Zambia Family Safari
Treat your family to a true African adventure on this Zambia family safari. Safari, spectacular waterfalls and immense lakes await your arrival.
Prices: On request
Duration: 10 nights
Availability: April to January
Destinations: Livingstone (Victoria Falls), South Luangwa National Park, Lake Malawi
i) Visit the magnificent Mosi-oa-Tunya, more commonly known as Victoria Falls.
ii) Test your nerves by daring to partake in the plethora of adrenaline activities at Victoria Falls
iii) Enjoy your own private residence on the Luangwa River
iv) Track leopard in the South Luangwa National Park
v) Observe rare and elusive game on exciting night safaris
vi) Relax on the serene shores of Lake Malawi
A perfect African adventure combining private safari in South Luangwa National Park with adventure at Victoria Falls and much deserved relaxation at Lake Malawi over the border in Malawi. Begin your journey around Victoria Falls on the Zambian side, enjoying the beauty of the area and the plethora of activities. Follow this with a private safari in South Luangwa National Park. Here you will stay in your very own private 2 bedroom house. After all this excitement it is time to fly over the border to Lake Malawi for some much needed rest and relaxation.
Best time to visit?
So what is the best time of year to take this trip to maximise your overall experience? Without knowing you yet this is a difficult question to answer. With so many variables to consider we need to know what is important to you before we advise on the preferable time for you.
There are many variables to consider when attempting to recommend the best time to visit. Specific considerations include the whereabouts of migratory animals, the effect the density of the vegetation and height of the grass has on wildlife viewing, special wildlife moments such as the birth of baby animals, and the effect weather patterns has on wildlife behaviour. Other factors to consider are the variation in prices at different times of the year, visitor traffic, whether you prefer a lush or relatively arid environment and of course the annual climate, namely temperature and rainfall values.
For this reason we present detailed information for each individual destination in the locations section to help you understand what may work best for you. We will of course have an in-depth discussion with you prior to making a booking so you are completely happy with the time of year you decide to travel.
- Game drives
- Night drives
- Walking safari
- Motorboat safaris (Jan to April only)
- Visit to Victoria Falls
- Non-motorised water activities at Lake Malwai
- Adventure activities around Victoria Falls
- Motorised water activities at Lake Malawi
- International flight to Livingstone
- International flight from Lilongwe
- Airport transfers in home country
- Meals and drinks not stated in the daily itinerary
- Applicable VISAS
- Tips and gratuities
- Health innoculations and medications
Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure Begins
Board your overnight international flight from your chosen airport to Livingstone, Zambia.
Stanley Safari Lodge, Livingstone (L, D)
On arrival at Livingstone International Airport one of our representatives will meet and transfer you to the lodge (20 mins), where you will settle into your accommodation. Stanley Safari Lodge is located on the hills overlooking the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls in a beautiful bush location. Accommodation is in 10 uniquely designed chalets, each with a private balcony ensuring spectacular views overlooking the Zambezi River. After your long flight to Africa it is time to relax and enjoy your surroundings. The swimming pool is certainly an inviting feature at this time.
Stanley Safari Lodge, Livingstone (B, L, D)
These next two days are dedicated entirely to exploring Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. It truly is one of the world’s most spectacular destinations and one you and your family will appreciate for years to come. Your stay at Stanley Safari Lodge includes a trip to the Falls. Appreciating the immensity of The Smoke that Thunders is the perfect way to start your Zambia adventure. Livingstone and Victoria Falls are renowned for offering visitors a wide range of activities. Other gentle activities you may be interested in include museums and markets, sunset cruises on the Zambezi or just relaxing in a riverside restaurant and bar. For the more adventurous, Livingstone boasts a whole host of adrenaline filled activities including whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, helicopter flights and microlighting. Your days will end with a relaxed dinner and perhaps drinks in the wine cellar.
