A Peek Into Lusaka’s Conservation Hub:
The Wildlife Discovery Centre

Join me on a journey to one of Zambia’s remarkable conservation treasures – the Wildlife Discovery Centre in Lusaka. Opened in August 2022, the Wildlife Discovery Centre was established through the collaborative endeavours of Game Rangers International (GRI) and their partners to offer a blend of exhibits, memorable animal encounters and an immersive learning experience for visitors spanning all age groups. The hub’s inauguration coincides with the relocation of the Lilayi Elephant Nursery to the central hub of the Lusaka National Park.

The Wildlife Discovery Centre aims to significantly contribute to wildlife and ecosystem preservation, aiming to nurture awareness and instil a greater sense of conservation stewardship. This mission is accomplished through guided tours of the Welcome Hub, Explorertorium, elephant nursery and conservation huts, each with distinct themes, dotted around the centre.

Your exploration begins at the Welcome Hub. Here, you can purchase admission and insightful overview of the Wildlife Discovery Centre and Lusaka National Park is generously provided. The affable team sets high expectations of what you will experience and see as you progress through the premises. The strategically placed QR codes around the property are noteworthy, allowing visitors to swiftly access information about each area of interest without needing a tour guide.

Have you ever wondered about Zambia’s oldest national park? West Lunga National Park in North-Western Province is Zambia’s oldest and was established in 1940. I learned this nugget of information and specifics about game management areas, forests, sanctuaries, and national parks across Zambia, with exact sizes, courtesy of a comprehensive map in the welcome lobby.

After an insightful mull around the Welcome Hub, you encounter elegantly designed conservation huts adorned with lively handpainted murals by local artists. The huts give a glimpse into the ongoing conservation efforts of various partners across different regions of Zambia, notably South Luangwa National Park and Kafue National Park. While wildlife conservation takes centre stage, a pleasing revelation is cataloguing trees on the premises, shedding light on forestry conservation initiatives close to home. I learned so much about initiatives and diverse projects striving to safeguard and conserve wildlife, while educating and supporting communities to live sustainably.

At the heart of the Wildlife Discovery Centre lies the Exploratorium, a central hub offering an immersive learning experience about Zambia’s diverse ecosystems. Murals and educational boards vividly illustrate the forest, woodland, savannah, and aquatic ecosystems. The information is thoughtfully complemented by artefacts from different species. The facility provides a unique opportunity for visitors, especially those yet to explore Zambia’s diverse ecosystems, to gain exposure right on the outskirts of Lusaka.

A brief stroll from the Exploratorium leads to you to the sheltered elephant viewing deck where you learn about the rescue, rehabilitation, and eventual release of orphaned elephants back into the wild in Kafue National Park. Situated below the viewing deck, is the Elephant Nursery which serves as a haven for elephant calves rescued from life-threatening situations due to poaching, human-wildlife conflict, abandonment, or lack of care within male-led herds. A behind-the-scenes pass revealed the invaluable work of caregivers providing round-the-clock care, nourishment, and medical attention, creating a nurturing environment that mimics the elephants’ natural habitat.

The nursery’s resident orphans adhere to a meticulously planned meal schedule, ensuring they receive as much nourishment as possible. Caregivers prepare their meals using water, oats, infant formula, coconut powder, and moringa tailored to individual nutritional needs. You can witness this spectacle daily from 11:45 to 13:00 hours.

Expect moments of sheer delight as you witness the wobbly, wrinkled calves trotting over to their caregivers for midday nutrition. The genuine bond between each calf and its caregivers is heartwarming, as they precisely know whom to approach during feeding time. Extend your stay after feeding to relish these burgeoning giants’ playful, mischievous nature.

Wrap up your journey to the Wildlife Discovery Centre with a bout of retail therapy at The Collective, featuring locally crafted souvenirs from communities supported by various conservation projects. Alternatively, indulge in a snack at the Bush Café, offering sweet and savoury light bites and refreshing beverages. If you prefer to continue your commune with nature, pack a picnic basket and savour your meal in the picnic area, complemented by a children’s play area featuring a wooden playground sculpture.

So dear adventurer, the next time you are in Lusaka and looking for an exhilarating way to spend your time, include the Wildlife Discovery Centre to your itinerary. Immerse in nature, acquire new knowledge and join in the collective endeavour to preserve Zambia’s rich biodiversity.


 • Look out for the two fig trees planted at the Wildlife Discovery Centre entrance in honour of our founding Father, Dr Kenneth David Kaunda and a patron in conservation, David Shepherd.

• As you exit the welcome hub, look out for the mileage sign in the middle of the courtyard indicating the direction of each major national park.

• The murals in the conservation huts are hand-painted by local artists.

• An art installation of 1000 snares recovered in the South Luangwa National Park alone through conservation efforts.

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