Zambia’s South Luangwa


The South Luangwa is a remote, vast and unspoiled ecosystem with varying habitats and an abundance of wildlife, making for incredibly exclusive safari experiences when you visit our luxury safari lodge, Puku Ridge.

While lacking in the water-based safari activities of our Lower Zambezi lodges Old Mondoro and Chiawa Camp, the safari experiences and activities of the South Luangwa include incredible walking safaris, photographic opportunities from the new hide at Puku Ridge, and the finest game viewing, day and night.

Enjoy a visual immersion of our Zambian safari activities below and get in touch to book with us when you’re ready to experience it all in person!


Safari Game Drives

There’s no better game drive safari experience than in our thoughtfully outfitted and custom built 4×4 luxury safari vehicles while in the South Luangwa. The safest and most effective way to explore this remote and pristine wilderness and enjoy its incredible wildlife, a game drive allows guests to get (comfortably) close to the animals. Varied habitat and diverse wildlife make for superb photographic opportunities where nature reveals its secrets right in front of you, undisturbed.

Our safari game drive activities typically venture out for a few hours in the morning and again in the late afternoon, culminating in sundowners (a cocktail of your choice and some delicious snacks if you wish) and then returning to camp on a night drive, using filtered red spotlights to enjoy the crepuscular and nocturnal creatures.

A night drive in the South Luangwa National Park is one of the activities that make Zambia particularly unique – a privilege our guests enjoy, and which have minimal impact on the wildlife when conducted responsibly, as at any Chiawa Safaris camp. Learn more about our use of red spotlights during night drives by clicking the button below.


Walking Safaris

The South Luangwa is home of the walking safari in Zambia, a most immersive of safari experiences that truly keeps you on your toes. Follow in the footsteps of explorers from the 18th century in a country that has scarcely changed and where the wildlife still roams freely. Bush walks are a sensory safari adventure and quite exhilarating, as you are on their turf now. Is that bird call a song or an alarm? Was that grunt a distant hippo or a nearby lioness?

But worry not, you are in the capable hands of an experienced, highly trained safari guide and an armed Government National Parks scout who will lead and enthrall you with insights you never knew and stories that you will take home with you, leaving you with memories you to treasure forever. By having two highly-trained guides with you,  we can maintain a high standard of safety and ensure you are able to enjoy your experience to the fullest extent without worry.

Find yourself walking through thick Ebony grove, across dry tributaries of the Luangwa and into Mopane forests. Track wildlife with your knowledgeable guides, from elusive Leopard and African wild dog, to the more easily spotted wildlife of Puku, Giraffe, and Elephant. Amble gently, taking in the uniquely Zambian sights, scents and sounds, which feel very different when experienced on-foot than in a game vehicle.


- Norman Carr

Photographic Hide

Our beautiful photographic hide at Puku Ridge, is one of our guests favorite new safari experiences. Observe (and photograph) wildlife without disturbing them from a very close vantage point. A rather serene and relaxed safari activity, where you can watch the uninhibited behavior of the animals as they make their way to our lodge-front watering hole. As they are unaware of your presence, you can truly take in the setting and scene as a quiet witness, as the wildlife go about their daily bathing and hydration.

A favorite for our herds of Elephant, there is nothing sweeter than to see than a new calf learning to roll and wallow in the mud, while testing their trunk in the water and bordering vegetation. Wildlife watching or photographic hides (also known as ‘blinds’ in America), are a wonderful way for wildlife to be viewed without disrupting or disturbing them. And they provide protection for viewers when observing larger or more dangerous species such as buffalo, elephant and lion. 

The wildlife hide at Puku Ridge ticks both boxes when it comes to the must-have traits of the best safari photographic hides. It is in a high wildlife traffic area and ideally positioned for avid photographers. The Puku Ridge hide is located just below the main deck, positioned right in front of the watering hole with an expansive view of the private plains as a backdrop. With both upper and lower windows spanning the length of the hide, along with cushions for elbows (and full body mats for laying flat) photographers can work with more than one angle – and stay comfortable whilst waiting for that perfect shot.

Safari Sundowners

It doesn’t get much more African than the traditional safari experience of sundowners in the bush. Our version of ‘happy hour’ out here, is often enjoyed during a break in your evening game drive, as the sun sets.A chilled drink of your choice and a delicious variety of snacks is served against the unforgettable African backdrop, as you take in the end of the day and the game drive sightings thus far.

The tradition began during British colonialism in Africa, growing out of necessity really instead of enjoyment, as the substance Quinine was discovered as helpful against the contraction of malaria in South America during the 18th century. Quinine, distilled into tonic water, was then mixed with gin, sugar, and lime to make it palatable. These days, however, the gin and tonic sundowner is more of a tonic for the soul than as a medicament.



- Winston Churchill

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