Bangweulu Floodplains


Starting just 50 kms to the North of Kasanka are the vast Bangweulu Wetlands.

The area is divided into 3 main habitats, open water to the North West (near Samfya), huge swamps in the middle and around the southern and eastern fringes, seasonally flooded grass plains.

It is particularly this latter habitat and the swampy Lukulu river flowing through it which are of interest to visitors. They support an incredible diversity of water-birds and plains-birds including the Shoebill and are home to massive herds of the Black Lechwe, and attractive species found only in the Bangweulu.


Elephant, Buffalo, Tsessebe, Reedbuck, Oribi and Sitatunga are also adapted to life in this wetland environment. You don’t have to be a birding fanatic to love Bangweulu!


 Bangweulu is a great draw for birdwatchers attracting a profusion of waterfowl. Wattled crane, Saddle-billed stork, Spur-winged goose, Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Black-crowned Night Heron, White-cheeked Bee-eater, Swamp Flycatcher, Pink- throated and Fulbourne’s Longclaw, Denham’s Bustard and numerous ducks live here.

Despite the intense interest for birders in Bangweulu, no comprehensive species list is available yet but we are working to produce one and hope to have it on this website soon.

The papyrus swamps along the Lukulu river are also the breeding ground of the Shoebill, a massive grey, do-do like bird found nowhere else in the sub-region. Bangweulu is probably the best place remaining in the world to see Shoebills in the wild, and at the right time of year , no visitor leaves disappointed.


Video courtesy of Will Bolton

Shoebill Island Camp


Shoebill Island Camp offers accommodation in safari tents under thatch roofs and reed cottages. Each has 2 beds, an ensuite shower and flush toilet. Although Shoebill Island is primarily intended for international visitors, we also welcome local or regional clients and have a campsite nearby for those on a tighter budget.

The island has panoramic views over the swamps and gets its name from the Shoebill, which are usually in reach of the camp.

 Boating can be arranged in banana boats or dugout canoes. March and April offer an amazing watering wilderness for the adventurous with Shoebills often visible from camp!



The main season is from May to August when Shoebills can usually be seen on canoe trips. September to November offer great birding (though maybe no Shoebill sightings) and the same amazing mammal spectacles. See the diary of when to visit for more information.

Shoebill Island camp is managed by the Kasanka Trust, and tours are regularly arranged to take visitors on to Shoebill from Kasanka. This either involves an interesting but bumpy 5 hours drive through villages or a charter flight directly into Chimbwi airstrip, just 1 km from Shoebill Island. Flying in (or out) has the additional advantage of some fantastic aerial game viewing.

A trip to Shoebill Island is highly recommended in addition to Kasanka at any time of year.

There is also the possibility to arrange for research groups (see research page) to carry out work in this fascinating environment.

As well as managing the Camp at Shoebill Island, the Kasanka Trust is assisting the Zambia Wildlife Authority to manage the area. We have been supplying rations for scout patrols, transport to take poachers to court and recently received a grant from Luawata Conservation to renovate an improve the scouts’ housing. We have also been supporting a community school started by the scouts to help uplift education and provide an alternative to poaching.



From each visitor to Shoebill Island a portion of the money raised is used to assist ZAWA in wildlife management and 5% is given to the local Community Resource Board to fund localy driven development  and resource management activities. Any remaining surplus revenue is returned to the Trust for charitable use in and around Kasanka.

See Rates page for Tariffs at Shoebill Island Camp

Download Birdlist

To make a booking Contact us

or first visit the page on planning a safari

And remember - all proceeds from tourism go directly towards conservation work in and around Kasanka National Park - Thanks for your support !