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Zambia -- the land where wildlife reigns

By Denisa Morariu for CNN
  • Zambia has 17 waterfalls, among which Victoria Falls is the largest
  • Wildlife parks represent a third of Zambia's surface
  • South Luangwa park is described by Lonely Planet as "one of the most majestic in Africa"
  • Zambia also hosts an orphanage for chimpanzees

(CNN) -- With its abundant wildlife, magnificent waterfalls and offering safaris on foot, canoe and horseback, Zambia has established itself as one of Africa's most popular tourist destinations.

According to market research firm Euromonitor, the number of tourists visiting the South African country increased by five percent in 2008, as a result of an internationally driven campaign "Visit Zambia 2005-2010". The target of the campaign was to attract at least one million tourists every year.

One of the most visited sites in the country is Victoria Falls, widely considered to be the most spectacular of the Zambia's 17 waterfalls. Measuring 1.7 kilometers long and 108 meters tall, the falls carry millions of cubic meters of water every minute and its columns of spray can be seen from miles around.

The falls are on the mighty Zambezi River, Africa's fourth largest river system. It is 2,700 kilometers long and runs through six countries, including Angola, Namibia and Botswana.


The river marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is a popular site for extreme sports, such as bungee rafting and river boarding.

Zambia is also home to many renowned wildlife parks, which represent almost one-third of the country's surface. The most important one is South Luangwa, described by the Lonely Planet guide as "one of the most majestic in Africa."

The park covers 9,050 square kilometers and has 60 species of animals -- like antelopes, baboons and buffalos -- and more than 400 species of birds, such as pelicans, egrets and red-chested cuckoos. Africa's famous "walking safaris" have their origin in South Luangwa, according to the Zambia Tourist Board.

Zambia also hosts a wildlife orphanage in the northern part of the country. Chimfunshi is an internationally recognized rehabilitation center for 50 chimpanzees, a species which is endangered in the wild.