Robin's House (B, L, D)
This morning starts with breakfast before your transfer to Livingstone Airport ahead of your domestic flight to Mfuwe, South Luangwa. At Mfuwe International Airport a guide from Robin Pope Safaris will meet you. The drive to the Robin’s House is just under an hour through colourful local scenes of villages and agriculture, as well as bush. Robin’s House lies on the banks of the Luangwa River with a stunning view across to the park and the escarpment. On arrival you will enjoy lunch or dinner depending on your time of arrival. Most meals are taken outside under a huge ebony tree. During lunch animals and birds, including the hippo that live nearby in the river, will give a superb backdrop to the meal. The house has a private guide and host to look after every need. Following your meal you will have the option to embark on an afternoon or night game drive. Night drives are particularly exciting as they give you the opportunity to see elusive game such as civet, genet and Cape porcupine, as well as large cats such as lions and leopards hunting. As the house is completely private and you have your own private guide and safari vehicle the daily routine is determined by your own wishes.
Robin's House (B, L, D)
These next two days are dedicated to exploring Zambia’s flagship wildlife reserve, the South Lunagwa National Park. Your days are very much dictated by your desires. You have the choice of game drives by day, night safari and walking safari. These wildlife activities are supported by cultural experiences at local villages. The usual day will start with breakfast at just after dawn. The morning walk or drive will leave soon after, entering the park by boat from the camp or by the nearby pontoon. The game in the area is excellent – and includes many family herds of elephants and the endemic species of giraffe, the Thornicroft Giraffe. South Luangwa is also one of the most reliable places in the world to see the usually elusive leopard. A mid-morning break of tea, coffee and cake will be taken by a scenic point on a lagoon or the Luangwa River. Return to the house for lunch around mid-day. After lunch you can cool off in the swimming pool or taka a siesta. Tea will be served in the afternoon and then off on an afternoon game drive that continues into the early night giving the chance to see the nocturnal world. Usually one returns to camp about 20.00 hrs with dinner generally at 20.30.
On your second day you may choose to explore further afield and take a picnic lunch with you. Start the day with a game drive before breaking off for lunch. Lunch will be under a tree or next to a lagoon. You may decide to leave the vehicle behind and do a walk in the bush after lunch before returning to your vehicle and enjoying a slow game drive back to camp. You may return late as to enjoy a night drive on your return and sundowners in the bush. Whatever you choose to do it will be a magical time on safari for the whole family.
Pumulani, Lake Malawi (B, L, D)
Today marks your last day on safari. After an early breakfast, transfer to Mfuwe Airport for your flight to Lilongwe. The flight time to Lilongwe is approximately 50 minutes. On arrival at Lilongwe’s Kamuzu Airport, you will be met by our staff, who will assist with immigration procedures. The road transfer from Lilongwe to Pumulani takes approximately 3 hours. Pumulani is situated on the west side of the Nankumba Peninsula in the South end of Lake Malawi – romantically called “The Lake of Stars”. And relax. A visit to Lake Malawi symbolises relaxation for most guests but if you are an energetic and adventurous family then there are easily enough activities to keep you all busy.
Pumulani, Lake Malawi (B, L, D)
You have 3 days to indulge relaxation or enjoy all Lake Malawi has to offer. The property boasts a total of 2 infinity pools, as well as a sandy beach area. This is the perfect setting to enjoy a good book, interrupted only by the occasional glance at the spectacular views of the lake and mountainous backdrop or dip in the lake. If sitting an relaxing isn’t your thing or the children won’t allow you to take your eye off the ball for too long there are plenty of activities available such as snorkelling, fishing, sailing, kayaking, waterskiing, wake boarding and fun tube rides, as well as land based activities as nature walks, mountain biking and village visits. At the end of the day climb aboard our dhow and let our experienced local crewmen take you sailing into the sunset.
The End Of Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure (B)
Sadly, all great things must come to an end as you call time on your trip of a lifetime. Transfer to Lilongwe International Airport ahead of your flight to your home destination.
