One of the world’s great wildlife sanctuaries, this park is bordered by the Rift Escarpment and boasts an impressive concentration of game along the Luangwa River, with rhino the only notable exception.
You can easily spend a week here, combining different bush camps.
South Luangwa National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities from 4x4 safari vehicles by day and night, on foot, in hides and even by boat.
Indeed, in areas adjacent to the Luangwa River and its lagoons it boast one of the most concentrated areas of game anywhere in Africa. Covering an area of over 9,000 square kilometres, the waters from the Lunagwa river ensures a wide range of different vegetation and therefore a vast array of birds, animals and insects.
Over 60 mammal types and 400 different bird species can bbe found in the park.
South Luangwa is famous for pioneering walking safaris - the chance to explore areas of pristine wilderness on foot, accompanied by a qualified guide/tracker. With terrain varying from dry savanna and beautiful river trails, to woodland, there is plenty to explore and enjoy.
One animal that you are almost guaranteed to see is the hippo, estimated to inhabit the Luangwa River at a density of over 50 per kilometre.
Lions and leopards live here in good numbers, and it is one of our favourite places, alongside South Africa's Kruger, to try and see Africa's most elusive big cat.
Elephant, giraffes, zebra and a whole host of grazers can be seen, and it is also home to wild dogs and jackals. Birding is superb - Storks, egrets, herons, cranes and pelicans all take advantage of the many shallow lakes to fish for their food. There are also Steppe Eagles, hornbills and bee-eaters amongst the 400 or so type of bird on view. Watching the carmine bee-eaters from the special floating hide in September at Kaingo Camp is one for the bucket-list (books up a year in advance!).
You won't find rhino here. There used to be a healthy population of black rhino but they were poached out. However, white rhino were translocated from South Africa to Livingstone in Zambia for a reintroduction programme and there is also now a free-ranging population in North Luangwa with plans to reintroduce rhino to other areas.
The dry season runs from April through to October, which along with November tends to be the hottest time of year. The wet season starts in November and lasts until March. During the rains many camps in the Luangwa close but there are notable exceptions to this, with some camps open year-round and offering exploration by boat. Most of the mobile camps and walking safaris operate April/May to October/November when the rains break.
Images: Robin Pope Safaris; Time & Tide; Mfuwe; Shenton Safaris
Visit Zambia's key wildlife areas - the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa.
A superb safari combining South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi National Park.