Isangano National Park Premium member Veteran

Isangano is a Zambian national park not much frequented by tourists, it has a different appeal altogether. It’s an area of flat well-watered grassland, whose western side forms part of the Bangweulu wetlands which are seasonally flooded, with a profusion of birdlife. The national park became a protected wildlife reserve in 1957 and received National Park status in 1972. If you are looking for a location which will place you far from the madding crowd, then Isangano National Park is definitely a destination to consider.

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National parks and Sanctuaries

Known for its serene tranquillity, this national park is guaranteed to give you real peace of mind, with its lush green setting and undisturbed forest silence. There is currently very little game because of pressure from human settlement, agriculture and the consequent subsistence hunting.

  • Lush green settings
  • No maintained road network
  • The game park consists 840 square kilometres of flat wetlands
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There is no maintained internal road network within the park at all, though there is quite a high density of subsistence farmers settled within its boundaries.

  • The place has declined since becoming a National Park in 1957, due to lack of support, infrastructure and management, coupled with people pressure and internal poaching.

 

Isangano National Park urgently requires protection and management to allow the diminished animal species left in the area to breed and restock this once spectacular wildlife sanctuary. This action will certainly benefit the local communities in the area. Whilst visitors are advised to look further west to the Bangweulu area if they want to visit this type of region, an opportunity exists to conserve and resuscitate Isangano back to its former status as a fully-fledged National Park.

Ecology

Isangano National Park lies to the north east of the Bangweulu Swamps, which is a well known wetland area. The Bangweulu Swamps area, consisting of Lake Bangweulu, the Bangweulu Swamps and the flat plains of Bangweulu, is situated in the upper basin of the Congo River in Zambia. This wetland system is fed by 17 rivers, among which the Chambeshi is the largest. The Chambeshi River marks the eastern boundary while the Lubansenshi River runs through the middle. The western flood-plain area forms part of the Bangweulu flats. Erythrophleum – Pterocarpus woodland with tall grass and watershed plain grassland dominate the park. There are some areas of papyrus and phragmites along the two major rivers. Isangano National Park, as part of the Bangweulu Swamps area, shares the same type of ecosystem prevailing in the wetlands – swampy forests, grasslands and a wide range of biodiversity. Unfortunately, the ecosystem is under environmental stress and in need of conservation.

The wildlife

The wildlife found in this wetland area mostly consists of black lechwe, tsessebe, reedbuck, oribi, sitatunga, elephant, African buffalo, crocodile and hippopotamus. Zebra, antelope, hartebeest, roan antelope, eland, bushbuck and warthog may also be spotted but not in abundance. Isangano is also a favourite place for various water birds and numerous migratory species.

The challenge

If you are looking for a location which will place you far from the madding crowd, then Isangano National Park is definitely a destination to consider. Some of the chiefs in the area have attempted to regulate fishing and hunting. But for many people in the Bangweulu basin these activities are the only available means of livelihood.

This National Park would be an ideal development project for a conservation minded investor, through the formation of a trust or similar organisation with a management team to work closely with the Government and local people to preserve the wetlands and develop a viable community-friendly wildlife reserve.

Getting there

Situated in the Luwingu and Kasama districts in Luapula province, Isangano National Park can be accessed from the west of Mpika or Mpulungu road near Chambeshi. Because of the remoteness of the park and the lack of roads and seasonal flooding it is advisable to visit the park with fully-equipped 4×4 vehicles and a well informed guide.

Facilities and where to stay

There are no facilities at all. This might be seen as a negative but doesn’t mean you won’t find the park buzzing with tourists. The best approach is to plan an organised expedition, with a knowledgeable guide, and full personal camping equipment.

Ecology
  • Erythrophleum woodland
  • Pterocarpus woodland
  • Papyrus
  • Phragmites
  • Zambezian flooded grasslands
Wildlife
  • Bushbuck
  • Crocodile
  • Eland
  • Elephant
  • Hartebeest
  • Hippopotamus
  • Oribi
  • Reedbuck
  • Roan antelope
  • Sitatunga
  • Tsessebe
  • Warthog
  • Zebra
Some of the birds in the park
  • Black crowned night heron
  • Denham’s bustard
  • Flamingo
  • Fuelleborn’s long claw
  • Glossy ibis
  • Pelican
  • Rosy throated long claw
  • Sacred ibis
  • Saddle-billed stork
  • Shoebill
  • Spoonbill
  • Spur winged goose
  • Swamp flycatcher
  • Water fowl
  • Wattled crane
  • White fronted bee-eater

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