Wildlife, Boating and Bush Skills: A Zambia Family Safari
This eight-day Zambia family safari combines wildlife-watching time in the South Luangwa National Park with family-friendly adventures aplenty at the Victoria Falls. Experience 4x4, boat, walking and night safaris before exploring the mighty Victoria Falls on land and from the air. Then enjoy fishing, canoeing and local village visits.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore the South Luangwa National Park, the so-called 'Valley of the Leopard'
- Introduce the children to Africa's remarkable wildlife on 4x4, boat, walking and night safaris
- Learn some of the basics of the bush, from animal tracking to identifying spoor (dung) and bird calls
- See the mighty Victoria Falls from above on a helicopter ride
- Sit in Devil's Pool, a natural pool just a few feet from the edge of the falls!
- Go for boat rides and fishing trips on the Zambezi River above the falls
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Arrive in Zambia
Your Zambia family safari begins as you arrive in Mfuwe in the South Luangwa National Park - a properly remote part of the country. On arrival you'll be picked up for a fun (and short) road transfer through banana plantations and bustling markets to your home for the next three nights, a family-friendly house on the banks of the Luangwa River. There should be time for a first game drive this evening, followed by a sundowner drink and early bed.
Days 2-4: Family Safari in the South Luangwa
The next three days of your Zambia family safari are the ideal opportunity to introduce the children to 4x4 game drives, or dig a little deeper if they've already been on safari before.
Either way, the itinerary will be adapted to your and the
children's specific requirements. A typical day would involve a
relatively early breakfast and activity such as a 4x4 game drive to
make the most of the cooler mornings, before returning to camp for
a swim and a long leisurely lunch and siesta/more pool time. Then
it's time for a late afternoon activity or game drive (again to
avoid the heat of the middle of the day, when wildlife also seeks
shelter and so is less easy to see).
The primary experience on these three days will be 4x4 game drives, where you head off to explore the bush with an expert driver/guide who can help you spot the South Luangwa's resident wildlife, from herds of elephants to hawing hippos wallowing in the river. Another great fun safari experience is a night drive to try to see the many animals that are more active at night - including leopards, porcupines and owls - by torchlight.
If your children are over 12 then you can also go on guided walking safaris where the experience is more about getting a closer feel for the bush, your guide pointing out spoor (dung), tracks and the tell-tale signs of wildlife activity that you might miss from a vehicle. Younger children can go on a shorter guided walk around the property to learn how to identify the spoor of different animals and calls of different bird species.
Alternatively, you and the children can enjoy cooking classes and papier mache mask-making at the camp, or visit a local village for a game of football. Each evening, you can toast another fun and fulfilling day with sundowner cocktails (mocktails for the children) before dinner.
Day 5: Head to the Victoria Falls
Sadly, today you are saying goodbye to the South Luangwa, but before you do there's still time for a special visit to a wonderful local textiles company on the way back to the airport in Mfuwe. You and the children can buy fun things such as giraffe height charts, elephant dung cards (!) and elegant cushion covers, all made by the local community.
Laden with your new souvenirs, take the flight from Mfuwe to
Livingstone, the gateway to the nearby Victoria Falls, one of the
most spectacular natural wonders in the world, let alone Africa.
Try to make sure the children are sitting by the window on the
flight because the views of the Zambezi below, with elephants
grazing on islands in the channel, are amazing.
You will be met at the airport for the short transfer to the next accommodation on your Zambia family safari, situated right on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream of the falls.
Day 6: Visit Victoria Falls
Today you and the children can appreciate the sheer majesty of
the Mosi-oa-Tunya (the so-called 'Smoke That Thunders' in
the local Lozi language) falls from a couple of remarkable
First, you will enjoy a 'flight of angels' - a helicopter ride
over the Victoria Falls to appreciate the sheer scale of what is
technically the largest curtain waterfall in the world. Then fly
along beneath the falls to see the dramatic canyon through which
the Zambezi then channels, creating ferocious rapids.
After landing, your guide will take you into the Victoria Falls reserve, which is almost permanently shrouded in spray thrown up by the falls, so expect to get a little wet! Then it's time for a picnic lunch on a grassy spot with zebras roaming nearby before another highlight on this Zambia family safari adventure - a visit to Livingstone Island in the Zambezi above the falls. Families with children aged 12 and over can then jump into the legendary Devil's Pool, just a few feet from where the water of the Zambezi plunges some 350ft over the edge, and a special spot for a family selfie.
Then it's time to return to your lodge for the rest of the afternoon to relax and relive the highlights from a truly special day.
Day 7: Adventures on the Zambezi River
Today you can have a well-earned lie-in, with birdcall and the gentle lapping of the river as a perfect natural wake-up call. After breakfast it's another adventurous day on your Zambia family safari. You and the children can go for a canoe paddle on the Zambezi with expert guides, take a boat out to try your hands at (catch and release) fishing and enjoy a picnic lunch.
After lunch we can arrange a visit to a local village for the children to learn a little more about everyday life in Zambia, and an art session where they can learn to draw the bizarre wildlife they have witnessed on the trip. It's a nice way for the children to recall all the amazing beasties they have encountered. This evening you can enjoy one final supper in Zambia to celebrate an adventure that will live long in the whole family's memory.
Day 8: Head for Home
Sadly it's time to return home, but you have time this morning for one last lazy breakfast and activity (perhaps a nature walk around the lodge) before you head towards the airport to make the journey home.
Charlotte C is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.