Zambia - Southern Rift Valley: Wildlife, Waterfalls, and Lakes

2,000+ km long Albertine Rift ends in Northern Zambia, where it meets and transcends into another tapestry of beautiful landscapes.  Zambia's has vast open spaces, plentiful wildlife in its large wilderness areas, and large water bodies, earning the country its moniker "the Real Africa". Little visited Northern & Western parts of the country contains spectacular and diverse landscapes dominated by large lakes, floodplains, rivers, and waterfalls. Widlife in this region is amongst the best including one of the largest national parks in the world (Kafue) as well as unique places such as (Liuwa, Bangweulu, and Kasanka).

Clutch Adventures activities: wildlife viewing, hiking, water sports (diving, snorkeling, kayaking), fishing, birdwatching.

Kafue River the artery of the park

Lakes and Waterfalls of Northern Zambia

The region’s Rift Valley geography is dominated by large lakes (Tanganyika, Mweru, Bangweulu, Mweru-wa-ntipa) and a number of waterfalls (at least 10 major waterfalls). These water features are surrounding by dramatic escarpments, highlands, and lush intact forested landscapes in Zambia. The remoteness and lack of infrastructure has resulted in few tourists visiting the region. The only way to explore this vast region is self-driving by car as many of these attractions are not easily accessible. The trips offer plethora of opportunities for adventure which combine water, wildlife and forest explorations.

Trips: Albertine Rift Adventure

Activities: Natural Attraction, Hiking, Camping, Water Sports, Wildlife Viewing, Birdwatching

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-7 days



Chishimba Falls

Northern Zambia

Chishimba Falls is a magnificent cascade of three waterfalls just about 20-30 min drive from Kasama, the urban center of Northern Zambia. It is one of the biggest waterfalls in the region and exploring this lush area is re-energizing. The falls offer magnificent views of surrounding countryside, and one can explore the thick forest on the falls bank. Camping is possible around the falls to soak in its scenery overnight.

Activities: Natural Attraction, Hiking, Camping

Recommended Length of Stay: 1 day



Chishimba Falls - Upper Rapids
Western Tanzania

Kalambo Falls

Northern Zambia/Southwestern Tanzania

Kalambo Falls are one of the tallest single-drop waterfalls in Africa, and certainly the most spectacular waterfalls I ever visited, located in a dramatic rift landscape covered in miombo woodlands. The splendid creation is a result of the rift dropping to nearby Lake Tanganyika. It is an adventure to get to this area but one can explore this area from two countries (Zambia, Tanzania) without even crossing through the official border post.

Activities: Hiking / Trekking, Water Sports (on nearby Lake Tanganyika), Natural Attraction, Birdwatching

Recommended Stay: 1 day. 3 days with additional activities on Lake Tanganyika

Blog: Great Kalambo Falls!


Busanga Plains - Kafue National Park

Northwestern Zambia

Busanga Plains is without a doubt definitely one of the top wildlife viewing destinations in Africa. Vast open plains in one of the largest national parks in the world are remote and seasonally inaccessible - hence you meet very few other visitors. The plains and the park are huge and the experience of wilderness is powerful - once can drive the full day and still be in the same park.

Open plains also mean wildlife is easy to see: and the plains are teeming with herds of lechwe and other antelopes with several prides of lions always around. Busanga birdlife is prolific and the birds congregate around the water streams and ponds. We enjoy our stay in rustic mobile bushcamps on the edge of the plains, and the trip begins/ends at another camp on Kafue river with excellent fishing and boating.

Activities: Wildlife Viewing, Birdwatching, Fishing, Walking Safari

Recommended Stay: 1 day. 3 days with additional activities on Lake Tanganyika.


Blog: Finally made it here - Busanga Plain


Lions Busanga Plains
Hyena Puppy in Liuwa Plain

Liuwa Plain National Park

Western Zambia

Liuwa Plain is a very special place with wildlife and cultural experience not easily found anywhere else. Having spent working there 2 years, I always love to return. The region's inaccessibility up to recently means that only about 500-1,000 tourists reach the park every year. The park's uniqueness are mainly due to its "endless" grassland plains home to vast herds of migrating wildebeest and zebras. And nowhere else one can see large clans of hyenas so easily as here. Culturally, Liuwa stands out as local people live in the park and have co-existed with wildlife for centuries as its guardians. We will visit these communities whom I got to know well during my work there. Liuwa also has a very picturesque campsites overlooking the plains, which makes for a memorable stay.

Activities: Wildlife Viewing, Birdwatching, Fishing, Walking Safari

Recommended Stay: 2-4 days



Questions? Let's Talk about your Adventure Trip

I’m Juraj, your Adventure Travel expert for Uganda and the broader East & Southern Africa. Over the past two decades, I’ve called both Uganda and Zambia home, dedicating my efforts to conservation and tourism. My explorations have taken me to many corners of this expansive and beautiful region. I seek new and and off-the-beaten-path destinations that captivate adventure enthusiasts. I’m passionate about revealing this corner of Africa in ways that defy the ordinary—a perspective that most people rarely encounter.

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