Zambia’s charms are many and varied – this landlocked southern African country is home not only to Victoria Falls on the border with Zimbabwe, but also has even more seriously impressive natural sights. Prepare to be amazed with our pick of the best.
When explorer David Livingstone saw Victoria Falls for the first time, he uttered the words “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. More than a hundred years later, the falls are still as breathtaking whether you view the rainbow from the Knife Edge Bridge, from above with a microflight or helicopter, or down below at the foot of this impressive site.
Shiwa Ng’andu Manor
Overlooking granite hills that form the tail end of the Great Rift Valley in Muchinga Province is a manor house called Shiwa Ng’andu, which was built by an English soldier called Sir Stewart Gore Browne over a hundred years ago. Enjoy gorgeous views of Lake Shiwa Ng’andu after hiking up the Nachipala Bareback Hill or relax in the nearby (approximately 19km (12 miles) from the estate) Kapishya natural hot spring, which is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and raffia palms. Some 10km (6 miles) from the hot spring are the Chusa waterfalls, where water rafting can be done. One of the most beautiful times to visit the estate is late September when the leaves of the brachystegia trees turn from a burgundy colour to yellow, then green as the dry season approaches.
For many years, the approximately 2,000km (1,242 miles) of Lake Kariba’s shoreline have provided a weekend getaway from Zambia’s capital city Lusaka, which is a less than two hour drive (approximately 100km (61 miles)). One of the best ways to soak in the sun and enjoy the spectacular sunrise and sunsets is on a houseboat, of which there are various options available for hire.
The Lake Kashiba sunken lakes are one of Zambia‘s most unusual lakes. Created by limestone erosion which led to small holes being filled with water, the lakes are located in Mpongwe which is a town in Ndola, Copperbelt Province. The water is so clear that you can see fish swimming. The beauty of the lake is further accentuated by the blueish hue of the water, giving it the visual impression of a gigantic natural swimming pool, with no visible river entering or leaving it. It is said to be approximately 100 meters (330 feet) deep, although this has yet to be verified. There are many local myths surrounding the lake, such as the presence of a monster called ‘Ichitapa’ or ‘lsoka lkulu’.
While most people go to Livingstone to see the Victoria Falls, the small private island of Sindabezi is also worth a trip. Enjoy views of the Zambezi floodplains and the nearby Mosi O Tunya National park, and have meals on a raised floating platform in the middle of the river. The beauty of Sindabezi is in its remoteness, as it’s only accessible by boat.
Blue Lagoon National Park
During the rainy season (November to April), the Kafue plains transform into a water wonderland fringed with acacia woodland, turning the Blue Lagoon National Park one of the most beautiful places in Zambia. The fact that it is not as visited as Zambia’s more famous national parks (South Luangwa, Kafue, South Luangwa, etc) means visitors will have a peaceful and quiet time bird watching (Blue Lagoon arguably has the most diverse species of birdlife in Zambia) . The Kafue lechwe, a type of aquatic water antelope, is found in abundance at the Blue Lagoon National Park. The park is a short drive (approximately 120km (75 miles)) from Lusaka. Park fees are USD$10 per person per day.
Lake Bangweulu in Luapula Province (Northern Zambia) literally translates to ‘The Place Where the Water Meets the Sky.’ The grey blue waters disappear into the horizon, blending in completely with the color of the sky, making for an amazing sight. Samfya Beach is located on the south western shore of the lake and is one of the few white sandy beaches in the country, making it worth the long drive from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city (approximately 700km (435 miles)). There are several lodges on the waterfront.
Nyika Plateau National Park
At the eastern most tip of Zambia lies the Nyika Plateau National Park, which is one of the highest points in the country. The views from the plateau are stunning; undulating grasslands with valleys, slopes with masses of wild flowers, rolling green hills, rocky outcrops and small, tropical forests nestled in the valleys. Elephants, zebra and the red duicker are a few animals that can be seen in the park, although most of the surface area of the park is in neighboring Malawi. The only point of entry into the park is from the Malawian side, which also has the only accommodation.