Zambia’s National Parks

Zambia has a 20 National Parks which are looked after by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts.

These range in size from the massive Kafue National Park, to the tiny Lusaka National Park – each one having a variety of different species of wildlife and birdlife, which live in totally diverse habitats.

Surrounding many of the Parks are areas called Game Management Areas (GMAs).   They are buffer zones for the Parks are large areas where people and wildlife co-exist.

These 20 National Parks and 34 GMAs amount to almost a third of the Country’s total land area – approximately 225,000 sq km.  This is the second largest proportion of land under protected status in Southern Africa.

Some of the Parks have better infrastructure and tourism facilities than others.  The more popular ones all have private lodges and/or campsites which are open to visitors – the more remote and smaller Parks do not have any facilities, so check before you travel.

Most Popular

Kafue National Park – 5th largest Park in Africa
Kasanka National Park – famous for its spectacular annual bat migration
Liuwa Plains National Park – home to vast herds of migrating Blue Wildebeest
Lower Zambezi National Park – popular for canoeing, boating and fishing on the Zambezi
Lusaka National Park – easily accessible for day visitors, just outside the Capital
Mosi-ou-Tunya National Park – home of the amazing Mosi-au-Tunya Falls
North Luangwa National Park – dramatic scenery, boarded by the scenic Muchinga Escarpment
Nsumbu National Park – lying on the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika
South Luangwa National Park – home of the Walking Safari and Zambia’s most popular Park

Lesser Known

Blue Lagoon National Park – a vast wetlands, home to the indigenous Kafue Lechwe
Isangano National Park – part of the seasonally flooded Bangweulu wetlands
Lavushi Manda National Park – dramatic mountain range, perfect for hiking
Lochinvar National Park – situated on the Kafue Flats, with over 420 bird species
Luambe National Park – pristine woodlands lying in the heart of the Luangwa Valley
Lukusizi National Park – remote, for the self-sufficient adventurous traveller
Lusenga Plains National Park – scenic with no tourism facilities
Mweru Mwantipa National Park – Zambia’s oldest protected area
Nyika National Park – beautiful highland plateau, bordering Malawi
Sioma Ngwezi National Park – Kalahari sands and excellent Tiger fishing on the Zambezi
West Lunga National Park – rich in birdlife and endemic forests

For news and regular updates on our most visited National Parks and National Heritage sites check out – here you will find more detailed information about the most popular National Parks and you can discover what is happening around the Country in their monthly newsletter which includes stories and stunning wildlife photographs taken by lodges and Park Visitors

Guideline to Park Rules and Regulations

Entry into a Park is by permit and is at owner’s risk
All visitors are required to register at the entry/exit gates
Firearms must be declared at all points of entry and exits

Maximum Speed Limit is 40 km/ph
Off road driving is strictly prohibited
Sitting on vehicle tops/roof racks or trailers during game viewing is prohibited
Use of saloon vehicles is prohibited in some Parks – it is advisable to use a 4×4 when driving on the smaller roads

Walking is only permitted if you are accompanied by a Escort Wildlife Police Officer
Littering in the Park is strictly prohibited
Feeding and molesting animals is prohibited
Removal or disfiguring of any natural feature is prohibited
You may braai at designated braai stands and only light fires at authorised camp sites
Visitors should only camp at designated camp sites and stay at lodges

A day means the period from 06.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs (6am – 6pm)
A school party shall comprise of more than 10 pupils/students

For the full list of Park Rules & Regulations, contact the DNPW

Other Protected Areas

Barotse Floodplain – vast seasonal floodplains of the Zambezi River with a rich diversity of water birds – unprotected GMAs, IBA, designated RAMSAR site

Chembe Bird Sanctuary – 450 hectres of grasslands, miombo woodlands and lake with 301 bird species – declared a bird sanctuary in 1973, Kalulushi

Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens and Animal Sanctuary – established gardens hold over 1,000 species of exotic and indigenous plants and the sanctuary is home to orphaned wildlife with an educational centre and family recreational village – DNPW, Chilanga

Bangweulu Swamps and Wetlands – ‘where the sky meets the water’ – a designated RAMSAR site and IBA which includes Isangano National Park and GMAs, Northern Province

Kafue Flats – a designated RAMSAR site  including Blue Lagoon and Lochinvar National Parks, GMAs, National Monuments and private conservation areas, Central and Southern Provinces

Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) – five countries tourism initiative and conservation area that includes Liuwa, Kafue, Mosi-au-Tunya and Sioma National Parks

Important Bird Areas

As well as the National Parks and protected areas, other Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified within Zambia to protect sites that are critical for the long-term survival of our bird populations.  IBAs include areas within private farms, National Forests and unprotected areas within Game Management Areas (GMAs) across the country.

Chimfunsi Wildlife Orphanage – miombo forests with forest birds – private farm and wildlife orphanage, Chingola District

Chisamba – national and local forests with Zambian Barbets and flocks of water birds – private farms – Chilbombo District

Chitunta Plain – grasslands rich in grassland birds – unprotected, Mwinilunga District

Hillwood – grassy plains, woodlands and forests, rich in forest birds – private farm, Mwinlunga District

Imanda – Mushitus swamp forests with Zambian endemics and key forest bird species – unprotected, Mpongwe District

Jimbe Drainage – Mushitu and miombo forests with 16 Guineo-Congolian species – unprotected, Mwinilunga District

Kalungwishi – the headwaters of the Kalungwishi River with miombo forests and typical diversity of forest species – unprotected, Mporokoso District

Luapula Mouth – dense papyrus swamp with Papyrus Yellow Warblers and characteristic swamp birdlife – Mchelenge & Kawambwa Districts

Lukanga Swamp – wetlands and lagoons, rich in water birds – unprotected, Chibombo & Kapiri Mphoshi Districts

Machile – home to the Black-cheeked Lovebird – GMA, Sesheke and Kalomo Districts

Mafinga Mountains – mountainous rocky region with low miombo forests home to the Cabanis Greenbul, Yellow-throated Warbler and other forest birds – National Forest, Isoka District

Mbulo Forest – large uncommon Mushitu forest home to a wide range of forest bird species – unprotected, Chavuma District

Minyanya Plain – flat grassy plains rich in grassland birds – unprotected, Chavuma District

Mutinondo Wilderness – miombo forests with huge granite rocks with typical bird species – private conservation area and tourist lodge, Mpika District

Mutulanganga – mopane woodlands and lowland deciduous thickets, known for a regular breeding ground of the migratory African Pitta– unprotected local forest, Siavonga District

Nkanga River Conservation Area – miombo and munga woodlands, home to Chaplin’s Barbet and different species of raptors – private farms, Southern Province

North Swaka – two National Forests on the border of D.R.C. rich in forest birds – Mkushi District

Nyanje Hills – degraded woodlands with unusually high density of granite kopjes and domes which are home to the Boulder Chat and other kopjes species – Petauke District

Saise River – grasslands, dambos and papyrus swamps, home to the Lake Tanganyika Weaver – unprotected, Mbala District

Shiwa Ng’andu – rare plateau habitat with miombo forests, reedbeds, papyus swamps and rocky hills with wide range of water & forest birds – private estate with tourist facilities, Chinsali District

Simungoma – floodplains and woodlands, home to skimmers and Slaty Egrets – National Forest, Sesheke District

Source of the Zambezi – strips of Mushitu forest surrounded by rich miombo woodlands with Guineo-Congolian forest species – National Forest and Monument, Mwinilungu District

Uningi Pans – unusual plateau habitat with deep water pans and aquatic vegetation, home to the Great Crested Crebe & diverse water bird species – unprotected, Mbala District

Wonder Gorge – river gorge with rocky habitat bird species – National Monument, Kapiri Mposhi and Mkushi Districts