” People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege.” David Livingstone
Situated plum in the middle of the southern part of Africa, midway between the Tropic of Capricorn and the equator, Zambia is one of the up and coming places to visit in Africa for the safari lover.
Its location also results in a country that offers year-round tourism, as it never gets too cool to enjoy early morning excursions, though in the height of summer most people may want to avoid places without air-conditioning!
This oddly shaped country, originally a British colony, is roughly the size of France, but offers a unique game experience to visitors, whether well-travelled or newbies, as well as one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders and UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Wild Wild Zambia
Shaped like a bean, lying on its side, most places of interest to the overseas visitor are found in the western part. These include the Kafue National Park (the world’s second-largest national park); the lower Zambezi National Park; Lake Kariba; the wilderness area of Liuwa Plain National Park and the capital, Lusaka.
Obviously, the jewel in this crown is the Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world (based on its combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres) which is also one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Surrounded by top-notch hotels and lodges, Victoria Falls and the town of Livingstone have become the unofficial “Adrenalin Capital of Africa”! Here you can bungee jump, zip-line across canyons, white river raft, swim to the Devil’s Pool at the very edge of the Falls, or do a helicopter or microlite flight over the Falls. You can also enjoy the area at a quieter pace – village tours, sunset cruises, canoeing or just a walking tour, to view the Falls from different angles.
On land or in water – so much to see and do
Because of its diverse topography and abundance of water, visitors can enjoy several different wildlife experiences over a few different areas. Watching hippos at their own level from a canoe or trying your hand at Tiger fishing on the Zambezi River are once in a lifetime experience only found in Zambia.
Whether exploring Lake Kariba from a houseboat or searching for big cats in Kafue the almost untouched nature of Zambia leaves you with plenty of stories to tell.
Infrastructure is not without the pleasures of a first world country – wifi, cell phone reception, electricity, road infrastructure, and fairly widely spoken English, make it a fantastic destination even for the little less adventurous.
A real Gem
Like many countries in Africa, Zambia has had a rather turbulent political past, having once been under British rule before its independence in 1964.
This was followed by 17 years under a one-party rule, with multiparty democracy only coming into effect in 1991. The economy originally relied heavily on copper mining, which was badly hit in the 60s and 70s by falling international prices and the lack of access to a seaport for export.
However recent years have seen a vast improvement in the economy, with the government promoting agriculture, tourism, gemstone mining, and hydro-power, and the general infrastructure has reflected this.
If wide open spaces, an abundance of wildlife, incredible experiences and once-in-a-lifetime experiences are what you are looking for, Zambia could just be the destination you’ve been searching for…