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The secret’s finally out on Zambia. Long overshadowed by its more popular neighbours, it’s now getting the attention it deserves. Increasingly viewed as one of Africa’s most authentic safari destinations, it has captivated visitors with its unspoiled landscapes – including 20 national parks and 16 waterfalls – rich wildlife and an abundance of amusements. And simply because we can’t highlight them all, these are the top, cannot miss, once-in-a-lifetime, must-do activities in Zambia.
A walking safari in South Luangwa National Park Picture credit: South Luangwa
Zambia has some of the best terrain for walking safaris, in fact, its where the concept originated. With its game-abundant riverine forests and parks that are easy to navigate, you’re almost guaranteed animal encounters. This type of exploration not only places you right there in the middle of the action, on the same plain as lions, elephants and hippos, it invokes a specific reverence in those fortunate enough to experience it.
The South Luangwa National Park, said to be the walking safari’s birthplace, offers the most compelling walking safaris. An armed guide and scout accompany on your journey – for your safety and to ensure that you get the best encounters and sights – as you’re immersed in the wilderness where your senses are naturally heightened. On a walking safari, you’re placed on the same level as Africa’s wild creatures, to observe the circle of life in full motion without the restrictions or barriers of a vehicle. You also get intimate insight into the inner-workings of these primal eco-systems and the chance to encounter its most formidable members. To have this amazing experience, be sure to consider any of these trusted accommodations that offer walking safaris as part of their service.
A giraffe spotted on walking safari Photo credit: Mfuwe Lodge
The epic leap off the Victoria Falls Bridge Photo credit: Lee Abbamonte
For many, the bungee-jump off Victoria Falls Bridge is one of the most exhilarating ones anywhere in the world. You’re basically falling towards one of the most famed rivers on the continent with an iconic waterfall as your backdrop.
There’s a reason why the Victoria Falls makes the list of our four spectacular places to visit in Zambia. Even before you make your great leap, you get the most breathtakingly panoramic views. The sound of the powerful Falls echoes in your ears as your harnesses are attached before your momentous plunge head-first towards the Zambezi’s Batoka Gorge with its treacherous grade-5 rapids. One of the highest commercial bungee-jumps, it’s not for the faint-hearted but certainly is one of the must-do activities in Zambia for the brave and daring.
A view from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls Photo credit: Roberto De Micheli Photography
A canoe safari down Lower Zambezi National Park Picture credit: Chiawa Camp & Old Mondoro
A canoe adventure down the lower Zambezi is one of the most thrilling activities that Zambia has to offer. This type of safari will take you through the section of the Zambezi that’s bordered by National Parks on both sides. From this vantage, you can sight hippos, zebras, kudu, waterbuck, baboons and elephants and a bask of crocodiles on its banks. An armed river guide will escort you down the most populous channels where opportunities to get close to game abound.
A hot balloon flying over Kafue National Park Photo credit: (Wajahat Mahmood/Flickr)
Kafue National Park, more specifically the Busanga Plains, offers amazing opportunities for the aerial exploration of its landscape. Hot air balloon rides over its vast terrain provide epic views of leafy groves, rugged lagoons, floodplains and, of course, magnificent wildlife. These journeys offer a bird’s eye view of buffalo, red lechwe, puku, lions, elephants and much more, with the slow pace of the balloon giving indulgent sights of these animals in their natural habitat. From the moment you embark on this ride, just before dawn’s early light, to when the serene isolation of floating above mother nature’s unspoiled creations hits you, you’ll have no doubt that Africa’s one of the most magical places on earth.
Swimming on the edge of Victoria Falls Image credit: Joe Pyrek
On the edge of Zambian side of the legendary Victoria Falls lies Devil’s Pool, an infinity pool formed by thousands of years of erosion, which draw thrill-seekers to its waters each year. Adjacent to the renowned Livingstone Island, it offers revellers the chance to swim literally to the edge of the falls in what is one of our 35 African experiences you need to have before you die.
Those who’ve experienced this activity laud its adrenaline pumping effects – there’s nothing quite like swimming on the extremity of an epic waterfall, it’s hefty curtain-like cascade crashing right in front of you as you float ahead with only a protruding rock lip keeping you from falling over the edge.
To get to Devil’s Pool you must take a short swim in the Zambezi from Livingstone Island. Guides will accompany you as you navigate its breadth, to assist you and ensure your safety. Be sure to book with one of these accommodations offering this unforgettable adventure, which forms part of a Livingstone Island Tour.
The thrilling Devil’s Pool experience
Before you make your journey to great Zambia, be sure to check out our in-depth FAQ on all you need to know about travelling in Zambia. It will help you feel that much more prepared for your thrilling journey to where all the must-do activities in Zambia await.
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An enthusiastic globe-trotter born in Mpumalanga, South Africa, Thanda is back in Cape Town after a year of amazing adventures abroad. When not scouring Soundcloud for her next music obsession, she’s plotting a weekend sho’t left or scrambling to keep track of friends who're scattered all over the world.
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