You Can See 5 Million Fruit Bats In This African National Park


One of the most striking attractions in Southern Africa is the famous Kasanka Bat Migration. This natural wonder takes place in Kasanka National Park in Zambia. Although Kasanka is one of the smallest natural attractions in the country, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country. There’s nothing quite like seeing 5-10 million fruit bats migrating.

Zambia is one of the jewels of Africa that few countries think of visiting. The country’s adventure capital is the small town of Livingstone which is essentially inside a national park (it’s not uncommon to see elephants, zebras and hippos roaming the streets). Here one can enjoy a white water rafting adventure on the mighty Zambezi River and explore Victoria Falls – arguably the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.

Kasanka National Park – The smallest but unique in Zambia

Kasanka wetlands are famous for their papyrus swamps, floodplains, pans, etc. The park is home to around 114 species of mammals including elephant, hippo and sitatunga. The wetlands also make it a gem for birdwatchers with over 400 species of birds in the park.

Conservation efforts are ongoing in the park and some species have been successfully reintroduced to the park (including zebra and buffalo).

  • Animals: Zebra, Buffalo, Baboons, Leopards, Monkeys, Many Others
  • Smaller : It is the smallest national park in Zambia

But go at the right time of year and see a sight you can’t see anywhere else. What makes the park most famous is its annual bat migration. The Kasanka bat migration takes place every year between October and December.

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What to know about the Kasanka bat migration

Kasanka’s bat migration is a sight like no other. Fruit bats are giants and number in the millions – all in a space no larger than one hectare.

  • Period of the year: The migration takes place between October and December
  • When: dusk and dawn
  • Number of bats: Between 5 and 10 million
  • Bat species: Straw-colored fruit bats (Eidolon Helvum)

We learn even more about these bats – it’s unclear exactly where they go when they disperse – although many are known to burrow deep into the Congo rainforest.

Go at dusk and see the first scout leave, then the whole colony fly off and scatter in search of food. Rise early in the morning and see them all returning from a night of foraging. See them falling through trees, squeaking, pushing, shoving and climbing over each other looking for a comfortable place to rest all day.

Sometimes trees are so heavily laden with bats that they can snap, sending their guests upside down to fall to the ground.

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How to See the Kasanka Bat Migration

There are guided tours in Kasanka National Park between dawn and dusk, so see this remarkable sight. Dusk and dawn are the best times to see the migration as this is when nocturnal bats are most active and visible. It’s hard to imagine, but there are so many bats that they even darken the sky.

  • The biggest: The migration of bats (or mammals) is one of the largest on Earth

The national park is a long drive from the Zambian capital, Lusaka, but it is definitely worth the effort. It is possible to rent a car and drive to the lodges near the national park and organize their visit from there, for those who are pressed for time or if it is the first time in Africa, an organized safari may be more convenient.

Safari to see Kasanka bat migration

The best way to see the Kasanka Bat Migration is with a game drive. An example of a safari is offered by Robin Pope Safaris. With this tour, one will see just how thick the sky is with bats and all can be seen from a 60 foot high perch on the treetops. Hidden, millions of bats will be seen scattering at dusk.

The safari is not just about seeing the bats, it combines the trip with a few nights at Luangwa River Camp in the famous South Luangwa National Park (home to 20-35,000 elephants and a large population of leopards).

  • Duration: 7 Nights
  • Maximum group size: 6
  • National parks: South Luangwa National Park, Kasanka National Park
  • Price: Ask for a quote

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