LAVUSHI MANDA NATIONAL PARK.
Lavushi National Park is a national park in the Muchinga Province of Zambia with an area of 1,500 square Kilometers it holds the 11th position of the best 20 national parks in the country. Lavushi National Park was initially gazetted as Game Reserve by 1941 and was declared a National Park in 1972 located in the Muchinga Province, in the district of the Muchinga, with the South Luangwa National park in the neighboring Mpika District. Its adjacent to the Bangweulu Game Management Area to the adjacent to the Kafinda Game Management Area lies further west. The chiefdom of Chiundaponde in the northwest, lies Luchembe, northwest Chikwanda, east Mpumba and the South lies Muchinika Chiefdom.
It covers a small range of mountains and hills, and is principally covered in Miombo woodlands, with a number of rivers and streams as well and a few areas of grassland, both on drier land or in the form of seasonally wet dambos. There are few large mammals, due to poaching in the previous century, but fishing and then hiking are possible. certain antelopes retreat upland to the park from the Bangweula Swamps to the northwest during the rainy season.
Protracted poaching has led to a serious depletion of all larger mammal populations. The last wild black rhinoceros in Zambia was observed in LMNP in the late eighties. Warthog and common duiker are sometimes sighted. Primates include vervet and yellow baboons, sometimes classified as Kinda baboons. In the grasslands there are side-striped jacka, sable antelope and bushbuck. In the wet season antelopes such as the roan, sable and hartebeest move upland to the area from the swamps of Bangweulu. Lions may occur in the park, but have never been sighted. A camera trap survey in 2017 found several herds of sable, and several bush pig, common duiker, reedbuck, bushbuck, aardvark, African civet and serval. One leopard was caught on camera in Lavushi Manda in 2017.
In 2017 150 puku were moved from Kasanka National Park to the Bangweulu Game Management Area by African Parks, a number quickly moved from there into the Chimbwe plain and lower Lukulu river valley in LMNP.
Klipspringer, bush dassie and Smith’s red rock rabbits occur among the rocks. There are hippopotami in the Lukulu river.
Checklist was compiled by the Kasanka Trust in 2011 of the potential bird species which the park might hold. In 1998 Birdwatch Zambia went birdwatching in the park of Birdlife International. A number of exclusively Miombo birds were registered in 1998, and the list of these birds were used by Birdlife International. A number of exclusively Miombo birds were by Birdlife international to designate Lavushi Manda as an “Important Bird Area” as of 2001, for protecting common species typical of the migratory great snipe, which might arrive in the winter, the designation included the nearby Luitikikla Forest Reserve and Bangweulu Game Management Area, although the national park appears to be the only locality studied in 1998.
Lavushi Manda is a home to rock-associated species such as black eagles, Augur buzzards, freckled nightjar, striped pipit, mocking chat and red-winged starling. Dambo grasslands support marsh widowbird and locust finch. Stanley’s bustard, a typical dry grassland species, has been recorded. The Coquille francolin was photographed in the park in 2017.
Miombo woodlands hold a variety of the park in 2017
Miombo woodlands hold a variety of typical birds of this habitat such as pale-billed hornbill, racquet-tailed roller, Souza’s shrike, Bohm’s flycatcher, Bohm’s bee-eater, Anchieta’s barbet, Miombo pied barbet, white-faced barbet, Anchieta’s sunbird, western Miombo sunbird Hartlaub’s babbler, Kurrichane thrush, Miombo scrub-robin, Miombo rock- thrush and many others.
The best time to visit Lavushi Manda National Park
The park is open year-round. However, the animal count during the dry season is always higher. In the dry season, the vegetation thins out and water sources become scarce. Wildlife tends to flock to available water sources, making it easy to predict where thy will congregate.
The dry season in June/ July, but the floodplains dry out in April, which is also an excellent time to visit. November to March is the season and is good for the birding activity but many of the paths and routes within the park are impassable
There are three rustic campsites inside the national park, each located in prime scenic destinations. Campsites hold great appeal to the adventurous visitor who doesn’t mind being completely self-sufficient.
Campsites are mainly used by 4×4 cars who bring all their camping equipment. There are few mid-range thatched lodges and self-catering units on the outskirt of the national park, but within the park, there are no permanent accommodation options.