Tag Archives: Wildebeest

Liuwa Plains: An Undiscovered Safari Paradise

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.

King Lewanika Lodge

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.

Liuwa Plains Campsite

If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track safari destination that abounds with untamed beauty, look no further than Liuwa Plains.

The Great Wildebeest Migration

Africa’s annual Great Wildebeest Migration is the world’s largest overland animal migration. This spectacular phenomenon occurs when approximately two million wildebeest, zebra and other indigenous antelope undertake an incredible journey across the African plains, from Tanzanias beautiful Serengeti to the world-renowned Masai Mara in Kenya.

The Migration does not just consist of one large herd, but rather thousands of smaller ones that branch in and out of the main bulk, depending on the availability of food and water. The sizes of the herds fluctuate, as some wildebeest do not travel, choosing to stay in specific areas.

It is also interesting to note that during the Migration, the wildebeest and zebra travel harmoniously together. Though both species are herbivores, their feeding preferences differ greatly, as they prefer different parts of the same grasses. This means that while they inhabit the same space, they are not in competition for the same resources.

The thrill of the Migration is also enhanced by the presence of predators. As the herbivores cross the plains in their thousands, they are closely pursued by fearsome carnivores. More than 3 000 lions prey upon the herds, bringing down thousands of wildebeest each season. These losses are replenished during the rainy season between January and March, as the herds roam the Serengeti. It is speculated that over half a million wildebeest are born during this period.

Other predators can also be spotted preying on the herds, including hyena, cheetah, and leopard. These predators do not migrate with the herds. Rather the herds move through their territories, making them ideal prey. However, some predators have become nomadic and spend their lives in pursuit of these herds.

Crocodiles also lie in wait as the wildebeest and zebras attempt to cross over the Mara and Grumeti Rivers, ready to prey upon any who are not strong or quick enough. These crossings typically take place during the dry season when the animals make their way to the greener grazing fields of the Masai Mara.

While herd movements depend on the availability of food and water, the animals can be seen to travel in a general clockwise direction during the Great Migration. This gives the discerning traveller ample opportunity to witness the incredible phenomenon all year round. Several well-appointed lodges and camps cater to the seasoned as well as first-time viewer of the Migration. One can easily find accommodation that will suit your particular needs and provide the perfect opportunity to see this awe-inspiring spectacle.

The Great Migration Pattern

The Great Migration takes place annually, spanning the whole year. This allows for a Migration safari trip at any time of the year, depending on where the herds are. Don’t you think that this is an experience that should be on your bucket list? Chat to one of the Safari Index team of experts today to plan that dream Migration safari now!