Liuwa Plain National Park – Things always seem to happen when you least expect them

Liuwa Plain is still open

Zambia was not on our list at that time. We had planned a trip for May to the South Luangwa Park. But then Dan from Mavunje Camp told us that he went to Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia about 14 days ago. Guido could not believe what Dan said. He read about this park in 2008, and he always wanted to visit it.

At that time there was no infrastructure and an adventurous approach. Time by time, the park was developed. But for us, it was never possible to go there. The Liuwa Plain National Park offers the second largest migration in the world. The vast area is completely flooded during the rainy season and therefore the park closes for self-drivers in mid-December.

Since the rainy season was not present this year, the park remained open, and it should definitely stay open until Christmas. We spontaneously decided to change our plans and get in the car for a 10-hour drive the next day to visit the park. We just hoped it was still open.

3 hours for a form

After a three-hour procedure at the border – it was only about a form to determine the ‘road tax’ – we drove through a greenish Zambia and arrived at the park administration in the afternoon. With a laugh, the young lady said: “Yes, we are open” and everything was set.

A 37 km drive through deep sand and it slowly got better and the further north we got, the firmer the ground was. We decided us to book the most central camp. It is located in the middle of the park. We can proceed strategically and explore the park in a star shape.

Wildebeest, zebras and a lot of ‘nothing’

The vastness that presented itself to us was simply fantastic. Although we were already very late, the herds were still present and formed compounds of up to several hundred animals. In October/November the travel time is surely better, but we could get an excellent impression. At the night of the second day the rainy season started. It rained the whole night and also the next day. By luck, we found a hyena den. Unfortunately, the little ones did not show themselves. We spent some time with the females at the den.

The park is bursting with abundance and the behavior of the animals is accordingly. We could observe courtship dances of the crowned cranes as well as fights of wildebeest. Fish Eagle belonged here the same as the Martial Eagle, which we were allowed to see now already for the second time.

The water was coming

Due to the rain, the park changed. The herds split into small groups and there was no sign of predators. There were no lions, cheetahs and wild dogs around – but we saw heaps of wet eagles that looked like wet poodles. Several times, we had to cross fords of 40 – 50 cm depth. It was clear that the plain fills up quite fast as soon as a continuous rain starts. We were probably the last guests of the season. Liuwa Plain will see us again – at another season, in another year.

We found a paradise in Nioma

Since the way to Kasane was again an 10 hours drive, we decided to stop over in a camp, directly on the Zambezi. We paid10 USD/p.p. and got a place that could not have been more beautiful. Honestly – a Braai place about 30 meters above the Zambezi: it really does not get much better.

Now we have arrived at Kasane in Botswana and 72 days in the bush are waiting for us.

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