Area (SqKm):15,000
# Species:338
# Excl Vagrants:338
# Endemics:0
# Near Endemics:0
Species/100 SqKm:2.3
Habitat: Swamps, grassland


The Barotse Floodplain is a vast wetland along the upper Zambezi River near the border with Angola. The region is one of Africa's great wetlands with an extent of some 230 km from north to south. It's width is mostly about 30 km though it reaches a width of 50 km in some areas. Peak water levels occurs in April and begins receding from May-July. During November when water levels are lowest, the region still contains many lagoons, swamps, and channels. The flood plain is just south of remote Liuwa National Park, where great concentrations of wildlife occur. Barotse is heavily settled by the Lozi people, who move onto the plain to fish and plant crops as waters recede during dry season. Even so, large populations of water birds are present, including significant populations of Black Heron, Squacco Heron, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Skimmer, and Pied Kingfisher. A major attraction is a vast colony of over 10,000 pairs of African Openbill, located near the confluence of the Luanginga and Zambezi Rivers. The best time to visit is May-August, although roads reaching Liuwa from the east are still impassable until July. It becomes very hot during September-November.


The Barotse Floodplain can be reached by road from Livingstone during dry season. The roads are impassable during rainy season. At its farthest extent, the floodplain can be explored as part of a visit to Liuwa National Park, which can be reached via a 2-hour flight from Lusaka.