The perfect safari holiday in South Luangwa
The Luangwa Valley is the most fertile area and thus has the most prolific wildlife
Undoubtedly the best-known of Zambia’s National Parks, the South Luangwa covers some 9,050 km2 of Eastern Zambia and is a mixture of open savannah and Mopane woodlands. The plains and woods are punctuated by a series of rivers, most significantly the Luangwa River which is fed by smaller rivers such as the Mwamba and the Luwi, both of which lend their names to camps within the park.
As with most parks within Zambia, this is predominantly a seasonal park, with the main safari period running between April and May through to October and November, with exact opening and closing dates dependent on camp location. The summer rains render large parts of the park away from the Luangwa River inaccessible, although certain camps on the river do remain open throughout the year, offering the chance to enjoy boat safaris as well as game drives. Known as Emerald Season, this is a wonderful time for visitors looking to enjoy a luxury South Luangwa safari with few other visitors, marvel at the lush, green landscapes and enjoy excellent birding as well as general wildlife viewing.
In the longer dry season, the park is transformed into a golden-brown series of open plains, with wildlife congregating around the Luangwa River which, although generally not flowing, does hold large pools of water where hippo and crocodile can be found. Out on the plains there are herds of elephant and buffalo, lions stalking their prey and a burgeoning wild dog population. Birdwatchers will delight in the variety of species that can be spotted here, with September and October an especially popular time of year as this is when the beautiful Carmine Bee Eaters can be found nesting in the dry banks of the Luangwa River. However, it is for leopard sightings that this area is best-known, with these often elusive and solitary cats found with startling regularity, especially in the dense bush around the riverbanks. In addition a number of endemic species can be found here, such as the Thornicroft giraffe.
Accommodation in South Luangwa is wonderfully varied and spread around the park, meaning it never feels overly busy, despite featuring in almost all Zambian safari trips. The ‘main’ area of the park is around Mfuwe, which is also the access airport, with a number of lodges found both inside and outside the park. Style here varies from more basic tented camps to permanent lodges and one of the most luxurious camps anywhere in Africa, so there is plenty of choice. Away from this the accommodation is far more spread out, with properties built in the style of traditional bush camps using reed and thatch, with many of them being re-built every year. A few days in one of the more Northern or Southern parts of the park is the perfect complement to spending a few days in the Mfuwe area.
Activities here in the dry season are game drives, guided walks and, from certain camps, the chance to sit in specially sited viewing hides for ultimate photography opportunities. On a tailor made South Luangwa safari holiday is regarded as one of the finest places to enjoy walking safaris in all of Africa, with the flat, open terrain making it easy to spot wildlife. Plus the requirement to walk with an armed scout means that guides can dedicate their time and energy to their guests rather than keeping an eye out for potential danger. During the Emerald Season of November to March there is also the chance to enjoy boating safaris, although the exact timings when this is offered will be dictated by water levels in the river.
Far & Wild Customer Reviews
Find out what our customers think of their adventures!Read all reviews
Even in the middle of the Serengeti our Travel Co-ordinator was on hand to sort any hiccups.
An amazing experience showcasing the sights in India
Excellent service from start to finish
Our brief was 'Unknown Adventure' and they delivered!
Michael & Teresa travelled to São Tomé and Príncipe in December 2018 on a trip organised by .
First class travel company
A real trip of making memories
Heidi & Family travelled to Malawi in July 2018 on a trip organised by .
Zambia Safari Moon Romantic Adventure
- Kafue National Park
- Victoria Falls
- 10 Days
- £4955 PP
- View Trip
A Royal Zambezi Honeymoon
- South Luangwa
- Lower Zambezi
- Mana Pools
- 9 Days
- £4142 PP
- View Trip
Family Easter Zambia Safari
- South Luangwa
- Chindeni Hills
- Luangwa River
- 9 Days
- £3629 PP
- View Trip
Call Us - 01768 603 715
Unsure where to start? Give us a call and speak to our team.
Plan with an Expert
Have a look at our original holiday experiences and then contact us with your brief, or call 01768 603 715
A detailed itinerary in 24hrs
Our experts will send you a detailed holiday itinerary within 24 hours. It's our service promise to you.
Tailor-made doesn't mean expensive! Ask about our price promise and book with financial security.
A detailed itinerary in 24 hours
Speak to a Zambia expert to start planning your adventure
Call an expert on
01768 603 715