Visit Kasanka National Park Zambia – Kasana safaris and tours
Visit Kasanka national park – Being part of the Congo Basin, the area ecologically is in between the dryer well-known safari destinations in eastern and southern Africa and the rainforests of central Africa. There is an enormous diversity in habitats, including rainforest, papyrus swamp, wet grassland, plains, forested rivers and miombo woodland. Puku occur in big numbers and the park has the densest and most visible population of Sitatunga. Elephant, sable, hartebeest, black lechwe and a wide range of other mammals are often seen as well in smaller numbers.
Birds of kasanka national park
With 440 species observed so far, the park is a prime birding destination. Frequently observed species include Wattled Crane, Pel’s fishing owl, African Finfoot, Ross’s and Schalow’s Turaco, Anchieta’s Sunbird and Bohms Bee-eater. Activities take place on canoe, motorboat, on foot, by vehicle or by bicycle!
Wildlife of kasanka national park
Kasanka is famous for seeing the rare African wetland antelope the Sitatunga antelope and other animals in abudunce include the hippos but rarely you can buffallos, leopard, lions, listernstein’s heartbeast, sable, puku, giraffe, zebra, wilder beast and hyena.
The Chisamba Wamponde pan attracts large herds of puku, spur winged goose and saddle-bill storks, and hosts many hippos and waterbuck. Duiker are often seen in the woodlands fringing the pan. Lake Ndolwa is a beautiful and secluded spot where the shy shoebill stork has been seen in the papyrus reeds flanking the lake. Chikufwe Plain is particularly rewarding in the early hours of the morning during the dry season. The plain is the favourite haunt of the sable and also attracts large numbers of hartebeest, reedbuck and occasionally a few zebra and buffalo. This is an excellent birdwatching site too, especially for raptors such as the black-breasted snake eagle.
Best time to visit kasanka national park.
Kasanka is open all year round. Birding is especially good in the wet season from November to March when migrants arrive from the north. Game viewing is best in the dry months from May to October.
How to get to kasanka national park.
Take the Great North Road from Lusaka, turn right just after Kapiri Mposhi and left after Serenje on the road to Samfya. Turn left at the 54km mark into the Park at the Malaushi gate.
Where to stay in kasanka national park
Situated on the south-western edge of Lake Bangweulu, and with a surface area of 450 square kilometres, is one of Zambia’s smallest national parks – the Kasanka National Park. Run by the Kasanka Trust charity in partnership with the local community – this park is the only privately managed park in Zambia.
Brimming with awe-inspiring rivers, vast lakes, beautiful miombo woodlands, swamp forests, wetlands, dambos, lagoons and meadows, this picturesque park is able to support a unique and wide variety of fauna and flora. One rare species commonly found here is the sitatunga antelope, but in actual fact – the park’s biggest wildlife attraction is the annual fruit-bat migration; the largest mammal migration on Earth!
Since Kasanka National Park is one of Zambia’s lesser-known parks, accommodation options are somewhat limited, but you can still choose between options such as the luxurious Wasa Lodge, the comfortable Luwombwa Lodge or the adventurous Shoebill Camp.
Please note that “Rates From” could be fully inclusive (may include activities such as game drives and walking trails for example) on some listings and not on others. Contact the establishment you are interested in for specific rates.
Things to do when you visit kasanka national park
Game watching from fibwe hides
The tree hide at ‘Fibwe’ is generally rated as Africa’s best vantage point for observing Sitatunga antelopes. Perched 18 meters high in a ‘Mululu’ African Mahogany tree, it gives a panoramic view over the Kapabi swamp. Visitors often see more than 20 sitatunga in a single visit and the record is 94! Occasionally Crocodile, Bushbuck, Waterbuck Buffalo and Elephant can also be seen from the platform. Many species of birds, including Coucals, Mousebirds, Bohm’s bee-eaters, Ross’s and Schalow’s Louries are seen here.
Canoeing on the Luwombwa River
Canoes and motorboats can be hired with guides for some spectacular bird watching, fishing and wildlife viewing. Regular sightings include Monitor Lizards, Crocodiles, Otters, Vervet Monkeys and the rare Blue Monkey. Varied species of raptors, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Herons and Sunbirds abound along the river to name but a few.
The river offers some excellent angling (under special permits). The fierce Tigerfish, several Tilapia species and ‘Barbal’ catfish are likely catches. The lodge staff will willingly cook the catch!
Fruit bats kasanka
Visit Kasanka national park – They hosts a unique wildlife spectacle every November and December when Millions of Straw-coloured Fruitbats assemble from around Central Africa to roost in an area of ‘Mushitu’ swamp forest near the confluence of the Musola and Kasanka Rivers.
At twilight bats fill the sky in all directions for twenty solid minutes as they leave their roost site to feed though the night on abundant seasonal fruit of the “miombo” woodlands.This event is one of Africa’s most amazing and unusual wildlife spectacles – never forgotten by those lucky enough to witness it.
Visitors can also take guided walks through the forest in the day time to view the bats as they chatter, fly and crawl about their roost. This bat migration has been the subject of intense interest from scientists who are trying to find the reason why so many colonies all assemble in this one corner of Zambia. They report that it is the largest aggregation of mammals in Africa, and probably the most concentrated in the world. Preliminary research has also found many other interesting species of bat in Kasanka, and we plan to run some specialist bat tours during November and December for enthusiasts.
Game drives are always a popular way to see the park and usually reveal a variety of wildlife. Although you miss some of the smaller things when driving, you can get closer to animals this way than you would on foot.
A typical drive in Kasanka will involve stops along the way at interesting spots where you can get out of the car and walk around. Drives are conducted by guides and are arranged according to the requirements of each group rather than at set times and programs.
Drives can also be arranged at night to look for nocturnal animals by spotlight.
Visitors arriving in their own 4×4 vehicles can drive themselves around but there are some restrictions for safety reasons.
Getting out on foot is perhaps the best way to appreciate all aspects of a wilderness like Kasanka. It gives you a chance to see the small things as well the more obvious! Follow a Honey Guide to a Bee’s nest or track an Elephant along its spore. Walks can be arranged from 1 hour to 5 days!
Walking trails of several days are a specialty of Kasanka as the terrain and vegetation make for easy walking. The park has many different habitats in its relatively small area so walks are always passing through changing scenery. Walkers are accompanied by an armed scout for safety and also to glean local knowledge. You just carry what they need for the day with other luggage taken ahead separately. A temporary camp is set up ahead so that food and shelter are reached at the end of each day.
One day of the trail is usually spent drifting down the Luwombwa River by canoe. One or 2 nights may be spent at the lodges, but otherwise simple tented camps will be set up each night in remote corners of the park. The scouts always carry a radio for contact with HQ in case of any urgency.
Due to the relative scarcity of dangerous animals it is possible for visitors to explore the park by bicycle using the network of roads and paths that cover most of the park. We plan to obtain some mountain bikes in the near future to be available for visitors to hire or for organised bicycle safaris around Kasanka and beyond. However visitors must be escorted by a guide or scout when walking or bicycling.