My first visit to this wonderful country was back in 1998 when I travelled together with my parents and some of our friends in our own 4×4 convoy. Back then the roads were terrible, infrastructure basically non-existent and the choice of accommodation very limited. Since then, a lot has changed. It amazes me that in relatively short time, Zambia has become one of the best safari destinations for those who wish to combine an unforgettable safari experience together with a true feeling of a classic safari.
Today there are more and more international flights flying into Lusaka than ever before, with good links to Europe and the USA. Lusaka is now a buzzing city with great restaurants, shops and very good nightlife. Certainly a lot more welcoming and friendly than 10 years ago! The safari camps and lodges also have improved a lot, now offering a wide range of accommodation, from the absolute basic to the very luxurious.
It might come as a surprise for many that Zambia is a major contributor to the safari experiences we take for granted today – the walking Safari. Walking Safaris started in Zambia back in the 1950s and have been the foundation of today’s safari industry. Whenever I join a walking safari, I am reminded of how much one misses whilst being on a vehicle. Being on the ground and learning about the bush really is an amazing experience and widens your horizons as to the fact that Africa has more to offer than the “Big Five”. Even during my two years of living in Zambia, I never got bored of exploring the bush on foot with one of the many brilliant guides. There are so many small things that usually get overlooked when trying to spot a Lion or an Elephant, (and let me tell you, seeing one of them on foot is something far more memorable than a photograph taken from a vehicle. )
I have now been to Zambia nearly every year since my first visit in 1998. I love its variety, from the hot and game rich Luangwa Valley, the open Grass plains of the Kafue to the majestic Victoria Falls. During my many visits I was also lucky enough to experience some of Zambia’s less known attractions. The most memorable would have to be the Fruit Bat migration in the remote Kasanka National Park. Imagine, 8 Million fruit bats migrating from all over central Africa to a small woodland in Zambia. It is a spectacle that boggles the mind. The migration is further enhanced by the fact that the bats leave for their evening meal at a very specific time, around 6pm. So, 8 million Fruit Bats departing at once, darkening the skies above you whilst you sit back with a nice drink or try and get as many photographs as possible! The migration happens every year in November and is one of the many specialist attractions Zambia has to offer.
To list all of the possible destinations in Zambia would exceed the length of this blog, but I hope that you will read this and will want to know more. I will keep you posted! I certainly cannot wait to be back again.