Liuwa Plain made The New York Time “Top 52 Places to Visit” in 2018; Time Magazine’s “2018 100 Greatest Places”; and Travel & Leisure’s 2018 “It List”.
Liuwa Plain hosts the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa - but without the crowds -s o you can enjoy this spectacle in an intimate and jaw-dropping setting.
Liuwa was home to the famous Lady Liuwa – a famous lioness who was the sole survivor after all of the lions had been poached out. Today, due to our reintroduction efforts, she has left behind a small but growing pride of lions after her passing in 2017.
Liuwa’s wildlife diversity is stunning. Along with the spectacular wildebeest migration, there are cheetahs, hyaenas, lions, eland, tsessebe and an incredible array of birds including the wattled crane.
Experience the historic and epic Kuomboka festival when the plains are flooded, where the King and his procession move to higher grounds by boat along the river.
The weather is cooler from May to July, warmer from August to October and the rains typically occur from November to April.
The seasons are as follows:
Short dry season (May - July)
This is the period when the park is dry and accessible. The temperature ranges between 9 to 15 degrees Celsius. It can be windy and cloudy during this time. Early burning is also practised during this period. When the water recedes, a variety of birds feast on fish in shallow dams and streams dry up. Large flocks of cranes are abundant inside the park, making this the best time to photograph birdlife. Any lechwe that are still inside the park start to go down to the wetlands. Large herds of wildebeests congregate outside the park in the Luola to Mushukula areas.
Long wet season (January - April)
During this time, the temperatures range between 15 to 22 degrees Celsius. The plain is flooded, forcing most people to move to higher land and the famous Kuomboka ceremony takes place. At the peak of the floods inside the park the area experiences flash floods and thunderstorms. Wildebeest and zebra start leaving the park along the Luanginga river to the west and lechwe enter the park from the Luanginga river wetlands and congregate at the centre of the park, especially around the palm tree areas south of Matiamanene. Bird life begins to flourish in every part of the park.
Long dry season (August – October)
Temperatures range between 22 to 32 degrees Celsius during this time and the first rains typically start mid or late October, depending on the conditions of that particular year. Bird life is still abundant although most populations can be seen at the large fishing pools dotted around the plains of Liuwa. Vegetation dries up and trees drop their leaves and most pools in the park dry up. A large number of wildebeest return to the park through the northern corridor, while a concentration of the wildlife population is restricted to the north. Towards the end of the season, trees start blossoming and the colour of the vegetation starts changing from dry to green.
Short wet season (November – December)
This is the start of the rainy season. The area starts experiencing more cloud cover, thunderstorms and lightening. A variety of flowering plants and green grass covers the park and the spectacular wildebeest movement occurs. Wildebeest start having calves and accompany large herds inside the park. The best predator action occurs during this time as hyeanas prey on young wildebeest calves and vultures rush to the leftover carcasses.
Zambia is a high malaria area, although no serious incidents have occurred with visitors to Liuwa. We recommend taking anti-malaria medications. Doctors advise taking prophylactics two weeks before arrival and continuing two weeks after leaving. Your doctor can advise you of the most suitable drug available. Bear in mind that Malaria is a much higher risk during or just after the rainy season.
Liuwa has no history of tsetse flies, although they can be found in other parks like Kafue National Park when driving through to Mongu. Precaution should be exercised, as prevention is better than cure.
Guests should bring their own drinking water to the park, but water for washing will be provided. Bottled water is for sale at reception.
English is the official language in Zambia and is widely spoken throughout the country. The local language Lozi is spoken in the Western Province of Zambia, where Liuwa Plain National Park is located.
When visiting Zambia, most nationalities can easily obtain a 30-day tourist visa when arriving at the airport in Lusaka, Livingstone or Ndola. A tourist visa will cost US$50. Most citizens of African countries, however are exempted from visa requirements to enter Zambia. The local currency is the Zambian Kwacha. There are multiple exchange bureaus and ATMs available in Lusaka where one can easily change euros or US dollars.
Zambians are very friendly and helpful. As far as personal safety is concerned, one can drive alone throughout the country including Liuwa without any problem. However, precaution should be taken as theft is possible in the bigger towns and cities. Petty theft is as common as in any major city. Be very aware when walking around, especially if you are carrying anything of value as there have been incidents of pickpockets. Never leave your vehicle unlocked and don't change money on the streets. This is less of a problem in the rural areas like Kalabo and Liuwa.
From Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, get onto the Lumumba Road in the industrial area. At a set of traffic lights, look for a sign to Mongu and take Mumwa Road (M9). Stay on this road for roughly 620 km, passing turnoffs to Mumbwa and Kaoma. You will also pass through Kafue National Park. The only places to get fuel once you leave Lusaka are Kaoma and then Mongu.
Once in Mongu stay on the same road unless you need supplies. The road goes into the heart of Mongu where you get to a roundabout. At this roundabout, go straight, passing the government buildings on your right-hand side. You will come to a T-junction, at which point you will turn left and head down to the harbour. Turn right and follow the route for roughly one hour until you get to the Zambezi River. After crossing the river, drive straight for another hour. You will find a T-junction, turn right and go through Kalabo until the harbour. Liuwa’s old headquarters and visitor centre are at the harbour on your left. At the harbour, you will find a ferry operated by the local council to take your vehicle across Luanginga River. After crossing the river, you will only have to drive 12km to reach the new park headquarters and reception.
For those who prefer not to drive, Liuwa Plain National Park has its own airstrip inside the park, but does not offer any commercial flight services. Permission for landing should be requested in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
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