The extensive Bangweulu Basin, integrating the Bangweulu Lake and a big swamp area sits in a low basin in the middle of the Northern Zambian Plateau. The wetland is fed by 17 rivers, the leading inflow being river Chambesi and flowing out from Luapula.The wet period happens November up to March and brings about floods in the flat plain. This wetland receives 1200mm of rainfall yet much of it is lost as a result of evaporate-transpiration. The water level is different across the floodplain sometimes one and two meters. It is this periodic rising and falling of the flood water that particularly defines survival and life all over the wetland.
Bangweulu is lush with miombo woodland. The wetland alone is actually vast with grasslands subject to the depth and also period of the regular heavy rains. Usually, the wetland consist of sections of open water between permanent dense Papyrus grass as well as Phragmites reeds that are reached on small canoe via small streams.The plains happen to be marked with numerous termite mounds. The seasonal water logged plains, grasslands and also woodlands make a range of vegetation that’s an eco-system with many animals and birds during varied seasons.
Take the Great North Road from Lusaka, turn right just after Kapiri Mposhi in the direction of Mpika. This particular drive normally is about 12 hours. Go ahead and take Samfya/Mansa turning left after Serenje. Go right 10kms after the Kasanka turnoff, on the way to Livingstone memorial, proceed on this specific road for nearly 70km into the village of Chiundaponde.Another road would be to go straight to the actual Lavushi Manda turnoff along the Great North road, just before Mpika, leading directly to Chiundaponde. By the village, travel for Chikuni Island and then straight ahead for the Shoebill Camp or maybe left to Nsobe Camp. You may ask for directions at the WWF camp by Chikuni, because it is rather easy to get lost once you get out of the village.When driving, make sure you have enough fuel and spares because it is a isolated countryside. It is wise to make people keep details of when you are leaving and once you plan to return. There are actually radio facilities in Shoebill camp with a National Parks & Wildlife Services station from Chiundaponde.Access is likewise through small hired aircraft for an airstrip just across the swamp’s outskirt.
When to go
Throughout the rainy season November until March, the insects and birdlife usually are everywhere. Most of visits across the swamps are by boat. Depending on the amount of the rain over the summer, this wetland dries out adequately to allow the use of 4×4 vehicles until late April.By June up to July, the area of the floodplain becomes dry soon the lechwe and other animals move near towards the fixed swamp and Shoebill Camp. Moreover it becomes possible to enjoy walks and then experience the broad vegetation which grows over the previously open water.August is greatly within winter in the swamps; the day’s heat tends to be enjoyable while the evenings are cold owing to the lowest temperatures.
Best Lodging In Zambia
Among the few sites to experience the beauty of the wide wetland is at a simple vintage styled camp site to the south of the swamps. Shoebill Island Camp managed by Kasanka Trust is surrounded by water as well as reed islands in the rainy season. It’s possible to go fishing and also take a boat trip by the swamps. Relaxing walk-in safari tents are around for self-catering drive-in visitors or fly-in visitors. There is a small self catering camping area and safari lodges around the the swamps close to the town of Chiundaponde. Nsombe camp is actually run by the local people together with support from WWF area project. Its grass thatched cottages or chalets are extraordinary, clean and also pleasant.
What to see
The wide flood plains and swamps are a home to numerous animals and also prolific water fowl. The shallow waters provide ideal feeding grounds for many local birds and even dry season’s migrants just like the pelicans, wattle cranes, storks, spoonbills as well as ibises. Waders are likewise common, often spotted on the swamp hunting for small fish, shrimps or snails.The ideal time to find the elusive Shoebill Stork is over the wet period by December until April. Other fairly elusive birds that happen to be seen in the area are the swamp fly-catcher, marsh tchagra, marsh whydah and also the white cheeked bee-eater. The ground hornbill and bustards are likewise found while they cross the grassland for some insects.When considering the wildlife, these wetlands are home to the water loving lechwe antelope, endemic to the Bangweulu flats in large numbers. The termitaria vegetation is common site for the fast tsessebe antelope. The surrounding woodlands are home to the oribi, rare sitatunga, reedbuck, duiker, roan, wild dogs, vervet monkeys, wild pigs. The murky lake swamps have the swimming crocodiles and several wading buffalos and even hippos.This swamp is a preserved wetland having international significance in the Ramsar Convention. Great attention must be used when going within the flood plain over the dry season. These sorts of efforts are geared towards safeguarding the ecology within the park.