Visit the Park

Liuwa Plain

5 Reasons to Visit

  1. Liuwa Plain is home to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa but without the crowds so you can enjoy this spectacle in an intimate and jaw-dropping setting.

  2. The vast natural landscapes of Liuwa are an epitome of wild Zambia, especially with the dramatic thunderstorms during the rainy season which still provides for exceptional wildlife viewing.

  3. Liuwa is home to the famous Lady Liuwa – a famous lioness who was the sole survivor after all of the lions had been poached out. Today, due to our reintroduction efforts, she is now part of a small but growing pride of lions.

  4. Liuwa’s wildlife diversity is stunning. Along with the spectacular wildebeest migration, there are cheetahs, hyaenas, lions, eland, tsessebe and an incredible array of birds including the wattled crane.

  5. Experience the historic and epic Kuomboka festival when the plains are flooded, where the king and his procession move to higher grounds by boat along the river.

Travel Information

When To Visit

The weather is cooler from May to July, warmer from August to October and the rains typically occur from November to April.

The seasons are as follows:

Short dry season (May - July)

This is the period when the park is dry and accessible. The temperature ranges between 9 to 15 degrees Celsius. It can be windy and cloudy during this time. Early burning is also practised during this period. When the water recedes, a variety of birds feast on fish in shallow dams and streams dry up. Large flocks of cranes are abundant inside the park, making this the best time to photograph birdlife. Any lechwe that are still inside the park start to go down to the wetlands. Large herds of wildebeests congregate outside the park in the Luola to Mushukula areas.

Long wet season (January - April)

During this time, the temperatures range between 15 to 22 degrees Celsius. The plain is flooded, forcing most people to move to higher land and the famous Kuomboka ceremony takes place. At the peak of the floods inside the park the area experiences flash floods and thunderstorms. Wildebeest and zebra start leaving the park along the Luanginga river to the west and lechwe enter the park from the Luanginga river wetlands and congregate at the centre of the park, especially around the palm tree areas south of Matiamanene. Bird life begins to flourish in every part of the park.

Long dry season (August – October)

Temperatures range between 22 to 32 degrees Celsius during this time and the first rains typically start mid or late October, depending on the conditions of that particular year. Bird life is still abundant although most populations can be seen at the large fishing pools dotted around the plains of Liuwa. Vegetation dries up and trees drop their leaves and most pools in the park dry up.  A large number of wildebeest return to the park through the northern corridor, while a concentration of the wildlife population is restricted to the north. Towards the end of the season, trees start blossoming and the colour of the vegetation starts changing from dry to green.

Short wet season (November – December)

This is the start of the rainy season. The area starts experiencing more cloud cover, thunderstorms and lightening. A variety of flowering plants and green grass covers the park and the spectacular wildebeest movement occurs. Wildebeest start having calves and accompany large herds inside the park. The best predator action occurs during this time as hyeanas prey on young wildebeest calves and vultures rush to the leftover carcasses.

Need To Know

Liuwa is open to visitors for most of the year (1 April to 15 December). Please note that accessing Liuwa during the dry season (June through December) requires 4x4 driving. Before June, Liuwa can only be accessed by plane. The park is open to visitors between 06:00 and 18:00.

Park entry fees for self-drive visitors are below:

SADC citizens or foreigners:

Park Entry Fees (Person/Day) - 

  • Foreigners (non-Zambian citizens/residents and non-SADC members):
    • Children: $10 USD
    • Adults: $30 USD
  • SADC citizens and SADC established residents: 
    • Children: $7 USD
    • Adults: $20 USD
  • Vehicle Entry 
    • $15 USD

Accommodation (Person/Night) prices are exclusive of park fees -

  • Community Campsites - all income will go directly to the community:
    • Children: $7 USD
    • Adults: $15 USD

Support Services Provided by African Parks -

  • Liuwa Plain scout (in person vehicle/day):
    • $35 USD
  • Vehicle recovery/towing:
    • Max. $200 USD

Zambian citizens and established residents:

Park Entry Fees (Person/Day) - 

  • Zambian Citizens and established residents in Zambia:
    • Children: ZMW 10 
    • Adults: ZMW 30 
  • Vehicle Entry 
    • ZMW 30

Accommodation (Person/Night) prices are exclusive of park fees -

  • Community Campsites - all income will go directly to the community:
    • Children: ZMW 70
    • Adults: ZMW 150 

Support Services Provided by African Parks -

  • Liuwa Plain scout (in person vehicle/day):
    • $20 USD
  • Vehicle recovery/towing:
    • Max. $200 USD

Note:

Passports must be shown upon arrival for verification.

