This peaceful sanctuary, situated on the southwestern tip of the Lake Bangweulu basin, is one of Zambia’s modest national parks. It’s 450 km2 however, are so well supplied with rivers, lakes, wetlands, forests, lagoons, meadows and dambos that it supports a uniquely broad variety of game and overflowing with birds and fish. It is not common to see large herds of animals around every corner, but it is unquestionably one of the most scenic parks in Zambia’s national parks and is managed privately and funded Kasanka Trust Ltd. That leads the park in partnership with the Zambian Wildlife Authority and has been in the running since 1986. The Trust operates 2 Lodges and two campsites in Kasanka.
108 mammal species have been documented in the park. Although severely drained in the past, due to critical anti-poaching measures, game populations in Kasanka are growing well. Puku is the most abundant antelope and grazes on the grassy floodplains, and dambo’s everywhere the park. Common Duiker, Bushbuck, warthog, Vervet Monkey and Kinder baboon which a race of the yellow baboon are famous throughout the park and Hippo can frequently be encountered in Kasanka’s rivers and lakes, including the Lake Wasa, opposite the main Lodge. Kasanka is sure the place in the world to see the independent Sitatunga, of which the park has an estimated 500-1,000 animals, and offers unique opportunities for sightings of the rare Blue Monkey.
The elephant is faring increasingly well, and several breeding herds and bachelor bulls traverse the park and the surrounding Game Management Area. Several of the plains like Chifukwe is home to typical Reedbuck, Buffalo, Sable Antelope, and Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, which are usually seen in the dry season. A modest population of plains Zebra can be observed close to the airstrip at New Mulembo. The biggest predator in the park is the Leopard. Lion and Hyena are no longer native, but wanderers do still pass through the track. Side-striped Jackal is commonly spotted very early in the mornings. A variety of smaller carnivores happen, of whichWhite-tailed Mongoose, African Civet and Large Spotted Genet a Water Mongoose, re usually found at night and Slender, Banded and Dwarf Mongoose can often be seen going across pathways in the day. Serval, Honey Badger Caracal, and the elusive Meller’s Mongoose live here but are very hardly seen. In Kasanka’s rivers, marshes, and takes lives two species of Otter.
The first of Kasanka’s famous straw-colored fruit bats start coming in the midst of October each year. By mid-November, the roost has attained its highest density and numbers are expected to be about eight million! It is believed to be the highest quantity of mammalian biomass on the planet, as well as the largest mammal migration known to man. The return of the bats normally coincides with the origin of the first rains and the ripening of various local fruits and berry varieties on which the bats feed. The bat roost is centered on one of the most significant remaining patches of Mushitu in Kasanka along the Musola River. The edge of the wood is accessible to tourist wanting to see the bats up close 2 hides are used for seeing the bats, and trips are organized at dusk and dawn. The high number of food items attracts an incredible variety of predators and scavengers to the bat forest. Martial eagles, fish eagles, lesser spotted and hobby falcons are amongst the raptors that concentrate on the roost for easy pickings, African hawk-eagles, kites, vultures and whereas leopard; crocodiles make off with those bats unlucky enough to fall to the forest floor. Kasanka holds undoubtedly some of the most exceptional birding in Africa according to Dr. Ian Sinclair, one of Africa’s leading ornithologists. Having over 450 species registered in this relatively small area with no altitude variation, one will find it hard to argue with this statement. Kasanka is blessed with a wide variety of habitats, each entertaining its community of bird species, many of which are rare elsewhere.