Situated in the north-eastern part of Zambia, the South Luangwa National Park occupies 9050 sq. kms along the banks of the Luangwa River, one of Africa’s last, large undammed rivers and which ultimately flows into the great Zambezi.
The natural floods and ebbs of this wild river have resulted in multiple rich, ancient floodplains and ox-bow lagoons fringed by lush forests that attract a huge variety of mammals and birds.
South Luangwa National Park is well known for its prides of lions, packs of wilddog, herds of buffalo, one of Africa’s largest hippo populations and several endemics such as the Thornicroft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s zebra and Cookson’s wildebeest – some 60+ mammal species in total. And then there are over 400 bird species from jewel-like sunbirds through to gorgeous crowned cranes.
Known as the “Valley of the Leopard” the South Luangwa has featured on numerous wildlife documentaries
The National Park has enjoyed protection since the 1930’s and much of its status can be attributed to the late Norman Carr who spent most of his life exploring and protecting “the valley”, and who pioneered the walking safari as Zambia knows it today.
Although the Luangwa River is not deep enough to allow safaris on the water during the dry season, this is made up for by the sheer volume and diversity of wildlife along its banks and a safari here should be on everybody’s bucket list.
Combining the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, especially when staying at a combination of our Chiawa Safaris camps – makes for the ultimate Zambian safari and one of Africa’s most desirable wildlife adventures.
The South Luangwa is one vast, unspoiled ecosystem with habitats varying from undulating hills to forests to grassland to riverine woodland to flood plain. These vary greatly with the seasons, greatly affecting the movements of the wildlife which call this vast and varied ecosystem home, and also enticing our passionate guests to return at different times of the year to really enjoy and observe the dramatic changing of the landscapes. And our two safari camps, newly launched Puku Ridge and in-renovation Chichele Presidential, are located center stage!
The diversity and quantity of the South Luangwa National Park’s wildlife is world famous and we are fortunate that both Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku Ridge are perfectly within this unspoiled paradise. This is one of nature’s great spectacles; home to more than 60 mammal species including Africa’s greatest hippopotamus population, huge herds of buffalo, uncountable antelopes, warthogs and zebras … and the predators that follow them!
Notable are the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra – all found nowhere else on the planet but in the South Luangwa. There are more than 400 species of birds in the South Luangwa thanks to the diverse geography of its landscapes – raptors, song birds, water fowl, migrants and whatever else takes flight – this is an avian paradise where any number of “lifers” await for even the most accomplished of ‘twitchers’.