For decades after its independence, Zambia remained a poor and underdeveloped country, often compared unfavorably with its prosperous and well-organized southern neighbor Zimbabwe. In recent years, however, Zimbabwe has been in turmoil and Zambia finds itself unexpectedly in the limelight. The country’s infrastructure remains patchy, but it possesses superb national parks and some of the finest game viewing in Africa, not to mention Victoria Falls. The South Luangwa National Park is magnificent. The Luangwa River is a major tributary of the Zambezi, and its muddy waters are home to tens of thousands of hippo. Every evening, huge herds of elephant saunter out of the bush to drink and to wallow. Lion are abundant, and leopard are frequently observed, especially on night drives with the aid of a spotlight.