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Liuwa Plain National Park
Liuwa Plain National Park
Liuwa Plain National Park
Liuwa Plain National Park
Liuwa Plain National Park
Liuwa Plain National Park

Remote and wild Liuwa Plain in western Zambia.

The park's first permanent camp open in 2017

...King Lewanika Lodge, in the heart of the park

Blue wildebeest on Liuwa Plains

Everyone adapts to the flood waters on Liuwa

Inquisitive hyenas approach the camp fire

Liuwa Plain National Park

Liuwa Plain National Park

Once the hunting ground of the King of Barotseland, Liuwa Plains remains wild and exclusive, underpinned by a truly remote setting.

Barely a decade ago, Liuwa was almost entirely expedition territory, requiring at least two sturdy 4WD vehicles – and the know-how to drive them. Mobile safaris were in on the act, but for others the park was almost off limits.

Now, with a permanent lodge, a trickle of new visitors can share in the secret. Transferred by helicopter from the outpost airstrip at Kalabo, they find themselves in a traditional yet luxurious safari environment where few outsiders have trod.

Wide, open grasslands define this isolated park, stretching to the horizon across some 3,660km2, the view broken only by the occasional tree-island.

As the rains build towards the end of each year, shoots of new grass attract herbivores in their thousands, making Liuwa home to one of the largest annual gatherings of wildebeest in Africa.

In their wake come huge herds of zebra and red lechwe, while hot on their heels are the predators. Lion, cheetah and spotted hyena: all are returning to the plains after years of poaching.

Here and there, dips in the ground create shallow pans where water may linger long after the rains, providing sustenance for animals that gradually dissipate as the land dries out.

Around the pans, water birds jostle for position with terrestrial wildlife. Storks, stilts, wattled and crowned cranes dominate the scene, their scavenging cousins never far away in anticipation of a tasty meal. With the number of species identified in the park nearing 335, Liuwa is a birder’s mecca.

No matter what your interest, exploration is dictated by the seasons: 4WD in the drier months, canoe and on foot as the plains are flooded. Perhaps it’s that very seasonality that – now more than ever – defines the timeless appeal of Liuwa.

Liuwa Plain National Park

Liuwa Plain National Park: in detail

Safaris visiting Liuwa Plain

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Puku Safari

11 days • 3 locations • 1 country
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Discover South Luangwa’s prolific wildlife before exploring the wildly remote pans of Liuwa Plain National Park and relaxing in one of the Livingstone area’s most romantic and exclusive hideaways. A safari of luxury, style and impressive diversity.

Visiting Liuwa Plain, South Luangwa and 1 other area

US$11,990 - US$15,940 per person

Read more about the Puku Safari

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Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Liuwa Plain

This is their success for sightings in Liuwa Plain National Park.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Lion

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Cheetah

0% success

Eland

0% success

Hippo

0% success

Roan antelope

0% success

Sable antelope

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Wildebeest

0% success

Zebra

0% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Sitatunga

0% success

Map of Liuwa Plain National Park

Choices for where to stay in Liuwa Plain National Park


Most recent reviews of our safaris to Liuwa Plain

Click below to browse all 7 reviews from Liuwa Plain National Park.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


100%
7 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
7
Good
0
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Doctors from Sheffield

Arrived 14 Nov 2019, 11 nights

"My Nov 2019 trip"

"Very well organised and enjoyable trip. …" Read Doctors’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs M from NL

Arrived 13 Nov 2016, 17 nights

"My Nov 2016 trip"

"The trip was beatiful with fine lodges and camps. we had excellent guides …" Read Mr & Mrs M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr H from Isle of Man

Arrived 6 Jun 2014, 14 nights

"My Jun 2014 trip"

"What a wonderful safari... hard to fault ... Everyone went out of their way... …" Read Mr H’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs W-J from UK

Arrived 3 Jun 2013, 12 nights

"Liuwa to Luangwa"

"Amazing trip to see one of the last wildlife wildernesses. We feel privileged... …" Read Mr & Mrs W-J’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Liuwa Plain National Park reviews

When to go to Liuwa Plain National Park

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Liuwa Plain in Zambia


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Zambia in January

At the peak of Zambia’s rainy season, you can expect heavy rainfall for a few hours most days, with sunny spells in between. Temperatures remain high, reaching over 30ºC, with high humidity. The rainfall is yet to make a significant difference to the Victoria Falls, and the flow of water here remains low.
The landscapes are green and lush and the air crystal clear, but with the abundance of water the wildlife disperses, and the thick bush can restrict sightings. It severely limits walking safaris too. Migrant birds boost the species count at this time.
With seasonal rivers in flood and dirt roads and airstrips unusable, many camps in Zambia become inaccessible, and close. Only a few lodges in the central Kafue and the South Luangwa remain open.
Few people visit in January, so the parks are incredibly quiet and the camps charge their lowest rates.

