Blue Lagoon National Park

This Park is an undiscovered gem. The vast plains are spectacular in the dry season and transform completely from a dry grass flatland to a watery wonderland in the wet season, as the flats fill with water and the migratory birds arrive from far and wide.

Until recently, this park was not open to the public as it fell under the preserve of the Defence Ministry.

It was established more than 40 years ago by the Critchleys, a retired colonel from the British Army and his wife Erica – an environmentally oriented farming family who then sold it to the National Parks Department.

Their farmhouse still exists which is now the Park reception. A little further on are two old chalets and two new chalets available for accommodation.

Blue Lagoon lies only 120kms west of Lusaka on the Kafue Flats and the vast floodplain attracts thousands of Kafue lechwe, zebra, sitatunga, some buffalo and numerous waterbirds. The plains are fringed with acacia woodland. This park is an birdwatchers dream. The abundance and variety is astounding and the fact that it has not been opened up until recently and is still undeveloped, makes it one of those last untouched places left in Africa.

This park, along with the Lochinvar National Park on the other side of the Kafue Flats together hold the largest concentrations of the Kafue Lechwe and herds numbering in the hundreds can be observed here.

The Lechwe is the most water-loving antelope. It loves these habitats of floodplains and seasonally inundated grasslands. It frequently feeds in shallow water and will submerge if threatened. Although lechwe run in herds of about 30, several thousand may gather together on the floodplains.

An unusual site on the plains is the site of huge river pythons which are attracted by the concentration of the lechwe and birds.

This Park provides a stark contrast to the other Parks in Zambia because of the vast flat lansdcape and spectacular birding – a good add-on to your tour of Zambia.

Getting there

Take the new Mumbwa-Mongu road from Lusaka then turn left at sign about 27 km from Lusaka saying Nampundwe Konkola Coppermine, opposite a store called the Farmers Supermarket. This road eventually leads to the sign on the left that reads Blue Lagoon National park – Nakenda Lodge. Drive 7km till you reach the entrance gate and then drive right in until you reach the old farmhouse

Where to stay

There are no organised safaris here at the moment so the only option for accommodation is the self catering chalets at the entrance. Or ask to be guided down to an abandoned camp at the waters edge where one can safely set up camp.

By April 2008 a new lodge will be open just 30km before the Park. Mutumbi Safari Lodge will be located on a raised hill which affords wonderful views over the Kafue Flats. It will be an exclusive lodge of just four log cabins, each with an outdoor secluded bathroom. The cosy restaurant and bar surround a large pool in lovely gardens. Horse riding and mountain biking will be available as well as game drives into the Park, just 30 minutes away. An excellent weekend getaway from Lusaka.