Sioma Ngwezi National Park

This 5000 square kilometre park in the south western corner of the country has been completely undeveloped and rarely visited until recently. It is surrounded by a 35 000 square kilometre Game Management Area. The Park is unfenced allowing free movement of the animals between the park and the GMA and allowing access to the Zambezi River. The Park and surrounding GMA form an important link in the migratory route of elephants from the bordering national parks of Botswana and Namibia. Although heavily poached, the park does offer a better refuge for elephants migrating from Angola where poaching and illegal hunting is rampant.

There are no permanent facilities and very few roads in the park. Three operators take guided safaris into the park at the moment. Maziba Bay Safaris being the only one with a tented camp there. Alternatively one can take ones own vehicle in but the lack of roads makes this a very difficult undertaking and a guide from the National Parks office in Sioma is highly recommended.

What to See

The park is home to over 3000 elephants, and several endangered species including roan, sable, wild dog and cheetah. Several antelope species are present, but quite shy – mostly puku, impala, roan, sable, zebra and kudu.

Due to the parks proximity to Angola, it has suffered substantially from poaching during the civil war. However, plans are afoot to open the park to private management and hopefully the parks wildlife will recover.

Getting there

From Livingstone. There is a brand new road all the way from Livingstone to Sesheke and Katima Mulilo.

From Mongu. There is a good tar road to Senanga and the last opportunity for fuel before Livingstone. Ten kilometres beyond Senanga is the Mangweshi ferry. Somewhat unreliable and pricey. but its the only viable route to Sioma and Katima Mulilo via a fairly good, if somewhat slippery, gravel road.

Where to stay

* Sioma River Camp is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River with good views up and downstream. 6 luxury safari tents with spacious open air bathrooms, placed on elevated, wooden decks with thatched roofs will open October 2008. A campsite and 4 standard safari tents – with open air thatched bathrooms – will open July 2008 for self drive and self catering tourists.

* Sioma Bush Camp is situated southwest of the Sioma (or Ngonye) Falls in the Game Management Area and close to the north-western border of the Sioma Ngwezi National Park. From the dining area there is an excellent view on a nearby waterhole. (open July 2008) Both camps are based on ‘eco-tourism’ principles, including the use of sustainable energy in the form of solar power for electricity and water heating with generator only as a back up option

* Mutemwa Lodge is nearby on the Zambezi River. It’s owned by ex Springbok player Gavin Johnson is a beautiful lodge with good fishing opportunities.. Sakazima Island Camp on the Katima-Senanga road also offer day excursions into the Park.

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