One of the most striking attractions in Southern Africa is the famed Kasanka Bat Migration. This natural wonder takes place in Zambia's Kasanka National Park. While Kasanka may be one of the country's smallest natural attractions, it is one of the country's greatest tourist attractions. There's just nothing like seeing 5-10 million fruit bats migrate.
Zambia is one of Africa's gems a country few think of visiting. The adventure capital of the country is the small city of Livingstone which is basically inside a national park (it is not uncommon to see elephants, zebras, and hippos wandering the streets). Here one can enjoy a white water rafting adventure on the mighty Zambezi River and explore Victoria Falls - arguably the world's most spectacular waterfalls.
Kasanka National Park - Zambia's Smallest But Unique
The wetlands of Kasanka are famous for their papyrus swamps, floodplains, pans, and more. The park is home to around 114 mammalian species including the elephant, hippopotamus, and sitatunga. The wetlands also make it a gem for bird watchers with over 400 species of birdies in the park.
There are conservation efforts ongoing in the park, and some species have been successfully reintroduced into the park (notably the zebra and buffalo).
- Animals: Zebra, Buffalo, Baboons, Leopards, Monkeys, Many Others
- Smallest: It is Zambia's Smallest National Park
But go at the right time of year and see a sight one can't see anywhere else. What the park is the most famous for is its annual bat migration. The Kasanka Bat Migration occurs between October and December every year.
What To Know Of The Kasanka Bat Migration
The Kasanka Bat Migration is a spectacle like none other. The fruit bats are giants and number in the millions - all within a space no larger than a hectare.
- Time of Year: The Migration is Between October and December
- When: Dusk and Dawn
- Number of Bats: Between 5 and 10 Million
- Species Of Bat: Straw Colored Fruit Bats (Eidolon helvum)
More is still being learned about these bats - it is not entirely known where they go as they disperse - although it is known that many go deep into the Congo rainforest.
Go at dusk and see the first scout set out, and then the entire colony fly off and disperse in search of food. Get up early in the morning and see them all return from a night of foraging. See them tumble into trees, squeaking, pushing, shoving, and clambering over each other in search of a comfy spot to rest through the day.
Sometimes the trees are so heavily laden with bats that they can snap, sending their upside-down guests tumbling to the ground.
How To See The Kasanka Bat Migration
There are guided tours into the Kasanka National Park between dawn and dusk so see this remarkable spectacle. Dusk and dawn are the best times to see the migration as that is when the nocturnal bats are the most active and visible. It is hard to imagine, but there are so many bats that they even darken the sky.
- Largest: The Bat (or Mammal) Migration Is One Of The Largest On Earth
The national park is a long drive from Zambia's capital, Lusaka, but it is very much worth the experience. It is possible to hire a car and drive oneself to the lodges by the national park and organize seeing them from there, for those pressed with time or for if it's the first time to Africa, an organized safari may be more convenient.
Safari to See The Kasanka Bat Migration
The best way to see the Kasanka Bat Migration is with a safari. One example of a safari is offered by Robin Pope Safaris. With this tour, one will see just how thick the sky is with bats and one can see it all from a perch 60 feet high up on a treetop. Hidden away, one will see millions of bats dispersing at dusk.
The safari is more than just seeing the bats, it combines the trip with a few nights at Luangwa River Camp in the renowned South Luangwa National Park (home to 20-35,000 elephants and a large population of leopards).
- Duration: 7 Nights
- Max Group Size: 6
- National Parks: South Luangwa National Park, Kasanka National Park
- Price: Ask For A Quote