Stanley Safari Lodge
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)
Overview: Set on a hill bordering the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and overlooking unspoilt bush, Stanley Safari Lodge is only three kilometer from the Victoria Falls.
Accommodation: Ten rooms, four suites and six cottages; maximum 24 guests. En-suite bathrooms with double basins, bath tubs and/or showers.
Facilities & Amenities: The lodge benefits from a swimming pool. Guests area include bar and restaurant.
Power & communication: The lodge runs off mains electricity with a backup generator. Three pin square plugs (adaptors available). WiFi is unavailable but mobile phone network reception is reliable.
Activities: Victoria Falls visit (included), bungee jumping, helicopter flights, white water rafting, canyon swings, Mosi-oa-tunya game drives, Zambezi sunset cruises
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Accessibility: Guests fly into Livingstone airport. The lodge is a short transfer from the airport.
Availability: Open year round
South Luangwa National Park
Overview: This beautiful self-contained house is located just outside the South Luangwa National Park on the banks of the Luangwa River. It is booked out in its entirety and is therefore a perfect option for families or small groups. It comes with its own private chef and hostess, as well as safari guide and vehicle.
Accommodation: Private house with 2 ensuite bedrooms. Sleeps 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children.
Facilities & Amenities: Small swimming pool
Power & communication: The house is fully equipped with main electricity, full water supply and WiFi (slow). Mobile phone network is unreliable.
Activities: Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, boating safaris (Jan-Apr), village tours, wildlife education centre visits, children tailored activities
Children: No minimum age. The property is ideal for children of all ages.
Accessibility: Flights into nearby Mfuwe Airport followed by a 40 minutes scenic transfer.
Availability: Open year round
Accommodation: Beach lodge, ten villas (four twin, four king, one honeymoon & one family villa). En-suite bathrooms with double basins and showers. Each has a bath tub as well. The honeymoon villa has a
unique outdoor shower. Each villa has tea/coffee making facilities as well as a stocked minibar fridge.
Facilities & Amenities: The central area consists of a spacious open restaurant with an undercover area, bar and a cosy fire area. One of the infinity swimming pools is on a lower terraced deck. Three raised walkways with steps lead off from the central area to the villas and down to the beach and the second infinity swimming pool.
Power & communication: The lodge runs off mains electricity with a backup generator. You will have access to full electricity at all times. There is no WiFi but there is telephone reception.
Activities: Snorkelling, fishing, sailing, nature walks, kayaking, sunset cruises on a dhow, mountain bike tours and village tours are included. Motorised watersports such as diving, waterskiing, fun tubing and snorkeling excursions are at extra cost.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Accessibility: Accessed via Lilongwe by a 3 hours road transfer or 40 minutes scenic flight.
Availability: Open April to January
- Special Status: N/A
- Location: Eastern Zambia
- Land mass: 9,050 km²
- Mammal species: 60+
- Bird species: 400+
- Big 5 reserve: No (Rhino are absent)
- World class walking safaris
- Multi-day walking expeditions
- Game drives
- Night drives
- Fly camping
- Boating safaris (seasonal)
- World-leading leopard destination
- African wild dogs
- Large abundance and variety of game
- A plethora of varied safari activities
South Luangwa National Park is the flagship park and jewel in the crown of Zambia’s safari circuit. Despite this it is little known outside of the enthusiastic safari community. This relative obscurity protects it from overcrowding for now.
With a total land mass of 9050 km² South Luangwa protects a very respectable area of pristine African wilderness. It is located in the Luangwa Valley in the north-east of Zambia, nestled between the remote North Luangwa National Park and the Lower Zambezi National Park.
The park is reachable overland from Lusaka but the more medium budget, and certainly high-end safaris, fly in and out of the Mfuwe Airport close to the park’s border. Flying is much more efficient and helps to easily combine South Luangwa with other locations in the country and across international borders. Due to its location and domestic flight schedules it is most easily combined with the two aforementioned national parks, as well as further south with Victoria Falls.
