Sustainable Travel in Zambia

Zambia encompasses 14 ecosystems that include forest, scrubland, woodland and grassland vegetation. The varied habitats host about 12,505 identified species. Wild flowering plants are estimated to include more than 3,500 species. About 242 species of mammals are found in Zambia, with most endemic species found in woodlands and on grasslands. Nearly 800 species of birds have been identified, with 11 of those under global threat. Roughly 490 known fish species have been reported here, with Lake Tanganyika containing the most species. Zambia has 19 national parks, including two of its finest, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. They also have 31 game management areas designated as buffer zones. Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest of the national parks with abundant wildlife such as Cape buffalo, crocodile, elephant, hippo, impala, lion and zebra as well as leopard. Zambia is also the site of legendary Victoria Falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya, “Smoke that Thunders.” Two thirds of the falls are within the Zambian territory. The storied Zambezi River, which becomes the roaring Vic Falls, provides endless opportunities for exploration by canoe and boat as well as thrilling whitewater rafting. Zambia’s exceptional wildlife and dazzling scenery can be experienced on one of the last great adventures of Africa – the walking safari.

What are they doing right?

With Victoria Falls as its number one attraction, Zambia is blessed with an incredible diversity of wilderness areas and wildlife, including the spectacular South Luangwa National Park. Like many African countries, ensuring that tourism development also helps to protect this natural heritage and directly benefits Zambia’s people is vital for the future. As part of Vision 2030, Zambia’s overall national development plan, a series of five-year plans have been implemented to strengthen economic development initiatives across the country, with tourism a priority. The primary focus is on efforts to enhance cultural attractions and experiences, as well as community-based tourism in villages surrounding the country's national parks. The aim is to further protect and rebuild wildlife populations through direct partnerships with local communities, understanding that support from local people is key to long term wildlife conservation. With its prolific waterways and remote national parks, the country is an emerging travel destination that offers a wealth of off- the-beaten-track wildlife experiences and adventure travel activities, from whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River, to walking safaris amid some of Africa's most beautiful wilderness areas.

The Elephant Ranking

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Destination stewardship planning is underway at the national level with multiple stakeholders, including government, NGOs, private sector and communities, to increase understanding and awareness of sustainable tourism best practices.

Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) works with partners including the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and the Zambian Carnivore Program to deploy regular anti-snaring patrols to remove snares from the bush and by immobilizing and rescuing snared animals. The organization also supports 65 community-based scouts to help the parks department protect the flora and fauna of the Luangwa Valley. They assist with aerial surveillance and monitoring to help detect any illegal activities including carcasses, poacher’s camps, illegal fires and drying racks. Detection dogs are increasingly being used to reduce wildlife trafficking by detecting wildlife contraband. Set up in 2014 in partnership with national park service, the CSL Detection Dog Unit was Zambia’s first sniffer dog unit that works to detect illegal wildlife products and firearms being used and smuggled within and out of Zambia.

Why the Elephant Ranking?