Vacations to Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia
If you're looking to really get off the beaten track, Liuwa Plains National Park fits the bill perfectly. It's a pint-sized compared with Zambia's other reserves, but this former royal hunting ground is teeming with wildlife. In the wet seasons, the plains flood to reveal a lush landscape punctuated by islands. With fewer visitors than other parks and a remote location on the border with Angola, this is one of Zambia's best-kept secrets.
Once you've touched down and got your bearings, it's time to set out on a safari with a twist. Rare bird species such as the wattled crane soar above grazing zebra, buffalo and antelope as they are stalked by fearsome big cats, including lions, leopards and cheetahs. So far, so safari. But Liuwa Plains has an ace up its sleeve. Most visitors come in November for one specific reason: Africa's second-largest wildebeest migration. It's one of nature's greatest spectacles, so make sure you time your visit right.
One striking feature of the park is its perfect flatness: the lush savannah here is so uninterrupted that visitors often make a beeline for a tree the locals call the 'lone palm'. Grab a snapshot before admiring the raw landscape in full panorama. If you're lucky, a storm will provide thrilling theatrics as lightening illuminates the gold-green savannah in a light show you won't forget in a hurry.
A short drive south of Liuwa Plains brings you to Mongu, the capital of Zambia's Western Province. It's a vibrant town renowned for the yearly Kuomboka festival. Celebrating the Lozi king's passage to higher ground during flood season, it draws visitors thanks to the monarch's eye-catching barge, crowned with a huge black elephant.
Catch the great wildebeest migration
Visit the 'lone palm'
Experience Kuomboka in Mongu