Liuwa Plain National Park
In the west of the country, the Liuwa Plain National Park plays host to Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration.
The Liuwa Plain National Park is located on the extreme western edge of Zambia along the Angolan border. The vast plains, formerly the hunting grounds for Lozi kings, was proclaimed a National Park in 1972 and is largely cut off from the rest of the country when the Zambezi floodwaters spread out across the plains between Mongu (the nearest large town) and Kalabo (a small frontier town).
The 3600 sq.kms. park is dominated by huge plains, dotted with small woodland islands and since 2003 has been managed by African Parks. It is home to the second largest wildebeest migration (after the Serengeti), which gather on the north-west plains during the start of the dry season and slowly graze their way southwards until the onset of the rains again in November.
Aside from the wildebeest, the park has always been a stronghold for oribi and has growing numbers of tsessebe, red lechwe, and zebra. Hyaena have traditionally been the apex predator in the park, but lion and cheetah are also resident and wild dogs were seen regularly up until 2016 – since then sightings have been sporadic. Other species returning include roan antelope and very occasionally sightings of elephant occur, a sure sign that the protection now afforded by African Parks is starting to pay dividends. Since 2007, African Parks have introduced a number of other species including eland and buffalo.
A total of 334 species of birds has been recorded and the birdlife is particularly spectacular in the rains when large flocks of migratory cranes, storks, egrets, pratincole and waterfowl are seen. Liuwa is an important breeding ground for the rare wattled crane.
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