Liuwa Plains National Park, situated in western Zambia, is truly a hidden safari gem. This remote park practically calls out for travelers to come and explore its vast open grasslands and seemingly endless horizons. Pristine and unspoilt, with wildlife spread out across the plains, the park makes for a real treat when out on safari. There is always something to see.
Delving into the history of Liuwa Plains, one will find that the park is one of the oldest in Africa, having been established in the late 19th century by King Lubosi Lewanika. It thus boasts a rather unique ecosystem, whereby the people of the plains and the wildlife co-exist in such a way as to preserve the rustic beauty of the park.
Dramatic thunderstorms are known to light up the ominous skies, contrasting with the green and gold of the plains. This makes for spectacularly beautiful photographic opportunities. But these breathtaking forces of nature are not the only reason to visit Liuwa Plains. The park also plays host to what is perhaps the best-kept secret in Zambia- the world’s second-largest wildebeest migration.
Thousands of wildebeest travel across Liuwa Plains each year, following the rains as they make their way across the plains. Along with the wildebeest herds, you will also find plenty of other animals, including zebra, oribi, red lechwe, and steenbok. These plains animals, in turn, draw predators after them. Look out especially for cheetahs and lions- their populations are slowly growing after being poached to near extinction in the park. Liuwa also has a well-established spotted hyena population.
What is the best time to visit Liuwa Plains? Although it is difficult to pinpoint an exact time, as the migration is dependent on the rains, the window is normally between August and December.
When it comes to accommodation, Liuwa Plains is a little different. There is only one fixed lodge in the park, called King Lewanika Lodge. This luxury lodge is made up of six plush villas that are perched on raised platforms to maximise views of the surrounding plains. Five campsites make up the rest of the accommodation options in the park: Kayala, Katoyana, Kwale, Lyangu, and Sikale. Each is located in a different area of the park, and can accommodate up to 20 guests. Only 4 guests are allowed per campground, making the setting intimate and private, and allowing you to enjoy the expanses of solitude in peace.
If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track safari destination that abounds with untamed beauty, look no further than Liuwa Plains.