Magnificent waterfalls, vast lakes, rich wetlands, and an abundance of birds and wildlife make Zambia one of the highlights of a trip to Africa. The country attracts nature lovers and thrill seekers alike, and with nineteen wildlife reserves and seven waterfalls, it has many highlights and some of the best safaris in the world.
The wild Zambezi River is perfect for adrenaline rush activities such as world-class river rafting, canoeing safaris, river surfing and fishing.
This Zambia Destination Guide, together with our suggested Zambia tours, highlights some of the exciting tourist attractions you may wish to see and do whilst in Zambia. Also be sure to check out some further travel information on Zambia, or some of the local highlights of other great African holiday destinations such as Tanzania, South Africa, and Swaziland. For more detailed information about things to see and do in specific cities or regions around the country, check out these sites:
Follow the links below or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Zambia:
The Chembe Bird Sanctuary situated 30 km/19miles from Kitwe offers visitors the opportunity to take a walk or a leisurely drive around the lake. Zambia's oldest copper mine can be seen in Luanshya.
The Kafue National Park is positioned right in the middle of the southern half of Zambia. Kafue, which covers all of 22,500 sq km/8687 sq miles, is the world's second largest national park. This park is renowned for its wild beauty, and the Kafue River runs right through the park's centre. Kafue National Park is inhabited by various species of wildlife, especially birds. There are good spots for game fishing in this park. Tourists can sign on for an eight-day walking and driving tour to enjoy all that the park offers. The Mukambi Lodge, the Musungwa Lodges and the New Kalala Camp offer accommodation to tourists all through the year. A few seasonal camps are also available, but food could pose a problem if you sign up for these. During the rainy season, from November to April, there are no guided safaris in the park.
Spanning about 450 sq km/280 miles, the Kasanka National Park is one among Zambia's small parks. Small by Zambia's standards, this park holds within its periphery four rivers and eight lakes, with the beautiful Luwombwa being the largest of them all. Kasanka has swamps and plenty of dense forest area that is home to animals like reedbucks, hyenas, waterbucks, elephants, baboons, warthogs, leopards, jackals, hippos and the rare blue monkey.
Kitwe, Zambia's second largest city, became important due to its copper reserves. Now there are several industries located here. Visitors can spend time at the large shopping centre, the cinema and the theatre in the city. Other places to see are the Mindolo Dam, at a distance of 7 km/4.5 miles, and the Makwera Falls and Lake, which are situated 9 km/5.5miles away from the city. Quite a few mines can be seen in this part of Zambia.
With over 420 species of birds, the Lochinvar National Park attracts many visitors all through the year. The park is located on the southern border of the Kafue Flats, a large floodplain formed by the Kafu River. Lechwe, an antelope species, roams around in large herds on the Kafue Flats. Visitors can stay in a lodge at the park that remains open the year round.
This park is situated along the Zambezi River, 100 km/62 miles downstream from the Victoria Falls. Wildlife like zebras, lions, buffaloes, hippos, elephants and leopards have made their home here along with a wide variety of birds. Tourists are taken on walks and game drives during which they may strike it lucky and see some big cats, including the cheetah. The other activities available here are fishing for tiger fish, bottle-nose fish or bream, canoe safaris and bird watching.
In Lusaka you can visit the Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the Zoo and the Lusaka National Museum. The Kabwata Cultural Village here is committed to the conservation of native arts and crafts. Shows demonstrating traditional dances are held here regularly. In addition to this, the capital has several other attractions like restaurants, cinemas and nightclubs.
The government of Zambia has taken commendable steps towards the conservation of wilderness. A whopping one third of the country is protected as national parks and game reserves. There are nineteen national parks in all, with tourism being popular in eight of them. These parks are Luangwa, Kafue, Sumbu, Kasanka, Lower Zambezi, Sioma Ngwezi, Lochinvar and Mosi-oa-Tunya. Three other parks, Nyika, Isangano and Blue Lagoon, are being promoted for tourism by the Zambia National Tourist Board.
