Despite being one of Zambia’s smallest national parks, because it is located on the edge of the Lake Bangweulu basin and covered in diverse habitats, Kasanka supports a uniquely wide range of animals, birds and fish.
It is undeniably one of the country’s most photogenic parks and its spectacular scenery and colourful birdlife will more than make up for its low density of large game animals. So too will the annual arrival of up to eight million fruit bats the size of puppies and covered in golden, straw-coloured fur. Not only is this the largest bat roost in the world, it is also the largest mammal migration on the planet. Every October, these ‘flying foxes’ begin arriving in the Mushitu Swamp Forest to gorge themselves on the wild fruit. The colonies of giant fruit bats that form here travel from all over Africa, including the tropical belt of Africa and South Sudan.
An impressive 108 mammal species have been recorded in the park. Puku is the most plentiful antelope and they can be seen grazing on the park’s grassy floodplains in impressive numbers. They share the park with other commonly sighted residents like duiker, bushbuck, warthog, hippo, vervet monkey and kinda baboon. Kasanka is perhaps the best place in the world to spot the shy sitatunga antelope. Another exciting wildlife sighting in Kasanka is the rare and beautiful blue monkey.
With over 450 bird species recorded in this relatively small park, birding safaris here are understandably successful. In fact, one of Africa’s leading ornithologists, Dr Ian Sinclair, considers Kasanka to have some of the very top birding on the continent. Some of the birding specials to look out for include Pel’s fishing owl, Böhms’ bee-eater, Anchieta’s sunbird, African marsh harrier and African crowned eagle.
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