Sports and the Outdoors
Kafue National Park. Kafue is Zambia's oldest and largest national park, covering a massive 2,240,000 hectares (about the size of Wales in the United Kingdom), which also makes it one of the largest parks in Africa and, for that matter, the world. Thanks to its size, variety of ecosystems, and the sustenance provided by the beautiful Kafue River, this park is absolutely teeming with game, from the popular heavyweights like lions, elephants, and leopards to one of Africa's largest wild dog populations—right through to rare species such as lechwe and yellow-backed duiker and more than 400 types of bird. The park is an easy two-hour drive from Livingstone. Despite all its highlights, the park remains largely wild and unexplored, particularly the northern reaches. But this may be the park's number one draw. There are a handful of first-rate campsites and luxury lodges dotted in and around the edges of the park, almost all of which offer typically Zambian attention to detail in terms of service and providing the real bush experience. About 175 km (110 miles) from Livingstone via the T1, Livingstone, Southern. 27/21–712–9875; www.zambiatourism.com.
Lower Zambezi National Park. Lower Zambezi National Park may not be Zambia's biggest or best-known national park, but these are two of the main reasons it's so worth a visit. The whole park retains a unique feeling of untouched African wildernness, and you certainly wouldn't think you were just a few hours from the urban hubs of Livingstone and Lusaka. When on game drives or guided bush walks through the park, you can go for hours without seeing another car, but the density of big game is astonishing. The vegetation and landscapes are spectacularly diverse, too, ranging from rugged, forested mountain escarpments to wide-open plains punctuated only by the occasional lonely baobab or palm tree. All six of the park's luxury and secluded camps are along the lush banks of the mighty Zambezi river, which serves as the natural southern border to the park as well as between Zambia and Zimbabwe's Mana Pools on the other side of the river. Lower Zambezi is a particularly special place for canoeing safaris and boat cruises, and is also a favorite with fishing aficionados. The quickest and easiest way to get to the park is to fly from Livingstone to Lusaka and then take a short chartered flight to Royal Airstrip within the park. Lusaka, Lusaka. 27/21–712–9875; www.zambiatourism.com.