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Walking with the lions

May 10, 2013


Zambia is fully engaged in the rehabilitation and subsequent release of lions back into the wild. This is not just an opportunity for the country to lend a hand to Mother Nature by helping to preserve these majestic animals, it is also a tourism opportunity for visitors to have an up-close and personal experience with the lions.

Lion Encounter operates stage one of the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust's four stage Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program. The first stage of the program involves the young lions being taken out into the Bush, allowing them to build confidence in their natural habitat and practice their hunting techniques before being released into stage two of the program.

Joining the lions walks, participants are actively assisting in the pre-release training for the cubs as well as giving funding for ALERT to develop all stages of the release program, implement conservation and research programs to protect Africa's precious habitat and wildlife, and engage in a variety of community development and empowerment schemes for those living in and around wildlife conservation areas.

For Lion Encounter Zambia, guests are collected from their lodges and comfortably transported a short distance to the Boma - a hospitality suite overlooking the Zambezi River within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park - where a friendly hospitality team is waiting to greet participants with a welcome soft-drink or teas and coffees for the early risers, after which they are shown to their seats.

Guests enjoy a short film to give them information on the lion release program, and the film explains why it is necessary to facilitate such a project. It also shows guests some behind the scenes footage regarding ALERT's others efforts, which benefit communities bordering conservation areas run by the ALERT Communities Trust (ACT) and its other wildlife conservation and research programs through the Conservation Centre for Wild Africa (CCWA).

All participants of the walk then receive the all-important dos and don'ts in a safety talk delivered by their guide. Guests are then ready to meet the lions who are already waiting for them in the Bush.

During the walk itself, guests will be accompanied by experienced guides, handlers, and scouts that ensure rigorous safety procedures are upheld, allowing guests to enjoy watching the lions play, hunt, and enjoy their natural habitat. At times, the lions may rest, allowing guests for some close encounters and opportunities to get a photo with the lions. Guests’ experiences will be enhanced by hearing about the lion as a species as well as receiving the latest updates on the progress of the release program.

For more information, visit the Zambia Tourism Board .


Wildlife Safaris in Zambia's National Parks


One of the highlights of your trip to Zambia for the ATA Marketing Congress or any occasion, will be the opportunity to explore it's vastness, which includes a fine selection of National Parks and wilderness areas. The chance to discover truly unexplored regions of Africa's subcontinent are yours. Safari opportunities in Zambia abound! Whether on foot, by boat or canoe, on horseback, micro light or by open vehicle, Zambia offers mountains of the real Africa. Bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique, Zambia lies at the heart of the subcontinent, It is untainted by mass tourist development and offers up unsurpassable natural beauty to those who choose to delve into its timeless origins. You can choose from luxurious lodges or camps that blend in with the surroundings for a hospitable stay in any of Zambia's national parks.


Kafue National Park
Only two hours to the west of Lusaka, Kafue National Park is, at 22,500 square kilometers, one of the largest and most diverse wilderness reserves in Africa. The Lufupa and Lunga tributaries of the kafue river are the core of its watershed system and flow into the park from the north. The Kafue consists of open grassy plains, miombo and mopane woodland, and patches of Zambezi teak, and is best known as home to elephant, buffalo, red lechwe, cheetah, roan and sable. Over 400 different species of birds have been recorded in the Kafue Flats area alone.

The Luangwa river valley
Considered by many to be one of the most prestigious wildlife sanctuaries anywhere on earth, the South Luangwa National Park is one of beautiful riverine woodland, replete with a vast range of large game mammals. Elephant and lion are numerous as are large numbers of antelope. Naturally occurring are Thornicroft's giraffes, particular to this valley region. Nile crocodile are more abundant in the Luangwa River than any other river in Zambia.

The less renowned North Luangwa National Park is the epitome of the remote wilderness area but access is limited only to licensed tour operators.

One of the country's smallest national parks, it has been managed privately since 1990 with the profits from tourism directed back into the community. It boasts no less than eight lakes and four rivers, which offer spectacular wetland game species, fish and birdlife. Small pockets of swamp forest can be found as well as the million fruit bats that come to roost during the rainy season.

This small game park boasts over 3,000 lechwe antelope as well as a bird refuge sheltering an estimated 428 species, including a number of rare breeds.

Sumbu National Park

During the dry season, herds of elephants can be found in Sumbu on the 80 kilometer shoreline of Lake Tanganyika's which includes sandy beaches, vertical cliffs and rocky coves. This 2,020 sq. km park offers a diverse range of wildlife, including hartebeest, buffalo, zebra, lion and leopards. It is an excellent viewing platform for flamingo during their migrations, as well as an angler's paradise.

Lower Zambezi

Downstream from Victoria Falls, this relatively new national park is a superb location for big game viewing along the breathtaking Zambezi River. Canoe safaris are a popular means of getting up close to elephant, hippo and buffalo, just to name a few, do be aware, however, of the large crocodiles which also inhabit its waters!

Nyika Plateau
The Great Rift Valley provides the backdrop for magnificent tropical Alpine flora found in this 80 sq. km park, a scenic high plateau more than 2,000 meters above sea level. Flower enthusiasts will enjoy the bounty of orchids to be discovered, while ornithologists will be overwhelmed with the flood of migratory birds, particularly in November and December.


The Bangweulu Floodplains in Zambia's remote northern reaches are a watery wilderness home to millions of birds feasting in its nutrient rich shallows, including the very special shoe bill stork. It also attracts the endemic black lechwe antelope by the thousands &endash; a real sight to see.

Chete Island wildlife and bird sanctuary

Two islands, about 160 km upstream from the dam wall at Lake Kariba, form this isolated park and wildlife estate: Chete and Sekula. Safari camps have only recently been established and afford the wildlife enthusiast the untouched beauty of Zambezi Valley wildlife and surrounding scenery.

The Africa Travel Association in cooperation with the Zambia National Tourist Office, is providing the photos and information in this section on Zambia as a preview of what the hundreds of delegates from North America, other African countries and around the world can expect when they visit Zambia before, during and after this year's International Marketing Congress. From its National Parks and vast wilderness areas to the host cities of Lusaka and Livingstone, we know it will be an unforgettable journey and an outstanding event and learning experience. If you have items on any aspect of travel and lifestyle in Zambia, please send to

Above material and images have been supplied for use by the Africa Travel Association courtesy of the Zambia National Tourist Board