Where to go

South Luangwa National Park

Zambia's most desirable safari destination!

Leopard in South Luangwa
Leopard in South Luangwa

South Luangwa National Park is located on Zambia’s eastern side and is considered the finest safari park in Zambia! The park is famed for its plentiful game, its variety of game viewing activities and most importantly, its exceptionally high quality of guiding and walking safaris that has raised the bar across all of Africa! At a size of nine thousand square kilometres, the topography of the park is one of the most varied in Zambia as the Luangwa River winds through vast open plains, dense woodlands and waterlogged marshes.

The birthplace of walking safaris

For those looking for an authentic and professional walking safari experience in Africa, Zambia is by far, the obvious choice! Norman Carr (founder of Norman Carr Safaris) was the original innovator of walking safaris in Zambia and his dream was to secure the future of Luangwa’s unique wilderness. He believed that you never truly knew a place until you’ve walked it and today, his legacy lives on across the Luangwa Valley as all of the camps have highly experienced and knowledgeable guiding.

What to do?

Whilst many national parks are limited to day game drives, South Luangwa National Park is a destination that benefits from its variety of safari activities, including day and night game drives and its infamous walking safaris. The day is often split between a morning and a late afternoon activity, allowing you a few hours in the middle of the day to enjoy a light lunch or indulge in an afternoon siesta or a relaxing armchair safari.

The wildlife in South Luangwa National Park is diverse and reliable, with huge herds of elephant or buffalo to be seen on a regular basis, as well as high populations of impala and antelope. There are many predators in the park including large lion prides, leopard and spotted hyena. Of all the predators, South Luangwa National Park has become renowned for its leopard sightings, seen on reguarly on game drives and even on foot! Although much more uncommon, it is also possible to see African wild dogs and the best time of the year to see them is between February and May.

When to go?

The South Luangwa National Park is seasonal and the best time to go is the period between June and October when the park is at its driest and the days are warm with plenty of sun. The game viewing by vehicle and foot, is the most reliable during these months as the animals concentrate around the rivers for their primary water source. The wet season outside these months make certain areas of the park extremely difficult, or impossible to access. This is because Luangwa’s infamous black cotton soil becomes extremely sticky and wet, making the roads simply impassable, even for safari 4x4’s! Some camps open during the ‘emerald’ season which lights up the park with vibrant green tones and it is a particularly good time to visit for those interested in birdlife.

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    At a glance... South Luangwa National Park

    • Size 9,050 km²
    • Location North Zambia
    • Recommended time 3 to 7 nights
    • Time to visit Best between July and October (dry season)
    • Safari Activities Walking safaris, day game drives, night game drives, fly camping
    • Topography open grassland/Acacia scrubland

    Further reading...

    Our top five hotels & lodges in South Luangwa National Park:

    1. Bilimungwe Bushcamp

      Bilimungwe Bush Camp

      Another of the Bushcamp Company properties is Bilimungwe, an intimate and stylish camp with a rustic and authentic safari feel to it. The reason that this camp, along with Chindeni, is one of the favourites of The Bushcamp Company is because of its location. Permanent waterholes and lagoons in... More...

      Our rating:
      5
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      4
    2. Nkwali Camp - Bedroom

      Nkwali Camp

      Nkwali Lodge is sat on the banks of the Luangwa River, on private land owned and run by Robin Pope Safaris. Its position, outside of the parks boundaries, means that exclusivity and privacy are combined with excellent game viewing… the perfect combination for those looking for seclusion!

      Our rating:
      5
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      Price:
      4
    3. Kakuli Camp

      Kakuli Camp

      Perched above the Luangwa River, Kakuli is a bush camp from the Norman Carr/ Time and Tide portfolio. The camp is comprised of large suites which are all beautifully open-plan, with the front of the room open to the wilderness and the bathroom open-air. The guiding is fantastic, the service is... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      4
    4. Tafika Camp - Bedroom

      Tafika Camp

      Sat just north of the Nsefu region in the South Luangwa National Park, is Remote Africa’s Tafika Camp. This intimate camp, which can accommodate up to 14 guests, offers authentic accommodation in the heart of the bush, with a delicate balance of comfort and rustic. Combining with Remote Africa’s... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
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      Price:
      4
    5. Chindeni Bushcamp

      Chindeni Bush Camp

      Chindeni is one of the most popular camps out of The Bushcamp Company portfolio, especially for keen birders! The camp overlooks a lagoon which is home to plentiful pelicans, yellow-billed storks, fish eagles, kingfishers and many more. The rooms are spacious and luxurious and the staff and guiding... More...

      Our rating:
      5
      User rating:
      5
      Price:
      4

    Our recommended top travel itineraries for South Luangwa National Park: