The Bangweulu Wetland System is one of Africa’s most important wetland resources and a designated Ramsar site. It is renowned for its vast population (100,000) of endemic black lechwe that occur in herds of up to 10,000. Also common are tsessebe, oribi and sitatunga. At certain times of year, there is a profusion of waterfowl, wattled crane occur in large numbers and the most notable special is of course the rare and endangered shoebill stork.
When to visit:
- January/February: Black Lechwe in their thousands.
- March/April/May: Phenomenal birding. Probably the very best months for the real purist! Water levels reach their peak in March but remain high through April and May. This attracts an incredible number of birds with Shoebills often seen in the camp! April is the best time to see Shoebill. Access to the camp is still by boat.
- June/July: Incredible density of lechwe. Birdwatching is still superlative with Shoebills never far from the camp. It’s too wet to walk far, but boat trips and game drives by day and night.
- August – October: The Bangweulu plains dry up and water returns to the Lukulu river. Shoebill Island is no longer an Island and birdwatching is mostly done of foot around the many pools. The Shoebills storks withdraw to more distant areas and get progressively hard to find. Game drives are spectacular amongst the black lechwe.
- November/December: The breaking rains brings even more lechwe to the plains around Shoebill Island, now with their recently born young. Tsessebe, also with young, come out of the termitaria woodland in herds of up to 2000 to share the new grass.
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Getting there by Air
Chimbwi (shoebill) airfield is generally accessible May to December. The 20 minute flight from Kasanka includes fantastic aerial game viewing and is well worth it.
Getting there by Road
Kasanka Trust maintains their section of the Chiundaponde road. 4 x 4 access is possible almost all year, however after heavy rain in March/April it could be exciting! 2 x 4 access is possible only with high clearance from May to December and sensible driving From January to June it is not possible to drive right into camp. Experienced 4 x 4 in convoy is essential in the rains. The road passes the Livingstone memorial turnoff and Lake WakaWaka. The journey takes 5/6 hours in the dry season and 6/7 in the wet season.
LOCATION The camp is located on an island with fantastic panoramic views. The accommodation is in simple tented chalets, under thatch roofs. Showers are ensuite, but due to the water level fluctuations and the size of the island, the long drop toilet is a little distance behind.
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