Renowned by experts as one of the world’s premier wildlife sanctuaries, South Luangwa lives up to its reputation with an unparalleled concentration of animals along the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons.

The Luangwa River stands as Africa’s most intact major river system, coursing through this expansive 9,050km2 (5,623mi²) park and sustaining a diverse array of wildlife, birdlife, and vegetation. It’s here that the famed ‘walking safari’ was born, offering visitors an intimate encounter with Africa’s unspoiled wilderness. Seasonal shifts bring dramatic transformations, from the dry, rugged bush of winter (April to October) to the lush, vibrant greenery of summer (November to March).

South Luangwa National Park boasts an impressive biodiversity, with 60 different animal species and over 400 bird species. Regrettably, the rhino, once a resident, has fallen victim to poaching and is now extinct in the park.

Birdwatchers will delight in the park’s avian diversity, with approximately 400 of Zambia’s 732 bird species making appearances throughout the year. From majestic birds of prey to migratory species, there’s always something new to spot amidst the park’s varied habitats.

An appreciation for Zambia’s flora enhances the bush experience, with the Luangwa Valley adorned with magnificent trees and wildflowers. Recognizable species include the mopane, leadwood, ivory palm, and marula, among others. Baobab trees dot the landscape, while ebony forests stand as testament to the valley’s natural splendor.

South Luangwa National Park, nestled in the eastern part of Zambia, stands as a testament to Africa’s pristine wilderness. This iconic park beckons adventurers, nature lovers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike with its untamed landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

Best Time to Visit

Understanding the seasonal rhythms of South Luangwa is key to experiencing its wonders to the fullest. The dry season, spanning from April to October, offers unparalleled opportunities for wildlife sightings, as animals gather around the dwindling water sources. Alternatively, the green season, from November to March, paints the landscape in vibrant hues, teeming with newborn wildlife and lush vegetation.

How to Get There

South Luangwa National Park is accessible by both air and road. The nearest international airport is Mfuwe Airport, located approximately 15 kilometers from the park’s main entrance. Visitors can also opt for scenic drives from nearby towns or cities, with well-maintained roads leading to various park entrances.

Popular Safari Tours

South Luangwa National Park ZambiaNumerous safari operators offer guided tours tailored to explore the best of South Luangwa’s wildlife and landscapes. From classic game drives to walking safaris led by experienced guides, there’s a safari experience suited to every adventurer’s preference. Wildlife enthusiasts can also opt for specialized photography safaris or birdwatching expeditions, ensuring an unforgettable journey through this African wilderness gem.

A Glimpse of the South Luangwa’s Wildlife

South Luangwa is renowned for its staggering diversity of wildlife. Here, visitors can encounter the Big Five — lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos — alongside an array of other fascinating creatures. From graceful giraffes to elusive wild dogs, each safari excursion promises unforgettable encounters with the untamed inhabitants of the African bush.

South Luangwa – Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Bird enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise amidst South Luangwa’s avian treasures. With over 400 bird species gracing its skies, including colorful kingfishers, majestic eagles, and charismatic ground hornbills, the park offers endless opportunities for birdwatching aficionados to spot rare and endemic species.

Lodges and Camps in South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa boasts a range of accommodation options catering to every taste and budget. Here’s a curated list of lodges and camps, categorized based on their standards:

Standard Accommodations:

Thornicroft Lodge

Thornicroft Lodge offers a comfortable retreat amidst the wilderness of South Luangwa. Nestled along the banks of the Luangwa River, the lodge provides cozy chalets or safari tents with en-suite facilities. Guests can unwind in the serene surroundings, enjoying meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients and partake in guided safaris to explore the park’s abundant wildlife.

South Luangwa Accommodation ThornicraftCroc Valley Camp

Croc Valley Camp provides a relaxed atmosphere for guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of South Luangwa. The camp offers a range of accommodation options, including safari tents and traditional rondavels, all equipped with basic amenities. Visitors can enjoy meals at the camp’s restaurant, embark on guided game drives, or simply unwind by the campfire under the starlit African sky.

Flatdogs Camp

Flatdogs Camp seamlessly blends comfort with adventure, providing guests with spacious safari tents and chalets nestled amidst the captivating wilderness. Committed to eco-friendly practices, the camp offers a sustainable yet indulgent experience. Whether embarking on thrilling game drives to encounter Africa’s iconic wildlife or enjoying tranquil river cruises, every moment at Flatdogs promises excitement and immersion in nature’s wonders. Discover the perfect balance of luxury and wilderness exploration at Flatdogs Camp, where unforgettable adventures await.

Wildlife Camp

Wildlife Camp provides a rustic yet charming accommodation option for those seeking an authentic safari experience. Set against the backdrop of the park’s lush vegetation, the camp offers comfortable tents and chalets with private verandas. Guests can savor delicious meals at the camp’s restaurant, join expert-guided safaris, or simply relax and soak in the sights and sounds of the African bush.

Top-End Lodges:

Mfuwe Lodge

Mfuwe Lodge epitomizes luxury in the heart of South Luangwa, offering elegant accommodation overlooking a lagoon frequented by wildlife. The lodge boasts spacious en-suite chalets with private decks, exquisite dining experiences, and indulgent spa treatments. Guided safaris led by knowledgeable guides ensure unforgettable wildlife encounters.

A photo of elephants at the reception in Mfuwe South Luangwa, Zambia

Accommodation South Luangwa MfuweSanctuary Puku Ridge Camp

Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp offers a secluded retreat amidst the park’s pristine wilderness, with luxurious tented suites perched on a ridge overlooking the floodplains. Each suite features contemporary amenities and private decks for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Guests can enjoy gourmet meals, guided bush walks, and exclusive game drives in search of the park’s iconic wildlife.

Chinzombo Safari Camp

Chinzombo Safari Camp stands as a pinnacle of opulence amidst the African wilderness, seamlessly marrying modern design with sustainable ethos. Situated within a serene grove of ancient trees along the banks of the Luangwa River, this retreat offers spacious villas adorned with private pools and sweeping vistas of the untamed landscape. Indulge in gourmet delights, rejuvenate at the on-site spa, or delve into exhilarating safari expeditions guided by seasoned experts. At Chinzombo, every moment is an invitation to immerse oneself in luxury while embracing the raw beauty of nature.

Kaingo Camp

Kaingo Camp offers a unique safari experience, combining rustic charm with modern comforts. Tucked away in a remote corner of South Luangwa, the camp’s thatched chalets overlook the Luangwa River, providing a tranquil setting for wildlife viewing. With guided walking safaris, game drives, and birdwatching excursions, Kaingo Camp promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa’s wilderness.

Each of these establishments offers a unique blend of comfort and immersion in the African wilderness, ensuring an unforgettable stay amidst the splendor of South Luangwa National Park.