A Zambian resident is defined as a non-Zambian person that is in possession of a National

Registration Card (NRC), and can show it upon arrival in Kalabo. Work permits will not be accepted as proof of residency in Zambia.

Children rates apply to children that are between 12 to 15 years old at the time of their arrival in

Liuwa. All fees are waived for children that are 11 years old and younger.

Vehicle recovery/towing rates are subject to change, dependent on fuel price increases and the distance from Kalabo.

Regrettably, we cannot accept credit cards or traveller cheques. All rates include 16% VAT.

Cancellation/Downgrading (reducing the total value):

- 14 days or less prior to arrival (or after arrival) will result in a 100% modification fee

- 15 to 30 days before arrival will result in a 50% modification fee

- 31 to 45 days before arrival will result in a 25% modification fee

- Cancellation is calculated on the total value of the reservation that was cancelled; downgrading is calculated on the difference between the reservation costs before and after the changes were made.

Health Essentials

Zambia is a high malaria area, although no serious incidents have occurred with visitors to Liuwa. We recommend taking anti-malaria medications. Doctors advise taking prophylactics two weeks before arrival and continuing two weeks after leaving. Your doctor can advise you of the most suitable drug available. Bear in mind that Malaria is a much higher risk during or just after the rainy season.

Liuwa has no history of tsetse flies, although they can be found in other parks like Kafue National Park when driving through to Mongu. Precaution should be exercised, as prevention is better than cure.

Guests should bring their own drinking water to the park, but water for washing will be provided. Bottled water is widely available in Zambia and Kalabo but not in Liuwa itself.

Travel Essentials

English is the official language in Zambia and is widely spoken throughout the country. The local language Lozi is spoken in the Western Province of Zambia, where Liuwa Plain National Park is located.

When visiting Zambia, most nationalities can easily obtain a 30-day tourist visa when arriving at the airport in Lusaka, Livingstone or Ndola. A tourist visa will cost US$50. Most citizens of African countries, however are exempted from visa requirements to enter Zambia. The local currency is the Zambian Kwacha. There are multiple exchange bureaus and ATMs available in Lusaka where one can easily change euros or US dollars.

Safety Essentials

Zambians are very friendly and helpful. As far as personal safety is concerned, one can drive alone throughout the country including Liuwa without any problem.  However, precaution should be taken as theft is possible in the bigger towns and cities.  Petty theft is as common as in any major city. Be very aware when walking around, especially if you are carrying anything of value as there have been incidents of pickpockets. Never leave your vehicle unlocked and don't change money on the streets. This is less of a problem in the rural areas like Kalabo and Liuwa.

How to Get There

From Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia, get onto the Lumumba Road in the industrial area. At a set of traffic lights, look for a sign to Mongu and take Mumwa Road (M9). Stay on this road for roughly 620 km, passing turnoffs to Mumbwa and Kaoma.  You will also pass through Kafue National Park. The only places to get fuel once you leave Lusaka are Kaoma and then Mongu.

Once in Mongu stay on the same road unless you need supplies. The road goes into the heart of Mongu where you get to a roundabout. At this roundabout, go straight, passing the government buildings on your right-hand side. You will come to a T-junction, at which point you will turn left and head down to the harbour. Turn right and follow the route for roughly one hour until you get to the Zambezi River. After crossing the river, drive straight for another hour. You will find a T-junction, turn right and go through Kalabo until the harbour. Liuwa’s headquarters and visitor centre are at the harbour on your left.

For those who prefer to drive, Liuwa Plain National Park has its own airstrip inside the park, but does not offer any commercial flight services. Permission for landing should be requested in writing to liuwatourism@african-parks.org

Accommodation

Booking/Enquire