Zambia wildlife in Kasanka
Several rare species of Zambia wildlife are abundant in the park, including sitatunga, wattled crane, Ross's lourie and blue monkeys. The Bangweulu Wetlands area, just north of Kasanka National Park, is one of Africa's most spectacular wildlife secrets with over 100,000 black lechwe and the world's most visible shoebill storks.
All in all it's a very rewarding destination for those seeking to delve deeper into Africa's hidden corners and more elusive wildlife. Puku are the dominant animals in the park, feeding off the rich grasses along the Kasanka river and Wasa lakes.
The rivers and lakes are habitat for hippos, crocodiles, otters and monitor lizards, as well as all kinds of fish. The Luwombwa River offers some excellent angling (under special permits). The fierce tigerfish, several tilapia species, Congo yellowfish and barbal catfish are likely catches. (Lodge staff will not cook catches).
Canoes and motorboats can be hired with guides. Perhaps Kasanka's crown jewels are the papyrus swamp areas, home to the world's densest and most visible population of sitatunga antelope.
Roaming across all these habitats are a small but growing population of elephants. And side-striped jackal, civet, genet, porcupine and several species of mongoose are amongst the nocturnal species. Birds of special interest include Pel's fishing owl, wattled crane, osprey, African fish eagle and Ross's lourie. Saddle-billed storks, several species of bee-eater, kingfisher and hornbill are also regularly seen.
Kasanka is rapidly becoming famous for the millions of the straw-coloured fruit bats that congregate there in their millions in November and December each year. This makes an inspiring Zambia safari experience. At twilight bats fill the sky from all directions for up to twenty minutes as they leave their roost site to feed throughout the night on the abundant seasonal fruit of the "miombo" woodlands.
This event is one of Africa's most amazing and unusual wildlife spectacles – never to be forgotten for those fortunate to witness it. Scientists believe it is the largest aggregation of mammals in Africa, and probably the most concentrated in the world. See the article on the Kasanka bats in Travel Zambia Extra.
Visitors arriving in their own 4×4 vehicles can drive themselves around but there are some restrictions for safety reasons. Walking safaris are accompanied by an armed scout who is knowledgeable on the wildlife and vegetation and in short wave radio contact with HQ.
Follow a honey guide to a bee's nest or track an elephant along its spore. Walks can be arranged from 1 hour to five days! Walking trails of several days are a specialty of Kasanka.
One day of the trail is usually spent drifting down the Luwombwa river by canoe. Zambia safaris don't get much better than this! One or two nights may be spent at the lodges, but otherwise simple tented camps will be set up each night in remote corners of the park. It is possible for visitors to explore the park by bicycle. However visitors must be escorted by a guide or scout.
Just 50 Kilometres to the north of Kasanka are the vast Bangweulu Wetlands. These wetlands support an incredible diversity of water-birds and plains-birds including the shoebill stork, and massive herds of the black lechwe. Elephant, buffalo, tsessebe, reedbuck, oribi and sitatunga have also adapted to life in this environment.
Bangweulu is a great draw for birdwatchers. Wattled crane, saddle-billed stork, spur-winged goose, sacred ibis, glossy ibis, black-crowned night heron, white-cheeked bee-eater, swamp flycatcher, pink- throated and Fulbourne's longclaw, Denham's bustard and numerous ducks live here.
The papyrus swamps along the Lukulu River are also the breeding ground of the shoebill, a massive grey, do-do like bird found nowhere else in the sub-region. Bangweulu is probably the best place in the world to see shoebill storks in the wild.
Most visitors coming from overseas choose to fly directly into Kasanka by private charter as there is an airstrip in the park (12deg 33'South 30deg 09'East) and an aircraft based there. Kasanka Trust can arrange air charters from anywhere in Zambia.
Sky Trails Ltd is an independent charter company based in Kasanka National Park so that there is usually an aircraft available locally for air charters to, from and around the area. Driving times from Lusaka or the Copperbelt are typically five to six hours. The roads are tarred up to the park entrance and are currently in excellent condition.
Nakapalyo Tourism Project, Kundalila Falls, Lake Waka Waka, Nsalu Cave, Livingstone Memorial, Shiwa Ng'andu, Kapishya Hot Springs and Mutinondo Wilderness are all quite close to Kasanka.
Zambia wildlife in Kasanka
- Millions of fruit bats in November and December
- Black lechwe
- Wattled crane
- Ross's lourie
- Shoebill stork
- Blue monkey
- Monitor lizard
- Side striped jackal
- Saddle-billed stork
- Spur-winged goose
- Sacred ibis
- Glossy ibis
- Black crowned night heron
- White-cheecked bee eater
- Swamp fly catcher
- Pink-throated longclaw
- Fulbourne's longclaw
- Deham's bustard