Zambia, Western Zambia, Wildlife Tours

Off the beaten track in Zambia

Tailor-Made Tour
7 Days
From 7150
Big Cat Safari
Off The Beaten Track

Tour Introduction

7 Days from  7150 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

This off the beaten track safari is an intense experience. In Zambia’s wild and remote Busanga Plains followed by a quiet wind down on the edges of the evocative Zambezi.

This week-long trip suits seasoned African travellers or seriously adventurous first-timers to Africa. It’s one of the wildest and most spectacular quick forays into southern Africa.

To the “Plains of Plenty”

The safari is only available for 5 months each year. From June to October. That’s after the seasonally inundated papyrus wetlands of the Busanga swamps yield to a mosaic of islands across the floodplain. Game conditions then intensify as the dry season takes hold.

Shumba is the small and elegant camp which serves as safari base for 4 nights. “Shumba” means lion. Resident prides are the big draw here in northern Kafue. Regular sightings are the norm on these “Plains of Plenty”. But only very lucky visitors get to see the legendary channel-leaping lions of Busanga. Cheetah and wild dog are the other dominant prey species. Buffalo, wildebeest, puku and red lechwe make up most of the plains game sightings. Rare roan antelope reside here.

This part of the Kafue boasts hundreds of bird species. The area is alive with rollers, bee-eaters, kingfishers, herons and large flocks of storks. Night drives offer access to nocturnal species including genet, civet, owls and the occasional leopard. Hot air balloon trips are also on offer from August to October.

…on to the upper Zambezi

The safari takes on a quieter note near Victoria Falls. Toka Leya is the classic camp of choice on the banks of the upper Zambezi. It’s far enough away from the Falls to avoid the hustle and bustle of the regular tourist circuit but still within easy reach for local trips. Toka Leya is an ideal 2 night stay with good game on the edges of the Zambezi River.

The ending at the Victoria Falls safari hub offers either an easy route home or good access to a wide variety of safari options further afield. Into Zimbabwe (especially Hwange and Matopos) and Botswana (especially the Chobe river system and the Okavango).

Full Itinerary

Price from  7150 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1

Arrive at Lusaka International Airport.

Meet and greet and transfer via a light aircraft to the Busanga airstrip in Kafue National Park. Busanga camp is an hour and a half flight from Lusaka.

Take a 5 minute scenic helicopter flight from the Busanga airstrip over the plains in to Shumba camp.

Get familiarised and take advantage of the remainder of the day and evening with game activities. Or simply relax and take in the "Plains of Plenty".

Staying at Shumba. Includes All Meals.

Day 2

Take full advantage of activities on offer or simply relax in camp.

Days are usually dictated to by interactions with wildlife in the area. 4x4 drives by day and night plus guided walks are usually set around wildlife.

In the early part of the season and if water levels permit a swamp boat can be used to explore channels and remaining waterways.

Hot air ballooning is available from August to October. These dawn forays end with a traditional champagne bush breakfast.

Staying at Shumba. Includes All Meals.

Day 3

Continue to explore Busanga and enjoy the steady stream of wild encounters around camp and on the wider plains.

Staying at Shumba. Includes All Meals.

Day 4

Continue to enjoy activities in camp and on the wider plains away from Shumba.

Staying at Shumba. Includes Breakfast.

Day 5
Upper Zambezi

Take advantage of morning activities at Shumba.

Depart Shumba and transfer via light aircraft from Busanga airstrip to Livingstone. The flight to Livingstone takes just over an hour.

Meet and greet and transfer to Toka Leya on the Upper Zambezi.

Get familiarised in camp. Take advantage of the remainder of the day and evening with activities from camp.

Or just relax on the edge of the Zambezi River.

Staying at Toka Leya. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Upper Zambezi

Take advantage of activities in and around Toka Leya or take a day long excursion to Livingstone.

Staying at Toka Leya. Includes All Meals.

Day 7

Safari ends at Toka Leya. Transfer to Livingstone for onward journey.

Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Lion at sunset by Will Burrard-Lucas for Wilderness Safaris
Zambia Western Zambia



The elegant safari camp built on an island of fig trees in the vast “Plains of Plenty”, north Kafue.

This northern part of Kafue is a seasonally inundated grassland dotted with islands. A region dominated by a papyrus wetland that gives way to the vast floodplain of the Busanga Plains every year.

Its safari season starts at the end of the wet season in July when birding is extraordinary. This wild and remote safari area shows off its impressive diversity and large game concentrations as the dry seasons progresses. Finally, to a peak as the new rains start each November.

