What makes Shoebill Island Camp so special?

The Bangweulu Wetlands

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.

The Shoebill

The shoebill needs little introduction – a completely enigmatic bird and a real standout lifer species to be discovered. The Bangweulu wetlands are arguably the best place to consistently find the shoebill and tracking them down on foot and in dug outs is all part of an epic African experience that birders and nature lover’s alike will love. May/June and July are often touted as being great months to find the Shoebill by venturing out in dug out banana boats surrounded by a myriad of abundant waterfowl but from August onwards, you should expect to trek (to explore by foot) to find these incredible birds. While we take every care not to disturb the birds, some will allow a close approach to make for awesome photographic opportunities.

 For more information on how, when and where you can find the shoebill, visit Trek or Boat for Shoebills.

The Black Lechwe

The near endemic Black Lechwe can be found here in thousands along the edges of the Bangweulu Wetlands. Combining this experiencing with the tracking down of the shoebill is sure to offer a truly unique wildlife experience that is well and truly off the beaten track. To sit at night in camp and listen to the sound of some 400’000 hooves sloshing through the water at night is really memorable and the appearance at sunrise through the mist to the east of camp is quite breath taking.

For more information on seeing the Black Lechwe, visit Drive among 100 000 Black Lechwe.


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. Shoebill Island Camp also offers the unique Bill 5 – an opportunity to see the Shoebill, Saddle Bill stork, Open Billed stork, Yellow Billed stork and Ground Hornbill which can be very entertaining! Birding can be done by banana boat, on foot or off a vehicle.