Zambia is my ultimate country for photographic safaris. Not only are its parks incredible, but it also has the friendliest people that you can hope to meet. It has become increasingly popular as a safari destination over the past 10 years but it retains its classic authenticity and still has a nostalgic safari atmosphere that will appeal to purists.
South Luangwa National Park
The Luangwa Valley which forms part of the Great Rift Valley feeds into the Zambezi from the north. This is a premier wildlife destination with a reputation for its large leopard population, as many as two per square kilometre, and is also home to puku, endemic thornicroft giraffe and Cookson’s zebra. The river follows the wide, meandering course between the high ramparts of the Muchinga Escarpment, flowing into lagoons or wafwas where game tends to congregate during the dry season. During September the mud banks beside the river are colonised by 1000s of carmine bee-eaters which remain in the area for about 3 months. There are large pods of hippos here, and their bathing pools become increasingly congested as the dry season progresses and the water level drops. November brings the first rain. The area is transformed with green, the river level rises and the summer migrant birds flock into the area.
Lower Zambezi National Park
Downstream from Kariba, the Zambezi joins the Kafue River and enters a wide and spectacular valley which has Zambia’s Lower Zambezi on the northern bank and Mana Pools National Park on the southern bank. The woodland here is dominated by albida trees and during the dry season in September and October they draw in large numbers of elephant bulls which can often be seen standing on their hind legs eating the nutritious seed pods of these trees. Lion, wild dog and hippo are also commonly found. Its a great area for photography as well as tiger fishing.
This is one of the wonders of the world. The falls are most impressive when they are in flood at the end of the rainy season (March and April) when up to 550 million litres of water per minute rush over the edge. The massive cascade is 100 metres high and 1,7 kilometres wide, and it creates a massive cloud of spray visible for 30 kilometres. The falls can be photographed from the air, from below in the boiling pot and also from Livingstone Island which is right on the lip of the fall. An interesting option is also to photograph it at night when the full moon creates a spectacular rainbow above the falls.
David Rogers leads photographic workshops to Luangwa in the Emerald Season and also the dry season. For more go to workshops