The Republic of Zambia is located in Southern Africa; it borders DRC, Tanzania, Malawi and most of the countries in Southern Africa apart from the Republic of South Africa. As at 2010. The country’s population was estimated at 13,092,666 distributed among 73 ethnic groups. There are 20 national parks and 34 management areas; occupying approximately 30% of the county. Luambe, West Lunga, and the Nyika Plateau are considered some of the regions with a substantial number of wildlife. In 2015, Lusaka National Park near the capital city Lusaka was proclaimed as the county’s newest park.
Zambia's Top National Parks
Kafue National Park
Kafue National Park is located in western Zambia and is the largest park in the state, it covers an area of 8,649 square miles; nearly the size of Massachusetts. The park was named after the Kafue River that stretches from Northwestern province through Central province and finally the Southern Province. The park was established in 1924 by the British colonial government who moved the native people of the land; the Nkoya, to pave the way for the park. It is popular for a wide range of antelopes, zebras, the blue wildebeest, and Lions. It is vastly covered by savanna grasslands consisting of miombo trees and a few patches of dambos. The southern part of the park experiences the Zambezian and Mopane woodlands ecoregion that is characterized by mopane trees. During the dry season, animals migrate to the Zambezian flooded grasslands that is characterized by marshy swamps.
South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is located in eastern Zambia south of Luangwa River. It was founded in 1938 as a game reserve, but in 1972, it was declared a national park. It covers an area of 3494 square miles, making it the second largest national park in the country. The park depends on the Luangwa River as the primary source of water for the more than 60 species of animals and 400 species. Majority of the big five species of animals are found in the park except for the rhino that has been poached to extinction. It is popular for is large herds of elephants and the cape buffaloes. During the dry season, animals converge in large numbers around the oxbow lagoons formed by the Luangwa River.
Lower Zambezi National Park
The Lower Zambezi National Park is located in southeastern Zambia. It lies north of the Zambezi River. Initially, the park was considered a private game reserve of the president until 1983 when it was declared a national park. The park is undeveloped and is considered one of the wildest parts of Zambia. The number of tourists visiting the park is minimal due to the unavailability of roads, and one is unlikely to come across other tourists within the park as most visitors prefer the use of boats and aircraft. Even though the park is large, animals concentrate on the valley floor. It is renowned for its large herds of cape buffalo, elephants, antelopes and occasional sightings of the Cape wild dog.
Nsumbu National Park
Nsumbu National Park also referred to a Sumbu is located in the Nothern Province of Zambia, it lies on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika and covers an are of approximately 772 square miles with a 63 mile stretch along the shore of the lake. The park is bordered by the Kaputa Game Management Area and the Tondwa Game Management Area. The Lufumbu river dissects the park from west to east while Nkamba and Chisala Rivers drain into Nkamba and Sumbu Bays respectively. Various species of animals are found in the park among them warthogs and the sitatunga. The park is also home to the rare blue duiker antelope.
Environmental Threats To The National Parks In Zambia
The parks of Zambia are threatened by human activities and climate change. Poaching led to the extinction of certain species of animals particularly the rhino and many more are facing a similar fate. The construction of roads, restaurants, and airports within the park has led to increased urbanization within the parks which is leading to destruction of natural habitats.