Most of the national parks can be reached by both car and plane. Entry permits are essential for entering the parks and these can be purchased at the parks' main gates. You can go on a safari in some of these parks. For more details contact the Zambia National Tourist Board.
Note: It is advisable to fix rates and dates regarding various tourist activities in advance. You should get in touch with tour operators and fix up an itinerary as per your timing and budget.
Ndola is one of the principal commercial hubs of Zambia. It is situated at a distance of 320 km/137miles away from the capital. Ndola is the gateway to the rest of mineral-rich Zambia. The Copperbelt Museum in town is worth a visit. Just outside town you will find Lake Kashiba and Lake Chilengwa, which are sunken lakes. Bird watching is a popular activity at Lake Kashiba. The Dag Hammerskjold Memorial is near the Zambian border on the Zaire side. This spot is where, during Zaire's Katanga Crisis in 1961, the UN Secretary General Dag Hammerskjold died in a plane crash. Proximity to Zaire makes this a sensitive area, and visitors are advised to exercise due caution here.
The North Luangwa Park is a wonderful example of Africa's magnificent wilderness. The park spans 4636 sq km/1790 sq miles of woodland and has several small rivers running through it. The beautiful Mwaleshi is the most noteworthy among them. Huge herds of buffalo are this park's most popular sightings. You can join tourist groups for walking safaris, to see baboons, elephants, wildcats, pukus, leopards, zebras, hyenas, velvet monkeys and impalas. More than 350 bird species, including the crowned crane, carmine bee-eater, giant eagle owl and the crested leorie thrive in this park.
Antelopes, wild dogs, elephants, lions, buffaloes, zebras, hippos, giraffes and monkeys have made Luangwa Valley their home. Lush green surroundings filled with large trees in full bloom, many species of animals and several species of exotic flowers make Luangwa Valley one of the most popular game reserves the world over. It rains copiously here from November to May. Accommodation is available at lodges in Kapani, Chinzombo, Chichele and Mfuwe the year round. During the dry season you can also stay at Tundwe and a few other catered camps like Tena Kaingo Camp, and Chibembe. A few seasonal camps without catering facilities are your other option. Amenities at these lodges include chalets with luxurious double rooms with private bathrooms, bars, swimming pools and three-course meals.
Lake Tanganyika's sandy shorelines are where three beach resorts functioning throughout the year are located. These resorts are at Nkamba, Ndole and Kasaba bays. A non-catered camp situated in Ndole Bay is also an accommodation option open to tourists. Activities like freshwater big-game fishing, boat rides, sunbathing and swimming keep tourists entertained. Goliath tigerfish, up to a staggering weight of 35kg, the Nile perch and giant catfish, weighing 50kg and more each, are major attractions for fishing enthusiasts.
Guided tours for game watching are also arranged here. Do try the afternoon tea service at the Kasaba Lodge. Quench your thirst at their bar and have fun at their beach barbecues. Similar facilities are available at Nkamba Bay Lodge, with the only difference being that these amenities are restricted to rondavels in the lodge. The spectacular sunsets here are a real treat.
The Victoria Falls are situated on the southernmost periphery of Zambia, where it meets Zimbabwe. These falls are one of the world's greatest sights, with water from the wide Zambezi River dropping 100 m/330 ft into a narrow gorge. These falls have one the world's mightiest torrents, measuring 2.5 km/1.5 mile. The spray from the waterfall is visible from 30 km/20 miles away. The Knife Edge Bridge gives an excellent view of the main falls, the eastern cataract, and the boiling pot. The place where the river drops down the Batoka Gorge is known as the boiling pot.
Victoria Falls Bridge, a railway bridge, is a wonderful view point for a look down the gorge from one side, and a view through the falls from the other side. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is located near here and by Zambian standards this is a small park. Several common wild animals are found in this park. Livingstone, also christened the ‘Tourist Capital of Zambia', is also close by and there is a casino and also many luxury hotels for tourists to relax and rewind at. The Livingstone Museum, where anthropological exhibits and Livingstone memorabilia are housed, is also worth visiting. Another place of interest is the Railway Museum in Livingstone.