South Luangwa National Park is unfortunately only recognised as a Big 4 location. The notable absentee, as is the case in many wildlife reserves across Africa, is the black rhinoceros. Its fate caused by uncontrolled poaching. Despite the best efforts to reintroduce this magnificent animal attempts have unfortunately failed so far.
The park has all the other big game you would expect to see on safari. It is perhaps recognised as the best place in the whole of Africa for observing leopards, only rivalled by the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. If you are desperate to see leopard then visit South Luangwa for a great opportunity. As well as leopard, it is home to all the other cast of predators including lions and spotted hyena. Cheetah are present but the environment is less suited to their hunting style. Wild dogs reappeared back in 2015 and sightings are being reported as pretty reliable given their well-documented elusiveness.
The predators are supported by a diverse number of prey species including impala, greater kudu, warthog, bushbuck and waterbuck. The park is also home to three special sub-species that are endemic to the Luangwa Valley, these being Cookson’s wildebeest, Thornicroft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s Zebra. Other ungulate highlights include the 18,000-strong hippopotamus population, the densest in the world, that populate this stretch of the Luangwa River.
Birders will be especially keen to witness the 400 plus species of birds, especially the thousands of carmine bee-eaters that migrate to the Luangwa River for 3 months of the year.
Best Time To Visit
The climate of South Luangwa National Park can be simplified by dividing it into the dry season and wet season, with two transitional shoulder seasons. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. There is no time of year that offers you the best of everything so we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your preferences.
The dry season runs from June to October. It is at this time of year wildlife viewing is at its best. The season, as its name suggests, is characterised by blue skies and no rain. A perfect time to be on safari. As Zambia is in the Southern Hemisphere this time of year is winter. The coolest months are July and August when night temperatures drop enough to necessitate warm clothing for early morning game activities. However, the sun quickly raises the mercury so expect to be basking in 30 degrees Celsius by lunch. Temperatures increase as the season draws on with October being extremely hot and dry and uncomfortable for those who do not enjoy such high temperatures.
Wildlife viewing is at its best in the dry season as the animals migrate towards permanent sources of life-giving water. This predictability and reliability makes game viewing much more reliable and predictable. Huge volumes of wildlife can be seen in one place which makes for great photographic opportunities. The negative aspects of the dry season are the premium price tags the camps carry at this time of year and also the dry and dusty park isn’t as beautiful as in the wet season.
The wet season runs from December to March. Rainfall is a feature of most days in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms yet it rarely rains all day. Travel can be difficult at this time of year and some roads may become washed out. The presence of water throughout the park and beyond its boundaries allows wildlife to disperse into the hinterland making game viewing generally more of a challenge. However, many species of animals give birth at this time of year so it is the best time to travel for the cuteness factor.
Prices are at their lowest at this time of year but it must be noted most of the remote camps are closed. However, permanent lodges stay open and offer attractive rates. The wet season is definitely the best time if you are looking for an exclusive safari where other tourist vehicles are a rare sighting. Although South Luangwa National Park certainly isn’t a busy park it can suffer occasional crowding around water sources in the dry season.
The transitional shoulder seasons are November and April and May. At these times of year they represent a transition from the dry to wet season and wet to dry season respectively. These months are considered to offer a compromise between the two main seasons.
- Special Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Location: Borders South Zambia and West Zimbabwe
- Height: 108 metres
- Width: 1708 metres
- Volume: 500 million litres per minute
- Did you know: Victoria Falls is recognised as the largest waterfall on earth due to having the largest curtain of falling water in the world.
- Bungee jumping
- Helicopter flights
- Microlight flights
- Devil’s pool swimming
- High wire activities (gorge swing, flying fox, zipline)
- Tandem skydiving
- Canoeing on the Zambezi River
- Sunset cruises on the Zambezi River
- Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park game drives & rhino tracking on foot
- Spectacular views of the world’s largest waterfall
- Take to the sky and view the Falls from a unique vantage point
- Relax at one of the lodges or camps on the edge of the Zambezi
- Navigate the raging Zambezi on a white-water rafting trip of a lifetime
- Take to the water for a more gentle approach canoeing or sunset cruises
- Test your nerve for heights with a bungee jump
Mosi-oa-Tunya as it is known locally, or more commonly recognised as Victoria Falls, lives up to its Zambian name, it is quite literally The Smoke That Thunders.
