Way out in the far western reaches of Zambia, close to the Angolan border, is a seldom visited National Park which is home not only to the second largest Wildebeest migration in Africa, but also to a brand new camp that’s part of one of the most ambitious African conservation projects ever undertaken, Time and Tide’s King Lewanika Lodge.
African Park’s ambitious goal is nothing less than saving Africa’s wild places. They’ve identified a handful of critically threatened ecosystems across Africa and have made it their mission to save these areas. Their approach to restoring these amazing places to their former glory has three main themes:
- Partnering with local communities. Without local buy-in there’s no chance of success.
- Finding the right tourism outfits and joining forces with them with a view to connecting the right kind of traveller with these experiences.
- Pouring money and resources into these areas to reintroduce wildlife and to make sure the rangers are fairly paid and have the right gear for the daunting anti poaching and patrolling jobs they have to do.
A prime example of the success of this ambitious project is Liuwa Plain National Park. Their first order of business was to step up anti-poaching patrols and bring stability back to the ecosystem by reintroducing cornerstone species like cape buffalo, and predator species like cheetah and lion. In fact, Liuwa’s lion population was down to just one particularly deadly female – Lady Liuwa – and through African Parks’ efforts the population is slowly coming back. Sadly Lady Liuwa was found dead earlier this year, but her family remains and will hopefully start to thrive.
The full story is too detailed to recount here but the upshot is that Liuwa is a massive National Park with just one lodge in it and due to its relative inaccessibility, when you’re there, you essentially have the entire park to yourself.
The park itself is astonishing and quite unlike any other ecosystem you’re likely to find in Southern Africa. The seemingly endless grasslands feel more like a scene out of the Serengeti than what I am used to in the rest of Zambia. Quite aside from the stunning natural beauty of the place, visiting the park lets you feel like you are part of this incredible conservation story. In fact the money you spend to come here has a directly helps fund the project.
Liuwa’s success stands out in stark contrast to the seemingly relentless onslaught of bad news about Africa’s wild places, and gives a nature geek like me some genuine hope for the future.
Liuwa’s season pretty well runs opposite to high season in Zambia but that means it can be combined in interesting ways with points elsewhere – like the desert in Botswana or the Okavango Delta. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Time & Tide’s other new project for this year, Miavana in Madagascar which you can pair with King Lewanika if you want to combine a unique wildlife experience with desert island luxury.
Sounds pretty perfect, right? Get in touch and you can be on your way before you’re able to find Liuwa Plain on a map.
If you’re thinking of a trip to Southern Africa, Dan’s your multi-award-winning man. Drop him a line to start planning.