Vast plains cover most of the area which remains comparatively poorly known. During and after the rains much of this area floods or becomes partially inundated and as the dry season progresses this water recedes leaving numerous small pans. There are also small stretches of Diplorhynchus scrub, woodland of various formations (including types dominated by Burkea africana and Baikiaea plurijuga) and patches of riparian forest. The entire park is situated just north of Kalabo, between the Luambimba and Luanginga rivers.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Huge numbers of waterbirds can congregate at this site. Egretta vinaceigula is a regular visitor; concentrations of more than 10 are not uncommon and groups of over 30 have been recorded. Grus carunculatus is a common resident or visitor—counts have exceeded 1,000 individuals at times. Glareola nordmanni and Charadrius asiaticus are both abundant passage migrants, and the site is clearly of exceptional importance for the former species, which has been recorded recently in tens of thousands with some regularity (while one estimate in 1977 was of hundreds of thousands of birds). To date, this is the only known Zambian breeding locality for Chlidonias hybridus. Mirafra apiata and Spizocorys conirostris have isolated populations in the general area and other grassland birds include Falco rupicoloides, Neotis denhami and Eupodotis senegalensis. Recently, large numbers of Turnix hottentotta have been recorded, although these may be seasonal.
Non-bird biodiversity: A wide variety of mammals occur, including Panthera leo (VU), Lycaon pictus (EN), Acinonyx jubatus (VU) and, in particularly large numbers, Connochaetes taurinus—the largest protected population in Zambia (Jeffery et al. 1989, 1996).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
According to park staff there are over 160 villages within its boundary and consequently there are many cattle as well. At present this is not a major threat, but human encroachment needs to be carefully monitored. There is much illegal hunting, which affects the larger mammals and perhaps also the birds.