  • Peak of rainy season: hot & humid, with rain for a few hours most days
  • Majority of camps closed throughout the month
  • Bush incredibly green & lush, with clear air – great for photography
  • Big game dispersed & thick bush makes sightings difficult
  • Very few visitors: the cheapest time to visit

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in January

Zambia in February

February remains in the heart of the rainy season, with dramatic thunderstorms delivering a few hours of rain most days, interspersed with clear sunny skies. There is still an abundance of water in the environment, dispersing game and closing camps. With the thick bush, game viewing is limited and walking safaris restricted, but the swollen rivers allow some activities that would be unavailable in the dry season, such as boat trips on the Luangwa River.
After a couple of months of rain, water will once more be making its way to the Zambezi River, and the flow of water over the Victoria Falls will start to pick up.
Visitor numbers and costs at the few open camps remain low.

  • Peak of rainy season: hot & humid with rain for a few hours most days
  • Most camps closed throughout the month
  • Bush lush & green: good for photography but poor for game viewing
  • Very few visitors, & the cheapest time to visit
  • Water levels at Victoria Falls still low, but starting to pick up

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in February

Zambia in March

March is the last month of the rainy season in Zambia, and there are still heavy downpours most days. Water levels are at their highest making it difficult to get around the country. Temperatures still reach over 30ºC most days, too, with the rain causing high levels of humidity.
Many camps remain closed, and the thick bush limits game viewing and walking safaris. However, many animals are raising young at this time of year, with predators taking advantage of the easy prey, so sightings can be incredible, if sporadic. Wild dogs in the South Luangwa are particularly active at this time of year. With clear air and increasingly frequent blue skies as a backdrop, photography can be spectacular. The birding remains excellent as thousands of birds prepare for their winter migration.

  • Peak of rainy season, hot & humid, with rain for a few hours most days
  • Majority of camps closed throughout the month
  • Bush remains green & lush: good for photography but poor game viewing
  • High abundance of animals with young
  • Very few visitors, & the cheapest time to visit

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in March

Zambia in April

As the rains change from intense downpours to lighter and sporadic showers, April is very much a transitionary period in Zambia. The landscape remains exceptionally green and lush, with sparse viewing of larger wildlife.
Although camps start to reopen in April, most remain closed, and others that were open at the start of the year may shut to prepare for the coming dry season. This is the first month of the year when it’s possible to visit the Lower Zambezi.
The Zambezi River will be at its highest level with the Victoria Falls in full flow, but with huge amounts of spray kicked up views of the waterfall are often obscured.

  • Tail end of the rainy season; hot & humid with light rain most days
  • Some camps reopen; possible to visit the Lower Zambezi
  • Bush still green & lush: good for photography; poor for game viewing
  • Victoria Falls in full flow but with poor views
  • Very few visitors, & the cheapest time to visit

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in April

Zambia in May

May is typically the first month of the dry season. While there is the chance of an odd shower, the majority of days are clear and sunny. As winter approaches, temperatures start to drop, with most days reaching highs of around 26ºC.
As the landscape dries out, access to the parks improves, and all but the most remote bushcamps reopen.
After five months of rain there is still a lot of standing water, but despite the thick bush May marks a distinct improvement in game viewing, and clear air is a continuing bonus for photographers.
The end of the month can be a popular time for visitors, taking advantage of typically good weather, improved game viewing, and the last of the low-season rates offered by the camps.

  • Start of the dry season in a typical year, with mostly clear & sunny
  • Majority of camps open
  • Bush still green & lush, with clear air for photographers
  • Game viewing starts to improve
  • Last month of low rates at the camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in May

Zambia in June

Zambia sees virtually no rainfall in June, with a strong chance of sunny days throughout. The humidity drops dramatically and, as winter approaches, temperatures reduce, falling to around 10ºC at night but still warming to 25ºC during the day.
The landscape remains lush but the bush starts to die back significantly, improving visibility for game viewing and walking safaris.
All the camps in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi are open by the start of June. While some have a ‘shoulder season’, others start charging their highest rates.
The water coming over the Victoria Falls starts to recede, reducing the mist and spray kicked up, providing better views of the waterfall itself.

  • Reliably sunny days, but dropping temperatures, especially at night.
  • All camps in the South Luangwa, southern Kafue & Lower Zambezi open
  • Wildlife viewing continuing to improve
  • Increased visibility & cool weather perfect for walking safaris.
  • Viewing of the Victoria Falls at its best

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in June

Zambia in July

As the dry season continues, vegetation and long grasses have mostly died back and water starts to become scarce. Wildlife starts to cluster around the major sources of water and the game viewing approaches its best.
July is the first month of winter, and while daytime temperatures are in the 20s Celsius, temperatures at night can drop to single digits. Early morning and late evening drives in open vehicles are particularly cold, and blankets and hot water bottles are often provided.
Visitor numbers increase significantly and space at popular/small camps can get tight. Nearly all properties are now charging their highest rates.
Even floodwaters on northern Kafue’s Busanga Plains have now receded, and all camps in Zambia are open.

