A 40-minute drive outside Lusaka’s Business district lies the Lusaka National Park, Zambia’s youngest national park. Getting there is a breeze as the road is tarred from the Woodlands / Leopards hill area to the entrance of the Park premises. The Park offers several outdoor nature-based activities, notably camping, bicycle trails and walking safaris, where visitors can see several species of herbivores including giraffe, eland, kudu and zebra. Visitors are also able to self-drive around the park or engage one of the local park guides to accompany them at a negotiated fee. The main roadways were graded at the time of my visit but as always, take caution when you are in an area that is not familiar.
The Wildlife Discovery Centre was also opened within the Lusaka National Park with the aim to champion awareness on all thing’s conservation within Zambia. You can visit the Exploratorium to learn more about the different landscapes and ecosystems that we have in Zambia and the different initiatives we have to conserve them for future generations.
Look out for the directional sign with most of the major national parks and a key emblem on each sign to tell you what you will find in the national parks.
The Lusaka National Park is now home to the Elephant Nursery, which was entirely moved from Lilayi Lodge premises. It is easy to move around and get to the observation deck as there is signage at every interval. Some of the signage actually has QR codes for those seeking additional information, glad to see this green approach.
From the observation deck, visitors can see the calf’s during their feeding time (almost daily between 11:30 and 13:00) and also learn about how most of them were orphaned and the work being done to reintroduce them to the wild. Game Rangers International is currently taking a lead role in managing the Nursery but they have been able to receive foundations from many stakeholders who have been honoured with leaf’s dotted around the entire site (see photograph above). The work being done by the GRI ‘Keepers’ is truly remarkable. Their main role is to nurture the elephants and nurse them back to health until they are old enough to be integrated into a new herd. It was just heart-warming to see just how the elephants were able to overcome their pain and fears and build a connection with humans. I witnessed first-hand how these animals are oriented to building relationships with other beings around them plus I saw how intelligent, playful and naughty they can be. See more here.
The Wildlife Discovery Centre is also home to an outlet of The Collective, who retail treasures of design-craft from across Zambia to empower creatives. The store is located within the visitors centre and you can stop by to purchase any souvenirs or gifts.
You need to pay ZMK 30 per vehicle to get entry into the Multi Facility Economic Zone Complex where the Lusaka National Park is located. You will also pay an additional entrance fee of ZMK 20 per adult, ZMK 15 per child for children older than 5 years old, while children under 5 years old get free entry
Guests who want to get access to the wildlife discovery centre and also view the Elephants have to pay the following fees at the visitors centre:
I recommend carrying your own food and beverages as the restaurant onsite was still coming together at the time of my visit. The Wildlife Discovery Premises has a seating area where you can be able to eat your meal.