South Luangwa

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South Luangwa

Activities and Highlights
Region Map


"At the bottom of the Great Rift Valley lays an unspoilt wilderness of majestic beauty, with a variety and dense concentration of wildlife, making South Luangwa National Park one of Africa’s finest. Known as The Crowded Valley for good reason, the protected landscape is a sprawling paradise which has recently reintroduced black rhino and now proudly boasts the status of being an African Big Five park.

The mighty Luangwa River and its striking lagoon valleys are the backbone of the national park. The river system which runs through the park attracts much wildlife to its banks out in the open for easy game viewing. Lounging gracefully in the cooling waters of the river are the hundreds of hippopotami which can be seen when crossing over the bridge into the protected lands.

As the birth place of African Walking Safaris, there is no doubt that within the confines of the national park, it is a must do activity. Whatever your fitness level, the South Luangwa National Park offers a chance to gain an intimate intensity and a truly African experience when exploring the landscape and encountering wildlife on foot.

The sepia shades of bare bush become a brightly coloured emerald haven as the changing seasons usher in a splendid array of migratory bird life. South Luangwa National Park is prolific with well over 400 species of birds hidden in the beauty of ancient wooded forests."

Access Details

Daily flights enter South Luangwa and Livingstone from Lusaka. Mfuwe is the nearest airport and receives flights from Lusaka, Livingstone and Lilongwe in Malawi.

Suggested Stay Details

We suggest staying at two different lodges due to the vast area and its many eco-regions, and a visit of 6 to 7 nights would be ideal to explore the wilderness of South Luangwa National Park. Generally, walking safaris range between 4 hours to 8 days.

Type of Experience

"Located just outside of South Luangwa National Park is the Kwaza Village, which is home to the Kunda tribe. The village offers visitors the chance to experience Africa tribal culture and their traditions. Awarded with the Best Overseas Tourism Project by the British Guild of Travel Writers, this is certainly a village worth visiting.

The ancient forests of South Luangwa National Park offer a chance to explore the land much like the ancient hunters once did. The might mopane forest and the ancient baobab forests are estimated to be more than 300 years old."


South Luangwa National Park is ideal for those who wish to unwind and relax in remote Africa. Golden thatched chalets are nestled within the cooling shade of mighty leadwood trees. Elegant custom-made tents offer a sense of bush romanticism with views of ebony woodlands and open grass plains stretching in the distance.


Consisting mainly of woodland savannah plains, dominated by the miombo tree along the high slopes and mopane trees covering the lower regions of the valley.


"In 1934, Zambia designated three areas of land within the valley as game reserves, one of which is the South Luangwa National Park. Initially, protected land was set aside as early as 1904 to be utilized as a game park but due to mismanagement, refocus caused it to be split across three areas.

As game rangers, Norman Carr and Bert Schultz established hunting safaris within the confines of these protected lands. Since then, South Luangwa became renowned as a destination for walking safaris, encouraging wildlife conservation and community interaction."

Activities & Highlights

"WILDLIFE: South Luangwa National Park is home to more than 60 species of land mammals. Renowned as an ideal destination to spot Africa’s big cats, prides of up to 30 lions may be seen roaming the lands. Among the 14 species of antelope present within the park is the beautiful Kudu with its spiraling horns. Native to the area are Thornicraft’s giraffe and herds of Cookson’s wildebeest. Caracal, wild dogs, serval and jackal hunt these lands too with crocodiles and hippopotami seizing control in the muddy Luangwa River.

BIRDLIFE: The skies are aflutter with more than 400 bird species, 39 of which are birds of prey and 47 migrant species. The best time to bird watch is during the months between November and April. Migrating birds from as far as Europe fill the forests of South Luangwa National Park, including white storks, European swallows, steppe eagles, steppe buzzards and red chested cuckoo.

PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI: South Luangwa National Park is ideal if you are a photographic enthusiast. The park has many specially designed hides which allow you to get the best shots of some of the most spectacular wildlife. Tree top, river bank and grass hides all offer excellent angels to get the perfect shot of large herds of elephants or hundreds of swarming brightly coloured carmine bee-eaters."

Season Travel Details

"South Luangwa National Park has a humid subtropical climate. The dry season begins in April to November. The wet season is generally during the months of May to August.

May to August is peak season when temperatures are cool and dry. During September and October it gets extremely hot and humid, which offers the best game viewing opportunities as wildlife gather around rivers and waterholes."

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