South Luangwa National Park


South Luangwa has been dubbed by experts as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and with good reason. The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons, is among the most intense in Africa.

The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life-blood of this 9059 km2 park. The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. The now famous ‘walking safari’ originated in this park and is still one of the finest ways to experience Africa’s pristine wilderness first- hand. The changing seasons add to the park’s richness, ranging from dry, bare bushveld in the winter to a lush, green wonderland in the summer months. There are 60 different animal species in South Luangwa National Park. The only notable exception is the rhino, sadly poached to extinction.

With about 400 of Zambia’s 732 species of birds appearing in the park, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is plenty for the birdwatcher to spot, whatever the season.

An interest in the vegetation of Zambia will enhance your experience of the bush. Some magnificent trees and plants grow in the Luangwa Valley and it certainly adds to the richness of one’s experience to be able to recognise the different tree species and to discover exotic wildflowers. Among the more common trees in the valley are the mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, the tall vegetable ivory palm, the marula and the magnificent tamarind tree. The are some magnificent baobab specimens and a few large ebony forests to admire.

Activities

Game Drives & Night Drives

If you’re staying at one of the Valley’s lodges, the guides will ensure you have every opportunity to see all that the valley has to offer of its wildlife, birds and varying vegetation and habitats. Morning drives usually start before sunrise, allowing you to take in the best of the morning game-viewing. The afternoon drives often continue after dark to try and spot some of the Park’s night-time inhabitants.

Mobile Walking Safaris

You will be accompanied by a guide as you walk from one overnight camp to another deep in the heart of the park, along the river banks, exploring areas where there are no roads so you are unlikely to see anything but wildlife. This park is one of the best known for these types of safaris.

Birding Safaris

There is a vast array of birds in the park. A birding safari is usually accompanied by an ornithologist or an expert birding guide.  Bird lovers appreciate the time to listen to bird song, twitters, and calls, while still enjoying the opportunity of seeing large game.

Boat Safaris

The South Luangwa River offers a spectacle of wildlife to view safely from the comfort of your boat. The Luangwa River is best navigated in the rainy season when it is fuller. The scenery is lush and verdant and hippos and crocodiles are everywhere, elephants will be common too but most of the other animals will not need to come to the river in the wet season so the focus will be on the experience itself more than game viewing but most operators combine boating and walks.

Community & Conservation Projects

Kawaza Village

Just outside of the Park is Kawaza village, home to the Kunda tribe. Here you will be able to experience the culture of the local people as well as the opportunity to stay in a simple African thatched hut. The village was the winner of the prestigious British Guild of Travel Writers’ Silver Otter Award for the “Best Overseas Tourism Project.”

Project Luangwa

Project Luangwa is a charitable organisation formed by the Safari Operators of South Luangwa as a part of their commitment to responsible tourism. Their aim is to create an effective, coordinated approach to helping local communities improve their long term economic prospects whilst avoiding a negative impact on the environment and wildlife.

Conservation South Luangwa

Their mission is to work with community and conservation partners in the protection of the wildlife and habitats of the South Luangwa ecosystem. This will encourage the long term survival of wildlife and habitats in South Luangwa under the custodianship of the Zambian people.

Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust​

This trust teaches Zambian children the value of wildlife and their environment so they can be conserved for present and future generations.

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Accommodation in South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park's Best Lodges

Kaingo Camp by Shenton Safaris

Kaingo Camp has six beautifully appointed chalets nestled under towering ebony trees, on the banks of the Luangwa River.

Island Bush Camp by Kafunta Safaris

Island Bush Camp is located 2 ½ hours from the main lodge, Kafunta River Lodge, in a very remote and wild area of the southern section of the South Luangwa National Park.

Chindeni by The Bushcamp Company

In a gorgeous location on the edge of a lagoon where hippos chortle and elephants wallow, stands Chindeni.

Chikoko Trails Camps by Remote Africa Safaris

Chikoko Trails incorporates two small and exclusive bush camps, Chikoko Tree Camp and Crocodile River Camp, from which unparalleled walking safaris are offered, strolling from camp to camp.

Puku Ridge by Chiawa Safaris

Managed by Chiawa Safaris, Puku Ridge is brimming with authentic history, creativity and conservation ethos.

Bilimungwe by The Bushcamp Company

Set beneath a huge mahogany tree, the heart of Bilimungwe is the cool, shady lounge area overlooking one of the camp’s three waterholes.

Mfuwe Lodge by The Bushcamp Company

Award-winning Mfuwe Lodge is located inside South Luangwa National Park, around two lagoong.

Kafunta River Lodge by Kafunta Safaris

A classic Zambian safari lodge, Kafunta River Lodge combines all the ingredients for a successful safari: personalized service, excellent guiding, sublime location and stellar food.

Kuyenda by The Bushcamp Company

Set beneath shady trees by the Manzi River, Kuyenda embodies the authentic charm of old Africa with its cluster of four traditional thatched grass huts and back-to-nature feel.

Tafika Camp by Remote Africa Safaris

Located on the banks of the Luangwa River, north of the Nsefu Sector of the South Luangwa National Park, Tafika Camp is ideal for those who enjoy the serenity of the bush.

Zungulila by The Bushcamp Company

Zungulila is a charming camp that embodies the essence of old Africa and a bygone era, with breathtaking views onto the Kapamba River.

Mwamba Camp by Shenton Safaris

Mwamba Bush Camp is an intimate, four-chalet camp offering total immersion in the wilderness of the Luangwa.

Thornicroft Lodge

Thornicroft Lodge is a small intimate bush-style lodge set in a beautiful location on the banks of the Luangwa River with spectacular views over the Park.

Lion Camp

Lion Camp is a small 10 suite, intimate, luxurious lodge, based in one of the most exclusive, remote and abundant game-viewing areas of the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.

Three Rivers Camp by Kafunta Safaris

Three Rivers Camp is located at the confluence of the Luangwa River, the Kapamba River and the Lusangazi River, tucked away under the shade of Sausage trees, between the river and a game-rich lagoon.

Chamilandu by The Bushcamp Company

A breathtaking camp, perfect for a bird’s-eye view of the wildlife that the nearby river and its lagoons attract, there’s nothing quite like waking up at Chamilandu!

Kapamba by The Bushcamp Company

Located on the banks of the spring-fed, eponymous river, Kapamba is surrounded by some of the park’s richest wildlife.

Flatdogs Camp

Flatdogs Camp has evolved over the last fifteen years into a truly excellent safari camp offering outstanding safaris from a beautiful site right next to the South Luangwa National Park.

Shawa Luangwa Camp by Green Safaris

Shawa Luangwa Camp is located on the banks of the Luangwa River in the heart of the Lupande GMA.


Other places to Visit

Zambia's Hotspots

Livingstone

Lower Zambezi is still relatively undeveloped, with it’s beauty lying in its wilderness state. The diversity of animals is not as wide as the other big parks, but the opportunities to get close to game, wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular.

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi is still relatively undeveloped, with it’s beauty lying in its wilderness state. The diversity of animals is not as wide as the other big parks, but the opportunities to get close to game, wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular.

Liuwa Plain

The remote Liuwa National Park lies along the Zambezi flood plain in western Zambia and covers an area of 3,600 square kilometres of remote, wildlife-rich wilderness.

North Luangwa National Park

North Luangwa spans a total of 4636 square kilometres, offering one of the best wilderness experiences in Zambia.

Kafue National Park

Found in the centre of western Zambia, Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest of Zambia’s national parks. It covers a massive 22,400 km2.