LOCHINVAR NATIONAL PARK
Lochinvar National Park is a small park of around 430 sq km, a lot of which is water. Once a cattle farm, it was bought by government in 1966 and made a Game Management Area to protect the remaining wildlife.
In 1972 it was made into a National Park. When government bought the park in 1966 there was little variety of wildlife left because the previous owner had shot most of it. However, Lochinvar was home to Zambia’s endemic Kafue lechwe which were important to protect.
Being small and surrounded by villages which depend upon fishing for much of their livelihood, there is a lot of pressure on the park for its limited resources. Fishermen still come into the park on their fishing expeditions.
Photo: Kafue River Trust
Being a floodplain on black cotton soil the landscape is mostly grassland with lots of termitaria edged by Sicklebush (Dichrostachys cinerea), varieties of combretum and mopane trees. There is a large baobab tree near to the drum rocks.
Animals within the park include Kafue lechwe, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, oribi and kudu, but their numbers are dwindling.
The Chunga Lagoon attracts thousands of waterbirds. The park is part of Kafue Flats Ramsar Site – Wetland of International Importance. It is also an Important Bird Area.
A list of the over 400 bird species. For a checklist of the birds compiled by Pete Leonard for BirdWatch Zambia click here
There are no tour operators in the park, so driving around is the most popular activity. The hot springs, Gwisho and Bwanda, are worth a visit. Sebanzi Hill is an old site of some of the first iron-age people to inhabit this area.
The drum rocks are an interesting feature and make a hollow sound when tapped.
But the best thing to do in Lochinvar is to sit by the Lagoon and watch the birdlife or walk along the shoreline – there is nothing dangerous in the park.
Citizens K25 per person per day
Residents and SADC Nationals US$7 per person per day
International US$10 per person per day
Vehicle (Under 3 tonnes)
Local K25.50 per vehicle per day
International US$15 per vehicle per day
Lochinvar Lodge has recently been repaired by ZamParks. It had been gutted by fire several years ago. We are told that the lodge will be on a self-catering basis. I will put more information as soon as I know it.
Otherwise it is camping. The old campsite is not so great but, if you ask, the rangers will allow you to camp by the lagoon. But you have to be totally self-sufficient and not leave any mess when you leave.
Take a west turn just north of the silos in Monze. It is then a drive on good roads of 40 km to the park gate.
The land all around the Kafue Flats was, and still is, occupied by the Ila people. If you would like to find out a bit about the Ila, click on the link below