LOCHINVAR NATIONAL PARK
Lochinvar National Park
O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best.
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
Lochinvar is the shining hero of a ballad from the poem Marmion (1808) by Sir Walter Scott. It is also the name of a lake in Scotland and the name of company that produces water heaters
It is the name of a really nice gem of a National Park which lies south west (as in the poem) of Lusaka in Zambia, on the south side of the Kafue River.
The Park is situated on the southern edge of the Kafue Flats, a wide floodplain of the Kafue River between Itezhi tezhi dam in the west and Kafue Gorge in the east.
It includes the large, shallow Chunga Lagoon which fluctuates considerably in size with variations in river levels.
I loved camping on the edge of the lagoon. Very peaceful in a very natural setting.
Don´t forget to come completely self-sufficient because there is not much (or any) infrastructure here.
Lochinvar is particularly well known for the large herds of Kafue lechwe, endemic to the Kafue flats. You’ll find very large numbers of these Kafue lechwe here, one of three subspecies of lechwe found in Zambia. More than 30 000 of them make the flats their home and move seasonally according to the flood level.
They feed on grasses and herbs in water up to a meter deep and are often seen wading, swimming or running in and around the Chunga Lagoon.
I really enjoy walking around the edges of the lagoon making photos of the Lechwe splashing water around and the many many birds.
The second (or first) special attraction of Lochinvar is that it offers truly outstanding birding opportunities with over 420 recorded species in its 428 square kilometers.
Waterbirds are logically especially abundant.
Among its “specials” are migratory birds rarely seen in Zambia, such as the Terek sandpiper.
On my last visit in early September 2020 we spotted over 100 different bird species in 4 hours time!
Closer to the entrance of the park and away from the lagoon you will find Sebanzi Hill, an archaeological site. It was the site of an Iron Age village. Look out for the beautiful old Baobab Tree with a hollow trunk large enough for several people to sleep in.
So if you are “tired” of roaring lions, herds of elephants and other big 5 participants, come and enjoy the peace, birds and lechwe here in Lochinvar National Park!