It is amongst the most spectacular of earth’s waterfalls. A result of the contents of the Zambezi River, 2 km wide at this point, plunging over the rock face to produce spray that can be seen more than 20 kilometres away.
Victoria Falls is recognised as the largest waterfall in the world. Although it is neither the tallest nor the widest its combination of both these dimensions ensure it is the planet’s greatest sheet of falling water. An astonishing 500 million litres each minute pass over the precipice to continue its journey towards the Indian Ocean.
Visitors flock to this natural wonder of the world for obvious reasons. The sheer magnitude of the Zambezi River, the waterfall itself and the surrounding vegetation make for spectacular viewing. However, this area is also known for being a bit of an adventure playground with a huge variety of adrenaline-fuelled activities to keep you busy. There are of course much more relaxing ways of passing your time for those who want to relax before or after a safari.
The activities are highlighted above and can either be organised by your agent at Ultimate Wildlife Adventures or arranged locally upon arrival at your lodge or camp.
The Falls are easily accessible via the airports close to Livingstone in Zambia or the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This ensures it is logistically easy to combine safari in these two countries with times at the Falls. The waterfall’s proximity to Northern Botswana ensures it is often combined with an overland safari. Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls works as an excellent combination.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls is dependent on what it is you personally want to gain from experiencing the world’s largest volume of falling water. In essence, there is no one time of year that offers you the best of everything the Falls has to offer. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. Therefore, we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your personal interests.
As with all locations the climate is a huge consideration when deciding the best time to visit. Price of accommodations and the volume of other tourists is also important to most. A huge factor to consider when planning a trip to Victoria Falls is the water levels as this dictates the experience massively and also which activities are available.
The seasons at Victoria Falls are uniform with the surrounding game viewing parks with regards temperatures and rainfall. The wet season runs from November to April and is characterised by daily temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, daily rainfall and inevitably high humidity. November sees the start of the rains with December to February being the wettest months before a drop off in March and relatively little in April. May is somewhat a shoulder season before the onset of the long, dry winter beginning in June and running through to October. Here temperatures drop considerably to lows of around 7 degrees Celsius so warm clothing is advisable for evenings and early mornings. Temperatures quickly recover to 26 degrees during the day thanks to the reliable presence of the sun above clear skies.
The water level is obviously dictated by the rainfall and the ferocity of the water cascading over the Falls is largely dictated by rainfall ‘collected’ in the Zambezi River in the preceding months. Therefore, water levels are highest after the longest unbroken period of rainfall and lowest after long periods of dry weather.
The water level is at its lowest from October to December following the dry winter period. This really isn’t the greatest time to visit for those expecting to see Victoria Falls in all its might as the falling water is reduced to a relative trickle and may have even stopped cascading on the Zambian side. March to June are the months where water levels are at their highest, producing the spectacular show that one expects to see. Walking amongst the Falls is spectacular but expect a drenching. The Falls are spectacular by air and live up to their local name Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke That Thunders, being visible from miles away. July to September sees a drop in water levels but this may be a good time to visit for those wanting a clearer view of the Falls to take photographs.
Activities are dictated by the water levels. White water rafting is seasonal and is divided into the low water rafting season and high water rafting season. The former runs from July to roughly mid-February and is the best time to visit as all the rapids can be navigated with excitement but safely. Mid-February until July is the high water season. Operations will still run at this time of year but the first 10 rapids are skipped as they are deemed too dangerous to navigate. In years of extreme water levels operations may cease in this period. Devils Pool and Livingstone Islands are also seasonal and only available in the lower water level months. Activities from the sky are arguably best when the Falls are at their most ferocious.
