During the months of November and December, a spectacular fruit bats migration takes place in central Zambia, in Kasanka National Park.
A few people have been witness to this annual fruit bats migration. Only of late has this natural wonder come to the limelight.
Kasanka National Park is in the central province of Zambia, south of the Bangweulu wetlands. Occupying an area of 390 square kilometre, it’s one of Zambia’s smallest game sanctuaries.
Kasanka National Park is managed and run by a private management trust. The trust is registered in Zambia (1987) and in the UK (1989). It’s the only privately run game sanctuary in Zambia.
The trust runs two lodges and two campsites. Kasanka is open all year round for visitors. The revenue realized from tourism is channelled to the conservation of Kasanka National Park.
The Kasanka bats migration is the largest mammal migration in the world. The straw coloured fruit bats migrate from the central African region to Kasanka National Park annually. The fruit bats are known to travel great distances.
Each year (November to December), the ripening musuku and mpundu fruits attract an estimated 10 million migrating fruit bats. They congregate on an area of the mushitu forest due to the readily available wild fruits.
The straw coloured fruit bats settle in an area around the confluence of the Masala and Kasanka rivers. The bats remain in the area for a period of up to six weeks.
At sunset, the bats darken the sky as they move out of their roost to feed and also at sunrise as they fly in to settle on the trees. They create a scene not easily forgotten.
This massive number of bats, of about 8 million to 10 million, settles on one hectare of land lured by the swampy forests and abundant wild fruits of the Mushitu forest.
The concentration of the bats is very dense, up to hundreds of bats per square metre. When they are busy clinging on tree branches, the snakes and crocodiles are always waiting to devour the unlucky bats which fall below the trees!
The bats migration attracts huge international interest from researchers, tourists and naturalists from around the world.
As can be seen by the ever increasing number of visitors flocking to Kasanka National Park, the fruit bats migration has gained world-wide recognition.
Media houses like the BBC and CNN have given exposure of this natural phenomenon to the outside world, leading to an increase in the number of tourists. The BBC filmed it on their documentary ‘life’ and it was aired on the CNN TV channel.
The bats migration is attracting tourists from all parts of the world who flock to Kasanka annually to experience the wildlife phenomenon at Kasanka national park.
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