Shumba Camp has six substantial wood-and-canvas tented rooms. (One of which can be used as a family unit.) Each is en-suite with both in and outdoor showers. The central communal area includes a comfortable lounge and dining area. Also, a small reference library and customarily well-stocked bar. A small pool and viewing deck completes the setting.

Following the rains the Busanga swamps dominate. From mid-November to June these marshy habitats attract a wide variety of birdlife including herons, ducks and waders. Also wattled cranes, goliath herons and saddle-billed storks.

Boating and walking are ideal activities in the early part of the season. Game drives during the day and at night are especially productive as the season progresses. Kafue is a place where lion and unusual antelope dominate these remote plains.

Hot air balloon trips are on offer from August to October. These dawn forays end with a traditional champagne bush breakfast.

Busanga camp is an hour and a half flight from Lusaka. Slightly longer from Livingstone. Camp is a short helicopter flight away from the Busanga airstrip.

Swimming Pool
Air Conditioning

This small classic tented camp is located on a small island of fig trees in the heart of the Busanga Plains. The 6 wood and canvas structures cluster near a communal decked lounge and dining area with a small pool.

Local Wildlife

On game drives in open 4x4 vehicles, the channel-leaping lions of the Busanga Plains are prime targets. Also cheetah and wild dog. Plains game include puku, red lechwe, buffalo and wildebeest. On occasion the rare roan antelope.

Boasting hundreds of species, including Fülleborn's Longclaw birders are spoilt for choice. The area is alive with rollers, bee-eaters, kingfishers, herons and large flocks of storks.

Night drives offer access to nocturnal species including genet, civet, owls and the occasional leopard.

Optional Activities

Boating in the early part of the season is ideal. This is when the Plains are still largely covered by water and many of the roads are impassable. Guided walks are the perfect compliment at this time of year.

Hot air balloon trips are available at dawn from August to October.

Buffalo rest up in front of Toka Leya courtesy Wilderness Safaris
Zambia Western Zambia

Toka Leya


Upstream of Victoria Falls and overlooking islands in the Zambezi, Toka Leya is situated in Zambia’s Mosi- oa-Tunya National Park

Toka Leya is a success story in rehabilitation having rescued a degraded area and restored it to a lush riverine forest.

The lodge stretches out along the Zambezi riverbank, with communal space in the centre. A wooden walkway links all rooms and areas, and each room is airy with toiletries, fans and expansive decks. Toka Leya is family-friendly taking children over six years old and with three family rooms. A spa is on-site, offering massages and other beauty treatments at an additional cost.

The camp overlooks the Zambezi River where hippo, crocodile and elephant flourish, and there is an incredible diversity of birdlife. With a great location in the Mosi-oa-Tunya Park which hosts species such as buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and white rhino, game viewing drives are rewarding. The occasional predator is spotted, as are several sought-after bird species including African finfoot, half-collared kingfisher, African skimmer (seasonal), Schalow’s turaco and rock pratincole (seasonal).

Victoria Falls is within easy reach of camp – highly recommended for at least a day’s excursion.


Swimming Pool
Air Conditioning

Toka Leya has a spacious main communal area with gorgeous views up and down the river. A large airy, dining room and multiple comfortable sitting areas provide of positions to enjoy the view. An atmospheric bar overlooks the river, while a swimming pool is located right on the riverside. Walkways and decks link the spaces with a reception, guest toilet, shop and library.

The camp has twelve accommodation units. There are six twin-bedded canvas tents, each with two three quarter beds; three double-bedded canvas tents each equipped with a king-size bed; three family canvas tented rooms (main bedroom with one king-size bed; second bedroom with two three quarter beds). Each family room consists of two bedrooms, sharing the same bathroom and entrance.

Local Wildlife

Hippos often come up to graze within camp. bushbuck and other antelope are regular visitors

Cruises are the ideal means for accessing elephants and other wildlife plus a dazzling array of birds on the shores of the Zambezi

Birding specials include African finfoot and seasonal migrants like the African skimmer.

Optional Activities

A trip to view Victoria Falls is a standard feature on any stay in Livingstone.

A small gym in camp faces the river, as does a spa offering a variety of treatments

Embrace local culture with a tour to nearby Livingstone or to a village, school, or market

Bungee jumping, white-water rafting, helicoptering and other thrills are easily available from Livingstone (only 15 minutes from camp).

Catch-and-release fishing is seasonally available. A professional ghillie with appropriate tackle should be arranged in advance.

Guided tours of Livingstone Museum offer good insights into local and colonial history

Route Map

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Best Visited:

July to October

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

Liz Ferreira

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965