Liuwa Plains National Park

Liuwa Plains covers an area of 3660 km² of grassland and wooded islands. It was declared a 'game reserve' in the 19th century by the king of Barotseland and the local Lozi people were given the task of looking after the animals for the Litunga (King). It became a National Park in 1972 however the Lozi people retained the right to live in the park.

The word Liuwa means 'plain' in the local Lozi language and there are certainly plenty of wide open plains in all directions with groups of trees here and there.

We spent 3 nights at Kwale camp and were able to spend 2 days exploring the Park - we could have happily have spent a week there. VIc suggested that we drove out in groups and had Tracks4 Africa loaded onto our GPS units. Unfortunately, a couple of days previously our GPS suddenly stopped working, we tried to lend the card to a couple of others who had Garmin units but no Tracks4Africa however it didn't work.

One of the highlights of the trip was the variety and number of birds that we saw. On a couple of occasions we saw eagles on the ground.

One of 3 tawny eagles.

A young martial eagle.

Liuwa Pains is one of the few places that you can see wattled cranes.

We also saw large groups of crowned cranes.

Crowned crane.

Crowned cranes displaying.

We saw oribi on several occasions, either singly or in pairs. Most of them ran off as soon as they saw us but this pair, which were lying down when we first saw them, stayed put for some time.

The Lozi people are largely subsistence farmers, keeping cattle and growing maize, rice and cassava.They also fish in the pans in the park. On several occasions we saw groups of people walking across the plains and once came across a dozen people fishing in the pan near the 'Sausage Tree'.

On our second day Vic lent us his GPS unit so we went out on our own. We found a hyena den that was marked on Tracks4 Africa but didn't see any hyenas there, however later in the day we did see this hyena at a waterhole.

Although there are tracks marked on Tracks4Africa they were not always apparent on the ground. One of the GPS coordinates that we'd been given was' Lone Palm' which you could see from miles away.

The palm tree is on the horizon.

We passed several pans with lots of birds on our way to the 'Lone Palm'. Sometimes there were faint vehicle tracks to follow but these would then peter out so we were just headed towards the palm tree - avoiding any damp ground on the way.

Nearby there were a couple of pans, once again with plenty of birds around.

When we'd booked this trip one of the reasons was to see " the second largest wildebeest migration in the world". Unfortunately the rains were late this year and most of the wildebeest were still a long way north so instead of seeing thousands of them we only saw groups of up to 50 animals.

We did see quite a lot of calves which are a completely different colour to the adults - better camouflaged.

Until 2009 this lioness 'Lady Liuwa' was the only remaining lion in Liuwa Plains. National Geographic did a TV programme about here called 'The Last Lioness'.

In 2009 2 male lions were relocated from Kafue National Park and the 3 lions now live together. Sadly 'Lady Liuwa' has not had any cubs (it is through that she may be too old) so there are plans to introduce some lionesses.

Unfortunately we didn't see the lions but everyone else in our group did see them.

Wildlife Extra -Male lions translocated to Liuwa Plain National Park

Some buffalo have recently been relocated to Liuwa PLains. They are currently in a boma and will be released soon.

One evening we drove out to the waterhole near the Sausage Tree (only about 5km from Kwale camp) to watch the sunset. There were several birds around including 3 fish eagles in the trees.

Senegal coucal.

Saddlebilled stork.

Sunset by the Sausage Tree.

1. Travelling from Kasane to Liuwa Plains.

2. Liuwa Plains.

3. Travelling from Liuwa Plains back to Kasane.

Diary (Word '97 document).

 

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