Liuwa Plain National Park

One of Zambia’s most remote national parks, Liuwa Plain lies west of the upper Zambezi River, close to the border with Angola. It’s made up of vast grasslands with a smattering of pans, dotted here and there with palms and clumps of Kalahari woodland. As with much of northern Zambia, large areas of the park are totally flooded during the rainy season (December to April), and even in the drier winter months it’s difficult to reach and explore. Those who can find a way there will often feel like they have the entire park to themselves. And with its abundant wildlife, panoramic views and genuinely low visitor numbers, Liuwa Plain exudes tranquillity and a sense of total, magical isolation. A cheetah amongst flowers in Liuwa Plain National Park, credit: Africa Geographic

Highlights

Liuwa Plain’s biggest single attraction is its annual blue wildebeest migration. Comprising an estimated 40000 animals or more, it’s the second-largest of its kind in the world. It takes place around November each year as rising water levels force the herds southeast in search of fresh grazing. Liuwa Plain’s birdlife is another major draw, with some of its pans holding water year-round. They attract a surprisingly large variety of species, including marabou and saddle-billed storks, spoonbills, and herons, plus a noteworthy bird rarely found in groups elsewhere – the Slaty egret. Another notable highlight is the hyena population. Estimated at around 600, they take the top spot as Liuwa’s apex predator.

A hyena pup is born ready to rumble and often the stronger pups will force weaker siblings to starve by pushing them away from the mother, credit: Africa Geographic

Practical advice

wild dog kill

The best time to visit Liuwa Plain National Park is in November when the wildebeest migration starts to gather steam. It’s also the last chance to catch the best game viewing before the ensuing rains render the network of dirt tracks impassable. The park is closed to self-drive travellers between December and May, with wet-season access by fly-in safari only. Accommodation is limited to one very luxurious lodge, which operates for most of the year, and a handful of basic seasonal campsites dotted along the wildebeest migration route. Permits (and a map of the park’s 4x4 network) are available from the town of Kalabo, south of the park.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 1

Welcome to Zambia
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 2

Smoke that Thunders

day 3

Wild Kafue
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 4

Puku, lechwe and roan, to name a few

day 5

Tree-climbing lions

day 6

Living Luangwa
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 7

Elephants in reception...?

day 8

A walking safari is a must

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

Popular Zambia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates



You might also like

Zambia in December

December is the start of Zambia’s rainy season – generally cooler than the previous few months, but nevertheless still hot and humid. Expect daytime averages of roughly 30°C and nights down to only around 20°C. Rainstorms can be fierce, with heavy downpours rapidly turning the dirt roads to mud. Camps and lodges without fly-in access close completely and many close anyway due to…

Walking safari in Zambia

For a more active holiday, try a walking safari. Zambia is arguably the best country in Africa for guided game walks and is widely recognised for its enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable field guides. Now widespread throughout Southern Africa’s major parks, the concept was first introduced in the Luangwa Valley, which remains the county’s top walking safari destination.…

Cash and payments in Zambia

The Zambian kwacha The currency in Zambia is the kwacha (K). Official regulations state that all payments within the country must be made in kwacha, but US dollars are widely accepted by many of the larger hotels, lodges and tour operators. Indeed, prices for visas at the border, import taxes, and national park fees are all quoted in US dollars, which confuses the matter even more. If…

Highlights of Zambia

Zambia is perhaps Southern Africa’s best kept secret, although in recent years it’s a secret that’s increasingly being told. For a long time, Botswana and South Africa have been the region’s most popular wildlife and safari destinations, but Zambia is fast emerging as an excellent alternative and indeed, for some experiences, there’s no better place to travel. Zambia has 20…

Medical emergencies in Zambia

Many safari operators include emergency medical insurance in their rates, but this may only cover the immediate situation and exclude further treatment and/or repatriation. In any event, it’s essential to be fully insured, especially if you’re headed into Zambia’s more remote regions. Every travel insurance policy is different so make sure you know how yours operates. Some policies…

Visa requirements for Zambia

Zambia’s visa regulations are fairly complex and change regularly, but broadly speaking there are three main categories. Firstly, those who are exempt from needing a visa at all (South African citizens for example), then those who can purchase a visa on arrival, and finally those nationals who need to apply for and obtain a visa before they travel. North American and most European…

Zambia in February

February in Zambia is much the same as January, with short, fierce afternoon thunderstorms, swollen rivers and washed-out roads. It can be a difficult time to visit in Zambia, unless you’re flying into a specialist lodge that operates throughout the season. These usually offer their best safari deals from January to April and will sometimes have discounts for families and children.…

Packing list for Zambia

The first thing to do when preparing for Zambia is to book an appointment with a local travel clinic and go and speak to a doctor. The internet is full of African health and safety horror stories, but for safari holidays the risks are generally very low and/or easily manageable. If you’re at all concerned, speak to a professional. They’re likely to advise you to get your immunisations…

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2