Zambia-Liuwa Plains Wildebeest Migration
9 night / 10 day (Tented accommodation)
Not much has changed along the banks of the Mighty Zambezi since the great hunter-explorer, Frederick Courtenay Selous wrote in his journal about his travels in this wild and beautiful country, "As I travel up this great vein of water, I feel sure that this must be the lifeblood of Southern Africa and its most powerful water mass."
Our route takes us from Katima Mulilo in Namibia, where we catch our first glimpse of the Mighty Zambezi, and back again. Following the course of the Zambezi past the Sioma Falls we cross the Barotse Floodplains and on through the town of Kalabo in Western Zambia. From Kalabo, we enter the Liuwa Plains National Park where we will encounter the second biggest wildebeest migration in Africa. At times, wildebeest and their calves can be seen in their hundreds, followed by the predators that stalk them.
Though this off-road safari will be "tough going" at times and will put your sense of adventure to the test, the rewards will far outweigh the hardships you might encounter.
Your tour leader, is an experienced nature conservationist and adventure guide. He will be in radio contact with you at all times and impart a wealth of biological, cultural, historic and four-wheel drive knowledge.
Three meals a day will be prepared by our experienced bush chef in his mobile kitchen, with fresh salads, potjiekos, braais and many other surprises appearing on the menu. The good old "koffie pot" will be on the fire from six till late.
Our logistics crew will pitch and take down the camps at all the overnight stops we visit. Tents and tables are supplied by Bhejane Adventures.
The route we will be negotiating will be tough at times, our tours are however never designed to be "vehicle breakers", and should you experience any difficulty, the Bhejane crew do have the "know how" and revcovery equipment to assist with off-road problems. Though our bush-camps will be rustic and interesting, you will at all times be safe, the crew will spare no effort to make you comfortable, provide you with good wholesome food and, most importantly, see that you have a good time.
We meet at Namwi Island Camp in eastern Caprivi, on the banks of the Zamezi River, near the Namibian town of Katima Mulilo.
By the time you arrive, your tents would have been pitched and our bush chef will be preparing the first of the culinary delights you will be enjoying on this safari. The evening will be spent socialising around the fire and getting to know each other as the sun sets over the Zambezi River, with the sound of hippos snorting and grunting in the background. During the course of the evening, the Bhejane guide will elaborate on the adventure that lies ahead.
Making an early start after a hearty breakfast, and after you have all been issued with two-way hand held radios, we take to the road and leave for Katima Mulilo. After refuelling our vehicles in Katima we cross the border into Zambia. As the border post procedures here can take a while, we will only be travelling a further 115 kilometers to our next overnight stop at Kabula Lodge campsite. Situated on the banks of the Zambezi, the lodge boasts good clean facilities and, once again, the crew will have set up camp and the pots will be on the fire when we arrive.
Today our adventure begins in earnest as we make our way north on the Zambian gravel roads that have not seen a grader in many years. We experience our first ferry crossing as we move the convoy onto the eastern bank of the mighty Zambezi. We go via the town of Senanga and then have the unique feeling of traveling on a magnificent tar road for about 110 kilometers to the town of Mongu. Our camp for the night has wonderful facilities and is based at a South African run mission station.
Today we see the last of civilization for a while as we head into Mongu to shop and refuel - believe it or not the town has a very well stocked Shoprite. With all refills done we move west onto the 50 kilometer wide flood plain of the Zambezi. In the late summer months this area is completely under water. En route we pass the winter residence of the Lodzi King and see his Royal Canoes that are part of the colourful Kambuka Ceremony when the king paddles from his winter home to drier land for summer. We cross the mighty river again via ferry and then make our way to the town of Kulabo.
Whilst in Kulabo there will be a few formalities to sort out at the Migration Office regarding passport checks and permits to enter the Liuwa Plains National Park.
Heading north we make a ferry crossing of the Luwangina River into the southern plains of the Liuwa National Park where, as we head deeper into the park, we will encounter our first herds of wildebeest.
Our accommodation for the next three days is, once again, a rustic bush camp in the great outdoors. Our camp has cold water showers and flush toilets.
Days 5 & 6:
After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, we make our way into the endless expanse of the park. We break our convoy into smaller groups to facilitate better game viewing.
We spend our two-and-a-half days in Liuwa Plains enjoying all that the park has to offer, panoramic landscapes, wildebeest in their thousands and, with luck, the predators that prey on them. In recent years the lion, hyena and wild dog populations have increased, the result of a wonderful conservation success story.
For the birders there are large groups of crowned and wattled cranes and numerous secretary birds and a host of new lifers.
Sadly. today we have to say goodbye to the Liuwa Plains National Park after a morning game drive. We retrace our steps back, via the ferry, to Kulabo and on to Mongu. Our campsite is once again the cosy and comfortable mission station where a hot shower is well deserved.
Today our goal is to reach the Kabula Lodge campsite early enough for all of us to visit a great well-kept secret of the Zambezi river, The Ngonya Waterfall, that is not as big as the Victoria Falls but wilder and a thousand times less commercialised. We spend our last night in Zambia at the Kabula Lodge Campsite feeling slightly apprehensive about our return to civilisation.
Retracing our steps via Katima Mulilo we make our way back to Namwi Island Camp. We spend our last night around the campfire enjoying the unique bond of friendship that can only be made by fellow travellers who, together, have experienced the magic of the African Bush.
After a lavish breakfast, we must sadly say goodbye to our new friends and travel companions as we pack up and head for home.