At a Glance
Dates: November 16th - November 28th, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £3,495 pp sharing (with a £200 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Tucked away in the quietest corner of Zambia, Liuwa Plains, Lochinvar and the southern reaches of Kafue offer an intimate and wild safari experience like no other.
Zambia boasts some of the largest tracts of true wilderness in Southern Africa, with "hidden gems" around every corner. South Luangwa draws in many tourists, and no wonder given its ability to produce such regular sightings of wild dog, leopard and lion. But, further afield, visitors are taken surprise by the variety of Zambia's safari experiences, from stalking shoebill in Bangweulu to marvelling at the fruit bats feeding in Kasanka. Often left unmentioned, though, is the expansive wilderness of Liuwa Plains. Once made famous by documentary teams tracking wild dogs - which are now largely absent - and the lone lioness, Lady Liuwa, in recent years chatter about Liuwa has gone quiet. However, when combined with the flats of Lochinvar and the world-class game-viewing of Kafue, this area can compete with the best safari destinations in Zambia for authenticity and a true wilderness feel.
On arrival into Livingstone Airport, guests will be met by their Pictus Safaris tour leader and transferred to a lodge just outside town. After a quick pre-tour briefing, guests are welcome to relax in the lodge or, if desired, you may make a beeline for the spectacular Victoria Falls. This stunning waterfall is a true wonder of the natural world, and we highly recommend a visit!
After visiting the falls, dinner is served (not included in the tour price) at the hotel.
Mosi-oa-Tunya & Ngonye
An early morning pick-up today takes the group first to the small reserve of Mosi-oa-Tunya (named after the local name for the Victoria Falls, literally "the smoke that thunders"). Here we are likely to see our first game of the trip, including elephant and giraffe, but the real quarry is the only population of white rhino in Zambia. This small herd is easy to find on foot, and we will set out with a local guide to track them down. The group is habituated and excellent photographic opportunities abound.
From the reserve, we will drive approximately five hours north-west to the little-known Ngonye Falls. These falls are smaller than the Victoria Falls, but by no means less beautiful. The evening will be spent soaking in the beauty of this area before retiring to our tents for some well-earned rest.
Liuwa Plains NP
This morning the group will hike to an island mid-river which afford excellent views of the Ngonye Falls. Thereafter, we will drive on for approximately three hours to the town of Mongu, the gateway to Liuwa Plains National Park. Over rough roads, often not resembling roads at all, we will eventually reach the national park itself and our basic campsite. There may be time for a brief evening game drive tonight but, most likely, we will only have time to marvel at the clear night sky before dinner and heading to our tents for some rest.
Days Four to Five
Liuwa Plains NP
Two full days allow the group to explore the vast open plains of Liuwa. This impressive wilderness gives up its wildlife slowly, but guests should expect to see a wide array of antelope species, including oribi, red lechwe and reedbuck. Our visit is timed to coincide with the beginning of one of the largest migrations in Africa, as thousands of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo descend on the area to graze. This, in turn, attracts predators - lion, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena all occur here at low densities, so keep your eyes peeled!
Leaving Liuwa behind, we will today stop near the town of Mongu, where we will stock up on supplies before heading to Kafue. We will overnight at a basic lakeside campsite.
Breaking camp at dawn, it is a bumpy six-hour drive to the central sector of one of Africa's trendiest destinations - Kafue. A supreme wilderness, the central sector of Kafue is sometimes overlooked in favour of the Busanga Plains but, on its day, is as good as anywhere in Africa for sightings of a range of species. Our afternoon drive today will focus on the rich riverine forest near our campsite, where elephant, lion, leopard and even wild dog are routinely encountered.
Days Eight to Nine
After a morning drive in the central Kafue on day eight, we will head south to the man-made Lake Itezhi-Tezhi. This little-visited part of Kafue is often overlooked, but actually offers great game-viewing and stunning scenery. The lake views can be hard to tear oneself away from, but game drives are a great way to spot lion, leopard and large herds of elephant. Antelope diversity is again very high here, and visitors can expect to see five or six species within a few minutes of one another. This campsite is again basic, but very well-located and a fabulous base for these two nights.
A real birder's paradise, today our destination is Lochinvar National Park. The flats of Lochinvar, reached after a bumpy drive, are the best place in Zambia to see the endemic Kafue Lechwe, a subspecies of the red lechwe. Big game is absent here, but the chance to view large congregations of aquatic birdlife cannot be passed up, nor can the stunning scenery as the Kafue flats stretch out before us as far as the eye can see. Sunsets in particular are magical here as we camp on the edge of the plains.
A full day in Lochinvar grants us fantastic opportunities for birding and enjoying the views of large herds of lechwe grazing on the open plains.
Today the group transfers to a lodge just outside Lusaka.
Guests are today transferred to Lusaka Airport for their homeward flights.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in November 2023, aiming to coincide with the migration of grazers in Liuwa Plains. The tour will run from November 16th to November 28th.
The cost of this trip is £3,495 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. We regret that we must levy a single supplement of £200 pp for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,400 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Livingstone or Lusaka at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.
British nationals do require a visa to enter Zambia. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Zambia will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Zambian entry visa for UK citizens is $50 - these may be obtained online or on arrival into Zambia.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Zambia in November is hot and rainy, with maximum temperatures of around 31 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 18 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
There are no security concerns in any of the areas visited by this tour.