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.
Known as the “Valley of the Leopard” the South Luangwa has featured on numerous wildlife documentaries and is as 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 Chiawa Camp/Old Mondoro/Puku Ridge, makes for the ultimate Zambian safari and one of Africa’s most desirable wildlife adventures.