Lochinvar National Park, although not abundant in the larger mammals, is nonetheless a park of exceptional beauty and outstanding birding opportunities with over 420 recorded species in its 428 square kilometers.
The Park is situated on the southern edge of the Kafue Flats, a wide floodplain of the Kafue River between Itezhi tezhi dam in the west and Kafue Gorge in the east. The area extends for 33kms from the Kafue River in the north to low wooded hills in the south. It includes the large, shallow Chunga Lagoon which fluctuates considerably in size with variations in river levels. The varying vegetation makes it an interesting park for an African safari with floodplains, woodlands and termitaria.
Lochinvar is particularly well known for it’s large herds of Kafue lechwe which are unique to the Kafue flats. Other antelope that can be seen on safari are the blue wildebeest, kudu, oribi and buffalo. And for the twitchers, waterbirds are especially abundant.
The Kafue Flats floodplain, in the northern section, floods from the Kafue River. It’s here that the endemic Kafue lechwe, one of three subspecies of lechwe found in Zambia, can be found. More than 30,000 of them make the flats their home and move seasonally according to the flood level. At high water, massive herds may be seen along the upper flood line and in the open grassland further south. As the floods recede the herds move north into the floodplain. They feed on grasses and herbs in water up to a meter deep and are often seen wading or swimming in the Chunga Lagoon.
In the Termitaria Zone, trees and shrubs grow only on the large termite mounds with grasses covering the rest of the area, which often becomes waterlogged during the rainy season. There are also many small grey mounds which are always unvegetated. The magpie shrike is one of the birds to be seen in the scattered trees of this zone and the surrounding grassy plains are grazed by buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and oribi. Very much in evidence is the ‘candelabra’ tree. The southern area is mainly woodland, dominated by Acacia albida and Combretum trees and is free from flooding. Bushbuck kudu, baboon, bushpig and vervet monkey inhabit this area.
Lochinvar is also home to Sebanzi Hill, an excavated archaeological site, that was once an iron age village, inhabited for most of the last century.
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