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Extraordinary wildlife encounters in the mecca of walking safaris

One of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in all of Africa, South Luangwa National Park is the jewel of Zambia’s wildlife destinations.

Situated in a sweeping valley between the Luangwa River and the Muchinga escarpment, South Luangwa is renowned for its incredibly dense and diverse wildlife populations and is arguably the best wildlife-viewing destination in Zambia.

The winding Luangwa River is the honeypot of the national park, as hoards of big game and birdlife flock to the fertile banks to drink. With some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa descending on the plains, the park puts on a world-class show of predator action.

In South Luangwa, you’ll be spoilt for animal sightings with over sixty different species. The park is home to the iconic Big Five, with excellent numbers of lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo. The region is particularly renowned for its prominent leopard sightings, with one of the largest populations in Africa.

Although the black rhino has been wiped out due to poaching, you have the chance to spot this endangered species in Luangwa’s northern sister park.

You’ll also have the chance to spot huge pods of hippos, crocodiles, rare Thornicroft’s giraffes, zebra, impala, puku, wildebeest, hyena, grysbok, oribi, waterbuck, bushbuck and even rare Cape wild dogs (also known as painted wolves or wild dogs).

Birdwatching is a goldmine with more than 400 bird species found in the park including Carmine bee-eaters, bateleurs, snake eagles, ground hornbills, crowned cranes and yellowbilled stork.

Spanning over a massive 9,050 square kilometres, the area was declared a game reserve in 1928. The region’s pristine wilderness has been well-preserved, providing a stunning backdrop to your wildlife encounters.

You’ll roam through wide open grassy plains, dense woodland savannahs, thick marshlands and lush tributaries. As the birthplace of walking safaris, you’ll even get to see it all on foot.

The original walking safaris began in the 1950’s when Norman Carr, a young visionary conservationist, worked with Senior Chief Nsefu (the paramount Chief of the Kunda people) to form a Game Reserve on a section of tribal land.

Norman opened the first game-viewing camp to the public and today South Luangwa is still one of the best places in Africa to go on a walking safari. A truly exhilarating experience, a walking safari is the best way to soak up the magic of the African bush.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Best times to visit South Luangwa National Park

The best time to visit South Luangwa National Park is during the dry season from May to mid November. The top wildlife viewing months are towards the end of the dry season, from July to mid November, when the bush is very dry and animals congregate around the rivers. The weather is sunny and the mornings are cold from July to August, however it becomes extremely hot by October.

November brings the beginning of the wet season, with sizzling, humid weather and plenty of rain. Some roads become impassable and lodges often close between December and March. However, this is the best time for birdwatching and to see newborn animals. The scenery bursts with lush greenery and there are also fewer crowds, but the rain means that most wildlife becomes more difficult to spot.

Zambia monthly weather chart

Zambia Safaris Featuring South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park is featured on all our suggested Zambia itineraries. As the country’s premier wildlife sanctuary, South Luangwa is an unmissable destination for everyone, from couples and families to wildlife enthusiasts and those wanting to see Zambia’s top sights.

Stay in luxurious safari camps on our Luxury Zambia Holiday, go to places only accessible on foot in our Zambia Off the Beaten Track holiday and see the most dense and diverse species on our Zambia Wildlife Holiday.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Lodges & Camps in South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa is brimming with luxurious safari camps from the lavish suites of Time + Tide, to the romantic chalets of Kafunta River Lodge. Escape the crowds with Tena Tena and Chikoko Camp, with Chikoko only accessible on foot, and journey to Island Bush Camp for an off-the-grid experience in the Zambian wilderness. Flatdogs Camp is an ideal base for wildlife watching, with treehouses, chalets, safari tents and private pools and viewing decks.

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Talk to the team

Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on +44 117 313 3300