Open May to December
To quote from the Zambian Tourist Board website…
“ The Great Bangweulu Basin, incorporating the vast Bangweulu Lake and a massive wetland area lies in a shallow depression in the centre of an ancient cratonic platform, the North Zambian Plateau. The basin is fed by 17 principle rivers from a catchment area of 190 000 sq. km, but is drained by only one river, the Luapula.
The area floods in the wet season between November and March, receiving an average annual rainfall of about 1200mm, but 90% of the water entering the system is lost to evapo-transpiration. The resultant effect is that the water level in the centre of the basin varies between one and two metres, causing the floodline to advance and retreat by as much as 45 kilometres at the periphery. It is this seasonal rising and falling of the flood water that dictates life in the swamps.
Man has inhabited the periphery of the swamp area for hundreds of years as it has always provided a rich source of food. But the area is so incredibly vast, it is largely left to the multitudes of wildlife that dwell off the rich resources. The current inhabitants of the Northern Province are descendants of a series of emigrations from the Congo Basin”.
The Swamps host amazing birdlife, including the rare and very special shoebill stork. This is a big attraction but we feel that even without this they merit high ratings. Not only is the birdlife exceptional but the plains that surround the swamps is home to an estimated 100,000 black lechwe, endemic to this area. Also found but in low numbers are tsessebe and buffalo.
These swamps are a great experience - whether it be for a day or a few nights.
- game drives and boating
Camps that we most regularly book
- Shoebill Island Camp (at Bangweulu Swamps) can sleep 12 people in 5 twin-bedded tents (under thatch roofs) and a reed and thatch chalet. Tents are gradually being replaced with reed and thatch chalets on platforms. Each tent has its own private shower and toilet. All tents have ensuite shower but some have a private loo about 10 metres behind the tents. The dining room overlooks the river and plain alive with birds and lechwe. This is the camp to stay at if you are looking for the famous Shoebill Stork (best time March to August).
- Map of Zambia with Shoebill Camp