Unquestionably one of the best game viewing areas in Zambia, if not Africa, the South Luangwa puts forward a steely argument for such praise. Phenomenal game viewing, unique activities and a remote setting offer visitors to this verdant wilderness an ideal safari experience. Part of the Luangwa Valley, the park covers 9,050km², with the beautiful Luangwa River serving as one of its most defining geographical features; the river's appeal lies in its seemingly untouched state and the oxbow lagoons it creates - which are a major draw for wildlife.
Along with its natural beauty the South Luangwa is famous for its conservation efforts and walking safaris, both of which are deeply linked to the endeavours of Norman Carr. Formerly a ranger, Carr's decision to base safaris around shooting animals with cameras rather than guns, while giving something back to the local people, proved a successful one. Not only do such initiatives characterise what the South Luangwa stands for today, the park created the mould for many of Africa's game parks to follow.
Carr's walking safaris were not only a success in the South Luangwa they have become a staple part of safaris across Africa, and are one of the best ways to get in touch with the wildlife of a park. Watching big game while on foot is always exhilarating and the South Luangwa doesn't disappoint with huge herds of buffalo and elephant common sights.
Plains game in the park is plentiful and there are a number of rare species to watch out for, including Crawshay's zebra and Thornicroft's giraffe. Lion and hyena sightings are excellent, particularly so for lions, with large prides easily spotted. On a South Luangwa National Park safari leopard sightings have a somewhat legendary reputation thanks to the park's night drives. These unique game drives offer a very special window into the leopard's nocturnal world, one not to be missed. Endangered wild dog can also be found in the park although sightings remain coveted.
The South Luangwa is home to numerous camps and lodges, the vast majority of which choose a fantastic riverside situation - perfect for a spot of casual game viewing.
Our favourite itineraries, showcasing the best of South Luangwa National Park
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A stunning camp set on a bend in the Luangwa River. Contemporary style meets safari chic in this oasis in the wilderness, where you stay in one of 6 comfortable villas and enjoy spectacular guiding, taking in the South Luangwa's magnificent big game.
With a fantastic situation on the edge of a lagoon, take in sightings of hippo and elephant from Chindeni Bush Camp. Four very comfortable tents provide accommodation, with private decks extending over the lagoon.
For a traditional safari experience in teh South Luangwa this is the ideal camp: aside from upgraded facilities this charming bush camp has remain relatively unchanged since 1951. Expect fantastic elephant sightings and views of the Luangwa River.
Tucked under a canopy of ebony and mahogany trees, Mfuwe Lodge is a choice accommodation for exploring the South Luangwa. Comfortable chalets and a open plan lounge with swimming pool are an ideal base from which to embark on guided walks and game drives.
Luwi Bushcamp is found in the heart of the South Luangwa Ntional Park and offers superb game viewing, a stunning remote location overlooking a lagoon and comfortable accommodation in the wilderness.
Mahogany trees tower above this stunning camp in the South Luangwa. Set in a quiet corner of the park expect 4 chalets, true African style, walking safaris and views of nearby waterholes.
Chamilandu Bushcamp is a remote property tucked away beneath a grove of ebony trees. The camp offers a fantastic safari experience, with thrilling walking safaris and tree house accommodation.
Set high off the ground on wooden platforms, from your chalet enjoy charming views of the nearby river. Expect classic bush camp accommodation along with day and night walking safaris.
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