  • Warm, dry days; cold, crisp nights
  • Significantly improved game viewing
  • Walking safaris are unrestricted by vegetation, with good temperatures
  • Approaching peak season, so significant increase in costs
  • Northern Kafue now accessible

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in July

Zambia in August

By August, the vegetation has died back and wildlife is now congregating around the remaining water sources, providing excellent game viewing. With virtually no chance of rain you are almost guaranteed sunny days, although dust and smoke in the air means a visible haze starts to appear on the horizon.
Temperatures can drop below 5ºC at night but climb to the 20s Celsius during the day. Jackets and gloves are recommended for morning and evening drives.
This is one of the most popular – and most expensive – months to travel. European school holidays have little impact on travel within Zambia, but they do increase international flight costs, and all camps are charging their highest rates.

  • Very dry with warm days but cold nights
  • Excellent wildlife viewing, as animals congregate around water holes.
  • Haze developing on the horizon, potentially affecting photographs
  • Cool temperatures & clear sightlines: ideal for walking safaris
  • Peak season: camps & flights at their most expensive

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Zambia in September

September is the most popular, and arguably the best, time of year to travel. Rain is almost unheard of so humidity is low, and temperatures are starting to climb. Morning drives are more comfortable, with daytime temperatures normally in the low 30s Celsius.
Water is scarce, so wildlife clusters around the few remaining sources. Game viewing is very nearly at its best, with a good chance of seeing interactions between species.
Camps are charging their highest rates and are at their busiest, with popular camps often fully booked more than a year in advance.
A significant haze appears on the horizon, impacting on landscape views and affecting photography.
Depending on the rainfall in the wet season, the Victoria Falls can start looking dry, with more cliff face than waterfall on show.

  • Dry hot days with clear skies, & warm nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Dust & smoke creates a haze over the landscape
  • Peak season: camps are expensive & often full
  • Victoria Falls starting to look dry

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Zambia in October

As the dry season peaks, the landscape in October is brown and barren, with little ground-level vegetation, though the promise of rain may bring the occasional shower. Temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, reaching over 40ºC in the daytime and rarely dropping below 20ºC at night. This is particularly challenging on walking safaris and in camps without air conditioning.
A thick haze on the horizon turns photographic backgrounds grey-brown rather than sky-blue.
The lack of water sees hippos and crocodiles cram themselves into the few remaining shallow rivers, with other wildlife carefully skirting around them in order to drink. Game viewing is at its absolute best, and you’re most likely to see hunts in October.
On the Zambian side, the Victoria Falls often presents a dry cliff face.

  • The best month for wildlife viewing
  • Very hot both night & day, with little chance of rain
  • Air can be very hazy with dust & smoke, so not great for photography
  • Victoria Falls largely dry on Zambian side
  • Camps less busy & some start to drop their rates

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Zambia in November

November typically marks the end of the dry season. Although the timing of the rains is always uncertain, temperatures remain reliably high and the humidity builds as the rains approach.
While you may avoid the rains in the first week of November, it’s not unusual to see some spectacularly heavy thunderstorms, followed by an explosion of green growth. Wildlife disperses rapidly after the rains, no longer restricted to limited waterholes closely monitored by predators. However, Kasanka’s bat migration is at its peak, and wildebeest gather on Liuwa Plains.
Many remote camps close, and those that remain open significantly drop their rates.
The initial rains have little impact on the Victoria Falls, but do significantly reduce the atmospheric haze.

  • Typically the start of the wet season; very hot and humid
  • Increased chance of heavy rain as the month progresses
  • Greatly diminished game viewing once the rains arrive
  • Bat migration in Kasanka, and wildebeest migration in Liuwa
  • Camp rates lower, & visitor numbers reduced

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Zambia in December

December is typically the first month in Zambia’s rainy season, with heavy thunderstorms most days interspersed by sunny spells. Temperatures start to fall, but still reach over 30ºC in the daytime, with high levels of humidity.
As the rainfall increases it brings plentiful water into the landscape, encouraging the growth of thick green vegetation. Wildlife remains in the national parks and sightings are possible, but overall game viewing is poor. Access to the parks becomes problematic and all but a handful of camps around the entrance to the South Luangwa and the centre of Kafue national parks close. Those that do remain open charge their lowest rates and are very quiet.
The rain removes any smoke and dust from the air, returning the sky to a dazzling blue that is great for photographers.

  • Start of rainy season, with hot, humid & wet days
  • Poor game viewing as wildlife disperses & bush thickens
  • Majority of camps close; others charge their lowest rates
  • Landscape green with blue skies; photographic opportunities improve
  • Victoria Falls still dry

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in December

Zambia fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Liuwa Plain National Park.


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