“The Greatness of a Nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals”.
Speaking and creating a community can be a powerful thing. In fact nations were built on that very notion. Here I speak to a good friend and seasoned safari guide Paul Danckwerts. He grew up on a farm in the Southern reaches of Zambia. We share a vision of eco tourism saving the last remaining wild places and the animals that call them home.Sharing his story we know you will be inspired to not only join us on our quest but also leave with a little bit more knowledge from first hand experience in this wonderful country and frankly a hidden gem in Southern Africas wildlife.
I was raised in southern Zambia and I am blessed to have spent the majority of my life in this magical country. The rhythm of its people and the raw beauty of its wild areas inspired me to take up a career as a guide and game ranger. I return regularly to it’s National Parks and rivers because that is where I feel most at peace and it brings me great joy to know that Zambias wildlife prospects are on the rise.
Zambia might be off the beaten safari track but it is accessible and wildly rewarding if you’re prepared to go the extra distance. Whether you choose to fly into your destination or drive in yourself, the choice is yours. The national roads are tarred and in good condition for the most part. Lusaka is a bustling metropolis and is the only place I would avoid driving through if you can. The traffic in Lusaka, as in most cities, can be bad so know your route or hire someone to guide you through the chaos. When driving through smaller towns keep an eye on pedestrians and obey the speed limit.
If police are encountered they’re usually thorough with their vehicle and license checks. Make sure you stop before the stop sign and be polite. The same rules that apply to most cities apply to Zambia as well. Feel free to explore during the day but don’t walk around alone at night. On the whole Zambians are a friendly people that are always happy to help and they’re not afraid to bargain.
October is the hottest month and afternoon thunderstorms are common place between November to February. The national parks are not always accessible during the wet season. April to August would be a good time to go as there is usually more activity around waterholes but dress warmly! During peak winter it can get below freezing.
Zambia’s flagship game reserves include The Luangwa National Park, The Lower Zambezi National Park and the largest of the three, the Kafue National Park. Peter de Vere Moss in his guide to the Kafue National Park puts it best by describing it as “an unspoiled wilderness with an outstanding variety of wildlife, it embraces a rich blend of woodlands, grasslands and aquatic environments in an extravagant celebration of complexity of shapes, colors, adaptations and interrelationships.”
It is my favorite because I grew up making regular trips to the Kafue. If you’re looking for uncharted territory then this is the one for you. The Kafue National park boasts 160 species of mammals and more antelope species than any other park in Africa. This includes the rare and exquisite Sable antelope and Yellow-backed duiker. The park is also home to nearly 500 species of birds, making it a priority destination for enthusiastic birders. Whatever your choice though, you simply can’t go wrong!
Visa costs and permit rates tend to change from time to time but CM travels have their fingers on the pulse of the Southern African immigration scene. They will take care of any visa or permit requirements likely to be encountered on your trip and provide you with excellent travel tips. Whatever your destination, they will find the most convenient and comfortable travel arrangements to suite your needs and ensure that you get the very best itinerary that Zambia can offer.
Keen to see more about safaris in Zambia?
Featuring some of Pauls photographic skills while he has been guiding in South Africa. Find all the info you need below the images.
Canon 7D Mark II | 70- 200mm f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/500
Canon 7D Mark II | 70- 200mm f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/50