Liuwa Plain

A Crowd-Free Great Migration

12 October 2018

As the winter months give way to spring, Liuwa Plain’s wildebeest make their way into the southern reaches of the national park. Following the rains in pursuit of the best grazing, thousands of wildebeest, tsessebes and zebra begin congregating in the plains surrounding Time + Tide King Lewanika.

There is perhaps no wildlife phenomenon in the world that better embodies the concept of a ‘circle of life’. On their way south, the wildebeest begin dropping their calves, with the last stages of the calving season coinciding with their arrival into the vicinity of Time + Tide King Lewanika. As the next generation makes their way into the world, the predators delight in a season nicknamed ‘snack time’ due to the abundant and easily caught small prey. In a matter of minutes, you can witness the many sides of life unfolding on this broad grass canvas…the tenderness of new life, the dark reality of predator and prey, the humour of a knock-kneed calf wobbling along for the first time, the drama of a high-speed hunt.

While these sights are not unique to the Liuwa Plain, the utter lack of crowds is.

As the only permanent lodge in the entire 3,660 sq km national park, Time + Tide King Lewanika offers unprecedented access to this incredible wildlife spectacle. While on safari with us, you’ll have great sightings all to yourself, giving you the freedom to get the best perspectives without jockeying for space with six other vehicles. For wildlife photographers, there is no better luxury!

If the lack of crowds wasn’t fantastic enough, the landscapes this year are simply breath-taking, making wildlife subjects pop even more in photographs. The same rains that attract the wildebeest bring the plains to life with a flush of colourful wildflowers and light up the sky with dramatic storms.

Beyond the large herds stretching to the horizon, there is an incredible diversity of wildlife that live on the periphery of the migration and year-round around the lodge. Expect fantastic predator action during this time of plenty – cheetahs sprinting in all our pursuit, lionesses hunting in unison and clans of hyenas numbering upwards of 50 individuals. Alongside the wildebeest, keep your eyes open for oribi, roan antelope, buffalo, eland, topi, reedbuck, hartebeest and red lechwe.

The vast herds make for incredible game drives, but you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your villa to see these impressive sights. Wildebeest and other grazers will often congregate right around the lodge, drawn to the lagoon that curves along the length of the villas.

Without another lodge or vehicle in sight, you will have uninterrupted views stretching to the distance. Sit back and enjoy a drink on your veranda while you feel the warm Zambian sun on your skin and hear the song of the Liuwa Plain: whooping hyenas, snorting wildebeest, roaring lions and the wingbeats of a thousand wading birds. Come, let us show you.

Photos by Andrew Macdonald, Heinrich van den Berg + Will Burrard Lucas