Kasanka National Park
The Kasanka National Park is one of the smaller national parks in Zambia covering an area of close to 450 sq. km. But the park is richly endowed with five rivers, many lakes, wetlands, forests and a variety of animals. It is the first national park in Zambia to be managed by a public-private partnership. A trust manages all the activities at the park in coordination with the wildlife authority. The park has an average elevation of around 4000 feet from mean sea level.
Attractions In Kasanka National Park
The beautiful antelope Puku which had gone down to a few hundred are now on a recovery path. You can see a lot of Sitatunga which are very shy and difficult to see at many other parks. There are also elephants and other animals in the park. The rare blue monkey can also be spotted in the Kasanka National Park. A total of 114 mammal species have been recorded in the national park. You can find a number of bushbucks, Kinda baboon, warthog and Vervet monkey here. The largest predators in the park are the leopards.
Perhaps the most spectacular attraction in the national park is the migration of millions of fruit bats every year. These straw-colored creatures arrive at the national park close to around ten million in number between October and December. It is in November that you have the maximum numbers of these bats at the national park. This is believed to be the largest migration of mammals on earth. The migration starts when the first rains arrive at the forest and the local fruits start to ripen.
Kasanka National Park also holds a wide variety of birds. There are about 300 species of birds in this small area. There are different habitats in the national park that hold varieties of attractive birds. The Rufous-Bellied Heron, African Pygmy Goose, and Lesser Jacana can hardly be found anywhere else in Africa. The tracts of Miombo Woodland are a paradise for the birder with many species like the Black-collared and Green Capped Eremomelas that are not found anywhere outside this area.
What To Do At Kasanka National Park?
Watching wildlife is naturally the main activity in Kasanka National Park. But one cannot miss the unique phenomenon of bat migration. Boating on the Luwombwa or other rivers in the national park can get you an opportunity to see some of the rare birds that you cannot see in other places. You can also visit the Bufumu campsite and see the tallest tree in Zambia. There are walking safaris around the Wasa lake and other smaller lakes where you can see different animals and birds.
Reaching Kasanka National Park
You can drive to Kasanka National Park through some good roads. It will take around 6 hours to complete the 500-odd kilometers to the park. There is an airstrip at the park and you can get chartered flights from almost anywhere in Zambia. It will take around one-and-a-half hours from Lusaka.
When Should You Visit Kasanga National Park?
There is no doubt that November-December is the best time because you get to see the rare phenomenon of millions of bats migrating to the park. They leave the place by Christmas, but the park is still green and lots of birds are there before heavy rains start.