As with all locations the surrounding vegetation is at its most beautiful at the end of the rains and is reduced to an arid, dusty landscape by the end of the long dry season.
Visitor volume is at its greatest in the dry season months of June to October, peaking in July and August and this is reflected in the prices charged by the lodges and camps.
- Special Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site (Lake Malawi N.P portion)
- Location: Eastern Malawi/ Southern Tanzania/ Western Mozambique
- Area: 29,600 km²
- Length: 580 km
- Width: 75 km
- Max. depth: 706 metres
- Did you know?: Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world.
- Scuba diving
- Paddle boarding
- Mountain biking
- Quad biking
- Cultural visits
- Exceptional scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities
- 1500 kilometres of pristine and deserted shoreline
- Outstanding water sports available
- Perfect safari combination destination
Lake Malawi is a huge expanse of fresh water stretching across 3 African countries, Eastern Malawi, Western Mozambique and Southern Tanzania. It covers an impressive 29,600 km², almost 3 times the size of the island of Jamaica and larger than the African country of Rwanda. It is the southernmost lake in the East Africa Rift system and a member of the African Great Lakes. It is the 4th largest fresh water lake in the world by volume and the 9th largest by surface area. It is the 2nd deepest lake in Africa and 3rd largest by surface area, a colossal lake.
The lake and its surrounds offer a real Out of Africa experience. The environment is dominated by the lake’s clear water and the islands punctuating the water’s surface against the backdrop of the Great African Rift Valley escarpment. Habitat types vary from rocky shorelines to sandy beaches. Further inland you will find wooded hillsides to swamps and lagoons.
The lake’s 1500 kilometres of pristine and deserted shoreline are the main attraction for visitors. Lake Malawi is a sought after destination for safari goers as an ideal alternative to the hectic pace of life on safari. Naturally it is combined with the emerging safari locations in Malawi. However, it’s relative ease of access to and from some of the established safari heavyweights in Zambia and Zimbabwe ensure it is often used in combination with these.
Although time spent at the lake is seen as an alternative to safari there are still wildlife opportunities available in and around the lake. Large species of wildlife include Nile crocodiles, hippopotamus, antelopes, hyrax and baboons and monkeys. Visitors are also likely to see one of the iconic raptors of Africa, the African fish eagle. This impressive bird occurs in impressive numbers around the lake. Other impressive bird species include herons, kingfishers and cormorants. The lake particularly comes into its own with its impressive aquatic life. The lake is home to more fish than any other lake in the world. There are a recorded 700 (but an estimated 1000) cichlids inhabiting the lake, more than any other body of water. Of the 350 mbuna cichlids, an astonishing 345 are endemic to the lake. Other species of fish are the now critically endangered kampango, tigerfish and redbreast tilapia.
Most visitors to Lake Malawi visit for the opportunity to escape the pace of the real world or to partake in the exceptional diving and snorkelling or watersports on offer on the lake. It offers the perfect alternative to life on safari. Stays at the lake are easily combined with reserves in Malawi
Best Time To Visit
When considering the best time to visit Lake Malawi there is thankfully less to consider than when planning a visit to the more complex safari areas. The climate around the lake roughly falls in line with the rest of the country and indeed most of the wider region. Malawi has two distinct seasons, the hot and wet summer season and the cooler but dry winter season. The summer season runs from November to April and is characterised by hot and humid weather and significant rainfall. The wettest months are December to January. Winter runs from May to October and enjoys blue skies with very little rainfall. June to August are the coldest months on the calendar but the low altitude ensures days are still warm and enjoyable by the beach. September and October really start to warm up whilst still remaining dry.
The dry winter months are undoubtedly the best months for those wanting to relax by the beach and soak up the delightful weather. December to February are best avoided. Snorkelling and diving are productive all year round but are best from September to December. June is the windiest month so is enjoyed best by windsurfers and kitesurfers. Other than these factors we always recommend travelling in the dry season.