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South Luangwa National Park

About South Luangwa National Park

Whether you are an experienced safari-goer or on your first adventure to Africa, you will be blown away by the majesty of the South Luangwa National Park, which is fast becoming the place to go for the best game viewing in Southern Africa. Located in eastern Zambia, the park takes its name from the Luangwa River, which flows along the eastern boundary of the park. This majestic river provides year-round water to the game which resides here, as well as a spectacular riverfront location for many of the lodges. 

The South Luangwa's development from the former playground of the big game hunters to one of Africa's leading conservation areas has been remarkable. Today, it offers consistent sightings of the iconic lion, elusive leopard and the beautiful but endangered African wild dog. A South Luangwa safari will also give you the chance to see herds of elephants, Crawshay’s zebra and Thornicroft’s giraffe, which can only be found in the south Luangwa Valley area. 

As well as the 60 different species of mammal you are able to spot here, South Luangwa National Park is also thriving with birdlife, being home to over 400 species of bird. This includes the park’s colonies of southern carmine bee-eaters; colourful birds which gather in their hundreds on the Luangwa’s river banks.

The beauty of the South Luangwa lies, not only in the animals that you can see here but in the variety of ways that you can see them. It was the original region for walking safaris when former hunter Norman Carr wanted to take his visitors to see the animals in as natural a way as possible. As a result, the area now boasts Africa's best-trained guides for guided walks. This means you get up close to a huge variety of animals, making for a truly extraordinary experience.

You are always accompanied by both a guide and an armed scout; the guides fully dedicate themselves to your experience, while the scout keeps watch to make sure you stay safe. Game drives are naturally a big part of your time here and in season, you will be able to enjoy boat trips along the Luangwa River. This gives you a totally different perspective on the incredible wildlife you will encounter.

Another great draw of the South Luangwa is the variety of accommodation which is available. The area offers options to suit all visitors, but without being overcrowded with lodges. For those looking for true luxury, Chinzombo is an excellent choice and is complemented by some wonderful rustic bushcamps such as Luwi and Kakuli.

Families looking for privacy will be charmed by Robin's House and Luangwa Safari House, while Flatdogs is a great alternative for those looking to meet other families to share their safari adventures with.

However you wish to explore the South Luangwa, please get in touch and let us know. Here at Africa Travel, our helpful experts will recommend the perfect camp (or camps) for you to make the experience as perfect as possible. South Luangwa truly is one of the best safari experiences in Africa; we cannot recommend it highly enough.

For more information, why not speak to one of our experts on +44 (0) 20 7843 3500 or email info@africatravel.co.uk

Experiences

  • Walking safaris - this is the home of the walking safari and an experience not to be missed
  • The area offers some of the best leopard sightings in Africa and also an excellent chance of seeing the endangered African wild dog
  • When water levels permit many lodges offer boat cruises along the Luangwa River which is a stunning way for you to see the park from a different perspective
  • Enjoy some fantastic mobile camping trails in the north-eastern part of the park - walking between a new campsite that is prepared for you every night

Wildlife

  • Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Wild Dog, Hippo, Serval, Striped Jackal, Puku, Roan, Sable, Reedbuck

Seasons

  • June to October - Regarded as Safari Season, when the dry, cool conditions make it ideal for game viewing, especially for the predators for which the South Luangwa is so well known. The mornings and evenings can be cool so take a good jacket on your activities with you. The ideal time of year for walking, even through the heat of the day
  • November to May - Known as Secret Season in the park, this is becoming an increasingly popular time to visit, with more and more camps now open all year round. This is the time of year when you can enjoy boat safaris and it is ideal for birding enthusiasts. It still allows for good predator sightings as well, although you generally have to work a little harder to find them

In The Know

    • An increasing number of lodges are now open in Green Season (November to May) which is still a fantastic time to visit the park and much quieter. You will also be able to enjoy river safaris at this time of year which is a wonderful experience
    • If you are looking for a true South Luangwa experience, you should look to combine one of the more rustic bushcamps in the north-eastern corner of the park that focuses on walking safaris before heading further south to enjoy one of the more luxury lodges where game drives tend to be the order of the day
    • Each year Robin Pope Safaris offer a number of specialist safari weeks, including Photography Safaris, joining a Carnivore research team or the chance to see the Kasanka Bat Migration. Please ask us for further details and dates
    • Families looking to have a safari and beach break can easily combine the South Luangwa with a trip to Lake Malawi for their beach time. Daily flights from Mfuwe to Lilongwe mean they can be easily combined and this makes for a great combination for families

Africa Travel Latest

The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa.

Simon Taylor Sales Supervisor, London

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