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LIUWA PLAINS NATIONAL PARK

Images and storytelling by Andrew McDonald  

@a.mac.photo

Liuwa Plains National Park

I'm often asked which National Park is my favourite to visit in Zambia. I always find it such a hard question to answer but Liuwa Plain is a place that truly steals your heart. I've been lucky enough to spend 3 months in the park during its different seasons and each time I find it harder to leave behind. I have walked for hours over dry grasslands only to retrace those same steps in a canoe only weeks later as the flood waters arrive. The security of having no hippo or crocodiles is a welcoming feeling.

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What Liuwa lacks in its mammal species it makes up for tenfold with its diversity in birdlife, wildebeest migration and endless skies. Never before have I stood somewhere where it's impossible to see any more sky as you turn 360 degrees. It takes your breath away. During the rainy season storm clouds gather into the most dramatic spectacle you can imagine then at night I have never seen so many stars. Stargazing under an endless sky with no light pollution while lions roar and hyenas whoop is a memory that will never leave you. It's a national park with an ecosystem that seems so balanced and untouched by man. Every animal from prey to predator is a picture of health and the largest and strongest I have seen over Africa.

The famous Lady Liuwa lion pride roam and they are far from being camera shy but they are not the apex predator here. That title falls to the hyenas. Mostly associated with scavenging, here they hunt their own prey as clans of up to 80 hyena roam these endless horizons and they are the most beautiful I have seen. Spending a sundowner near a hyena den as they prepare for a night of hunting is to see another side of these misunderstood animals. During the migration, herds of wildebeest, zebra and red lechwe graze on lush green grass as far as the eye can see. Numbers of cheetah are rising rapidly and to see them at full speed in this perfect habitat is mind-blowing.

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It's a national park where for days you can drive without seeing another vehicle, a wilderness all to yourself. To spend time in Liuwa Plain is to truly lose your heart not only to Zambia, but all of Africa.

Camps & Lodges

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