originated here in the 1950s.
Check In to Croc Valley Camp, Step Out to South Luangwa National Park
Lower Zambezi National Park
Situated along a lower section of the Zambezi River, Lower Zambezi National Park was once the president’s private game reserve. It was declared a national park in 1983, making it the youngest national park in the country. The main draw of the park is its remote location and pristine wilderness. The park encompasses a variety of terrain, including grassland, forest, and floodplain, which supports a fantastic variety of wildlife. You can hop on a safari to see the elephants, zebras, buffaloes, and lions, or go boating and fishing on the Zambezi River. It’s easy to spend several days exploring the park. The most common way to access Lower Zambezi National Park is to fly in from the capital city of Lusaka.
Check In to Royal Zambezi Lodge, Step Out to Lusaka
Shiwa Ngandu Manor House
Shiwa Ngandu is one of the most unique places to visit in the Northern Province of Zambia. It is an English-style country estate with a gorgeous manor in the north of the country. The land was purchased by a young British officer named Stewart Gore-Browne in 1914 when he was struck by the natural beauty of the area, and the grand house was completed in 1932. Visitors can book a stay at the manor and enjoy a range of activities while in Shiwa Ngandu, including hiking, boating, fishing, and visits to archaeological sites. You can even take a horse safari from the estate. Shiwa Ngandu has its own airstrip and is accessible via charter flights from Lusaka, Ndola, and Mfuwe Airport in South Luangwa National Park.
Check In to Protea Hotel Ndola, Step Out to Ndola
Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park is not only the largest national park in the country, but it is the second-biggest park in all of Africa. It covers an area of over 8,600 square miles in central Zambia. To put it in perspective, this is roughly equal in size to the State of Massachusetts in the United States. Rivers and floodplains sustain herds of antelopes, puku, red lechwe, blue wildebeests, and zebras. This provides ample hunting opportunities for the lions that also live inside the park. In the Kafue River – the namesake of the park – there are hippos as well as some of the most massive crocodiles in southern Africa. Kafue National Park was established in 1924 and is accessible by road from both Lusaka and Livingstone.
Check In to Musungwa Safari Lodge, Step Out to Kafue National Park
Lake Kashiba is one of Zambia’s best hidden gems. It is often referred to as a “sunken lake” because the surface level of the water is 30 feet below the floor of the surrounding forest. Another interesting feature of the lake is that, though the surface area is quite small at only 8.6 acres, it has a depth of 330 feet around the sides. The depth of the center of the lake is unknown, which has given rise to legends of a monster. However, the bluish-green water is very welcoming, and the lake is a popular spot for activities like fishing and swimming. Lake Kashiba is about a 40-minute drive from the town of Mpongwe in Copperbelt Province, in the north of the country.
Check In to GCMF Guesthouse Mpongwe, Step Out to Copperbelt Province
Lake Kariba may not be as deep as Lake Kashiba, but it holds the distinction of being the largest man-made reservoir in the world. It was filled between 1958 and 1963 and created by the construction of the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River, which flooded the Kariba Gorge. The lake spans over 139 miles along the border with Zimbabwe, and, in some places, it even reaches up to 25 miles in width. Looking out over the water can feel like you are looking out over the ocean, a rarity in landlocked Zambia. Houseboating is a very popular activity on Lake Kariba, and you are likely to see hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and all manner of birds as you drift along.
Check In to Lake Kariba Inns, Step Out to Lake Kariba
Blue Lagoon National Park
Blue Lagoon National Park is one of the most accessible parks in Zambia, as it is located only 75 miles by road from Lusaka. Not only is it easy to get to, but it is absolutely worth the visit. This relatively undiscovered park was established in 1976, but it was closed to the public by the Ministry of Defense and became a haven for poachers. It reopened in 2003, thanks to successful rehabilitation efforts. Nowadays, Blue Lagoon National Park welcomes visitors and is a stunning place to spend the day, as it is still mainly untouched by development. The best time to come is during the wet season when the vast floodplains fill with water and attract thousands of birds and mammals.
Check In to Neelkanth Sarovar Premiere, Step Out to Lusaka
Located in the south of the country, Lusaka is the capital city of Zambia. It also is the largest city in the country, with a population of about 2 million people. It provides air links to many of Zambia’s major attractions and sits at the junction of all of the major roadways. Though it doesn’t have many museums or cultural landmarks, Lusaka is known for its restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. You can also get a taste of authentic daily life by visiting some of the hustling and bustling markets. Lusaka is serviced by the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, the main point of entry for tourists. Set aside some time to explore the city when you land or before you depart.