The Bangweulu Wetlands is a watery wilderness of lakes, seasonally flooded grasslands, swamp and unspoiled miombo woodland that lies 50km to the north of Kasanka. This rarely visited part of Zambia is the only place in Africa to see major numbers of black lechwes (antelopes with long, curved antlers). Bangweulu is also known for its birds. Some 400 species have been noted, and a particular highlight for twitchers is the strange and rare shoebill stork.
It's one of several national parks run by African Parks (www.african-parks.org).
The best time to see the lechwe herds is from June to July as the waters have begun receding, leaving vast plains of fresh green grass. September to November is great for general birdwatching, though you may not see shoebills at this time (March to April is best for these – though even then you're never guaranteed).
There are estimated to be some 100,000 black lechwe in the park, enough to rival the great wildebeest migrations of the Serengeti, and the endless sound of thousands of lechwe hooves clattering and splashing through the marshes could be one of the standout images of Zambia. The wetlands are also home to the swamp-dwelling sitatunga and many other antelope species, including oribi, tsessebe, bushbuck and reedbuck. Attracted by rich pickings, jackals are often seen and hyenas often heard at night, and, when the floodwaters have receded, herds of elephants and buffaloes venture here. African Parks are in the process of introducing more animals into the park.
There are a range of guided trips which allow visitors unique ways to explore the park. From April and May you can arrange canoe trips (per person ZMW200) or motorised boat journeys (per person ZMW400), as well as trips to visit the shoebill nest areas (per person ZMW200). During the drier months between August to October there are no boat trips, and instead guided walks or self-drives take place for wildlife viewing.