Munjili Wilderness Experience: ‘Home of the Muchinga Walking Safari’


The Munjili Wilderness Experience is in northern Zambia and stretches from Lavushi Manda in the south to the Kapishya Hot Springs in the north and also includes the North Luangwa National Park. The route shares boundaries with the Bangweulu Wetlands in the west, North and South Luangwa National Park and Lavushi Manda National Park. Together, these destinations offer what is arguably one of the finest tourist destinations in Zambia – still largely unknown to many tourists. 

The area has three predominant seasons: September to November (hot and dry), December to March (hot and wet) and April to August (cool and dry). Daily temperatures range between 18° and 24°C. 

The towns of Kapiri-Mposhi and Serenje usually have sufficient fuel stocks unless there is a countrywide fuel shortage. Driving time from Lusaka is approximately six hours (660km). If you intend to continue further north, carry enough supplies with you for the onward journey. Consult local tour operators for information about status of the roads as they can be inaccessible during the rainy season. This route is in a malaria risk area, so contact your doctor or pharmacist about appropriate prophylactics.

Mpika market is a worthwhile stop for stocking up on supplies. The market is normally stocked with a variety of veggies, forest products such as the delicious mopane worms (caterpillars), dry fresh water fish and chikanda (a delicacy prepared from wild orchid tubers and peanuts).

Reasons to visit:

The route includes a number of well-known attractions such as the Mutinondo Wilderness Area, a haven for bird-lovers at the edge of the Muchinga Escarpment, the Shiwa Ngandu Estate, a grand English-style homestead, built in the 1920s, the Kapishya Hot Springs and rock art Nachikufu Caves. 

The unique scenic views of the escarpment, wilderness areas, rich cultural heritage and abundant wildlife resources makes this route a real African experience. The Luangwa ecosystem with its characteristic Miombo and Mopane Woodlands has unique scenic views in alternating landscapes. The Muchinga escarpment and plateau supports one of the largest and most significant wildlife populations in Africa. Among the regular wildlife to spot while on this route include black lechwe, buffalo, elephant, hippo, zebra, kudu, impala, greater kudu, eland, waterbuck, black rhinoceros, warthog, leopard, spotted hyena, baboon, velvet monkeys and lions. Two endemic ungulate subspecies, Cookson’s wildebeest (connochates taurinus cooksoni) and Thornicrofts giraffe (giraffa camelopardalis thorncrofti), are confined to the Luangwa Valley. The region is the wintering ground of the white stork (ciconia ciconia) and a habitat for the endemic Lilian’s lovebird (agapornis lilianae) and the black-cheeked lovebird (agapornis nigregenis).

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