National Parks

Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia

Liuwa Plain National Park is situated in the western reaches of Zambia and has the distinction of having one of the longest established conservation histories in Africa.

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Everything you need to know about Liuwa Plain National Park

Liuwa Plain National Park is situated in the western reaches of Zambia and has the distinction of having one of the longest established conservation histories throughout the continent. In the late 1800s Lubosi Lewanika, the erstwhile king of Barotseland, declared his tribe the custodians of what is now protected as a reserve. Today, this pristine hinterland is home to a decidedly unique ecosystem that thrives on the sustainable interaction of man with nature. This is in no small part thanks to African Parks who stepped in to manage the park in 2003 and has since put stringent measures in place to curb rampant poaching by collaborating with local communities.

Photo credit: Will Burrard-Lucas

Where is the reserve located?

The 3660 km² park is situated in Zambia’s Western Province, near the border with Angola, towards the west of the verdant Barotse floodplain of the Zambezi River. Although there are no commercial flight services into its borders, there is an airstrip that may be used for private charters with prior approval from African Parks. A road transfer from Lusaka takes around ten hours to Kalabo (the check-in point), while a trip from Shesheke takes around 6 hours.

About the reserve

What type of wildlife will we see?

The sweeping plains of Liuwa offer visitors a glimpse of the very epitome of untamed Zambia, especially once the wet season’s rolling thunderstorms begin their dramatic displays, bruising the sky myriad shades of blue and purple over grassy plains and open pans studded with the occasional lone tree. Besides being home to descendants of the world-famous Lady Liuwa, the sole lioness who survived a brutal poaching pandemic before African Parks stepped it, the park also boasts cheetahs, hyaenas, eland, tsessebe and an astonishing array of birds, both migratory and indigenous. This spellbinding region also provides the backdrop for annual wildebeest migrations that draw travellers from far and wide.

Top experiences to enjoy at Liuwa Plains

If you prefer your African safari adventure to take you right into the action, Liuwa Plains will not disappoint. Follow in the footsteps of a local guide to get to grips with the fauna and flora at grassroots level, view the spectacular waterscapes on a canoeing adventure, try your hand at fishing in season, or take a closer look at the unexpected, delicate beauty of seasonal wildflowers that spring to life when the rainy season arrives – the choice is yours.

When to visit

The best time to visit the park is generally between August to December. In August and October, the region’s vast herds begin their southward trek, and it’s also a lot easier to drive around the park since the terrain is nice and dry. The onset of the rainy season commences in November, with dramatic cloud formations that pre-empt the massive storms and carpets of flowers that burst into bloom around the pans. This is also when the wildebeest migration begins from the plains of Angola. Temperatures are quite comfortable, ranging between 22 and 32°C around noon, which may be a tad warm if you’re from colder climes but are generally seen as mild on the safari circuit. In the leadup to the rains from November onward, the park is very dry, so animals tend to congregate around watering holes, which makes for excellent game viewing.

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