South Luangwa National Park
Zambia’s game-rich South Luangwa National Park is best known for its walking safaris – an exciting way to get up close to Africa’s most iconic animals.
Often heralded as one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries, the South Luangwa National Park is one of three nature reserves in the Luangwa River Valley, set in remote eastern Zambia. Three features set this 9,050 square kilometres of pristine wilderness apart:
Firstly, South Luangwa is home to the most untouched river system in Africa, a lifeline for wildlife. Some 60 different mammals can be encountered here, ranging from huge elephant and buffalo herds to leopard – believed to occur in the world’s highest densities in this very park. Unique species ranging from Crawshay’s zebra and Thornicroft’s giraffe to Cookson’s wildebeest are found nowhere else on the continent. Furthermore, over 400 avian species have been recorded, making the area paradise for birders.
Secondly, the South Luangwa National Park harbours fantastically diverse scenery, from rich woodland brimming with all manner of magnificent hardwood trees to open floodplains favoured by herbivores close to waterways. Throughout the year, the landscape changes dramatically, being lush and emerald green during and after the rains, then turning into parched, dry scrub in the “winter” months (June-October). Each distinct season supports a range of different fascinating flora and brings with it fascinating animal behaviour to observe, from wildflowers and flocks of migrant birds to newborn animals.
Finally, the South Luangwa holds the distinction as the spiritual birthplace of the walking safari. Guides in the region are amongst Africa’s best, while operators often provide visitors with the opportunity to make their way on foot between campsites. Nothing in the world compares to tracking big game species such as lion on foot, listening and looking for signs such as spoor to locate wild creatures!
Most of the park’s camps and lodges are located near (or on) the Luangwa River, and are deliberately small and rustic to offer guests an intimate experience and personalised encounters with wildlife. If you’d like an even more exclusive safari, head up to the North Luangwa National Park, a truly untouched area where properties are few and far between.
Why should I visit the South Luangwa National Park?
- One of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries
- Home to some 60 mammal and over 400 bird species
- Unique animals such as Thornicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest
- Birthplace of the walking safari
- Authentic wilderness experiences amid spectacular, unspoilt landscapes
When is the best time to visit the South Luangwa National Park?
The dry season is the most popular time to visit South Luangwa as wildlife tends to congregate around the park’s few remaining water sources. This is also when most lodges are open. The green/emerald season is well worth considering however, as bird-watching is at its best and there are many newborn animals to see. During these months, safaris are most commonly done by boat.
Accommodation in the South Luangwa
The following are some of the lodges that we recommend in the South Luangwa National Park region. For information on additional accommodation not featured, please contact us.
Set in the remote southern reaches of South Luangwa National Park, this beautiful, well-shaded property overlooks a trio of waterholes frequented by a plethora of birds and wildlife.
Chamilandu Bushcamp is a collection of three handsome treehouses, whose lofty positions provide bird’s eye views of the wildlife attracted to the cool waters of the Luangwa River.
Chikoko Trails Camps
Chikoko Trails comprises of two small, exclusive bush camps in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park that are accessible only on a walking safari.
At the edge of a permanent hippo-filled oxbow lagoon, Chindeni Bushcamp is named for the magnificent hills which provide the campsite with a breathtaking backdrop.
Award-winning Chinzombo Camp is set on 60 private, pristine acres with prime views over the Luangwa River whose banks teem with all manner of game.
Kaingo Camp sits in the heart of prime gameviewing country - on the banks of the Luangwa River deep within the South Luangwa National Park.
Kakuli Bush Camp
Meaning “old buffalo bull” - a nickname given to Norman Carr by the people of the Luangwa Valley, Kakuli Bush Camp is the only true bush camp open during Zambia’s green season.
Nestled on a forested riverbank, Kapamba Bushcamp offers some of the best gameviewing in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park.
Kuyenda Bushcamp is a very special safari camp built by a dried up river in a very unspoilt sector of Zambia's wild South Luangwa National Park.
Luangwa River Camp
Depending on the time of year, guests at Luangwa River Camp have the privilege of accessing some of the South Luangwa National Park’s most prolific game areas by boat or by vehicle.
Luwi Bush Camp
Secluded Luwi Bush Camp nestles beneath enormous shade trees near a hippo-filled lagoon in Zambia's prolific South Luangwa National Park.
Mchenja Camp is a luxurious tented camp set on a very picturesque bend in the Luangwa River. It forms an ideal starting or end point for a walking safari throughout the pristine Zambian bush.
The following itineraries are just some of the many experiences that we can design for you. All of our tours are private, independent and tailor-made to your personal travelling requirements. Please contact us to begin creating your personalised Zambia experience.
Discover classic Zambia, combining walking safaris in the wildlife-rich South Luangwa National Park, with the spectacular Victoria Falls.
Highlights of Botswana and Zambia
This trip combines Zambia's wild South Luangwa National Park and iconic Victoria Falls with Botswana's magnificent Okavango Delta and elephant-rich Chobe National Park.
Discover the very best of wild Zambia on this sensational safari which combines the unspoilt South Luangwa with the lush, lovely Lower Zambezi.
South Luangwa FAQ
Why should I travel to Zambia?
Apart from being the site of the magnificent Victoria Falls, Zambia also offers game-rich wildlife parks that are relatively unspoiled by mass tourism. For the more adventurous, there are walking safaris and canoeing trips along the Zambezi River.
What is the climate like in Zambia?
There are 3 distinct seasons – cool and dry from May-July (23°-25°C) but cold at night, hot and dry from August-October (30°-40°C), and warm and wet from November-April (28°-35°C).
What can I combine Zambia with?
Zambia is best combined with its closest neighbours such as Botswana and Zimbabwe – which both offer amazing scenery and wildlife. South Africa is another option, where you can explore picturesque Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Cape Winelands.
How to get to Zambia?
There are regular flights daily from Johannesburg in South Africa to the Zambian capital of Lusaka, where you can board connecting flights to a range of safari camps. There are also regular flights from Johannesburg into Livingstone, a large town close to the Victoria Falls.
USA – There are no direct flights to Lusaka from the United States. The best connections are via Johannesburg, UAE or Nairobi.
UK/EU – Again there are no direct flights into Lusaka from anywhere in Europe. The best connections are via Johannesburg, UAE or Nairobi.
Want to know more about Zambia?
Visit our FAQ page or call us:
Australia: 1300 363 302
United States: +1 (213) 460 3364
United States: +1 (646) 217 0354
United Kingdom: +44 (20) 4518 8166
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