Lower Zambezi National Park

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
A large and varied area about 100 km east of Lusaka, flanking the Zambezi river and bisected by its escarpment. The north-western half lies on the plateau, and is mainly covered by miombo woodland, with some munga and occasional strips of riparian forest. The escarpment is very steep in places, generally inaccessible and thus little explored. The valley floor is covered by a mosaic of mopane, deciduous thicket and munga. The Zambezi is a broad, but well-defined river along this stretch, with varying numbers of sandbars and small islands depending on the water-level. There are patches of riparian forest, many oxbow lakes and areas of flood-plain. Several permanent tourist lodges are just outside the park and a number of seasonal camps lie within. Most roads become impassable during the rains.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Large numbers of waterbirds may congregate, especially at drying oxbows. Sandbanks are home to enormous numbers of Merops nubicoides and smaller numbers of M. bullockoides, and the miombo and mopane holds a wide array of characteristic species. Guttera pucherani, Pitta angolensis, Nicator gularis, Andropadus importunus and Erythrocercus livingstonei inhabit the deciduous thickets. Circus macrourus is a rare passage migrant and non-breeding visitor.

Non-bird biodiversity: A wide variety of mammals are known to occur, including large numbers of Loxodonta africana (EN).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Recently resurrected as a National Park; the area had been degazetted and game numbers decimated. Now, despite continual pressure from poaching, game numbers are increasing and the park is becoming a popular tourist destination once more. It seems unlikely that the birdlife has suffered or is suffering in anyway. However, the effects of a dramatic increase in the non-native water-hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes require investigation.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lower Zambezi National Park. Downloaded from on 11/04/2021.