National Parks

Bangweulu Wetlands in Zambia

In northeastern Zambia you will find Bangweulu, one of the most undiscovered wetlands in Africa.

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Everything you need to know about Bangweulu Wetlands

In northeastern Zambia you will find Bangweulu, one of the most undiscovered wetlands in Africa. Community owned and managed by African Parks, Africa’s leading conservation NGO, this destination is seldomly explored for the mere reason that it is remote and relatively inaccessible to the masses – which is exactly what we love about it. Home to the rare and prehistoric-looking shoebill bird, this region’s flora and fauna is diverse and untamed. With over 433 bird species in the sky and rare red lechwe on the ground, you will have more than enough to marvel at on a journey to Bangweulu. Locally referred to as ‘the place where the water meets the sky’ Bangweulu consists of six thousand square kilometres of swamps, lakes and rivers that are the source on which the abundance of life thrives.

Photo credit | African Parks

About the reserve

Conservation

The region’s remoteness is both a blessing and a curse. Limited access means its resisted the damaging effects of commercial tourism. Unfortunately, it’s also made policing the area an incredible challenge. Poaching and unsustainable fishing practices have taken their toll on the region, decimating the populations of larger mammals, fish species and antelope. But 2008 saw a turning point in the its history and prosperity.

African Parks took over management of Bangweulu in 2008 and the success of their conservation efforts in the park is evident not only in the growth of wildlife in the park but also in the growth of the community. Animals such as the endemic black lechwe has grown from a population of 30,000 to 50,000 in the past 8 years. This water-loving antelope was previously on the verge of being extinct. Strict law enforcement, co-governance and community-driven conservation have seen its numbers swell and herds of tens of thousands can once again be seen roaming the plains.

When to visit

The region’s dry and wet seasons determine when is best for you to visit. During the wet season, from February to April, large parts of the region are accessible only by boat, but the birdlife is exquisite. May to July sees the Bangweulu Wetlands begin to dry up with much cooler temperatures. Wildlife sightings during this time are good. The region’s real dry season is from August to December. All of the region’s camps are open during this time and game viewing is at its best. It’s also the best time to see shoebill nests.

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