Zambia's most famous safari destination, South Luangwa National Park is tropical, wild, beautiful and full of game.
Situated in a wide rift valley, the park is flanked by the Muchinga escarpment to the west and the meandering Luangwa River to the east.
Wildlife of South Luangwa National Park
Much of the game is found near the river, with herds of elephant and buffalo descending the dusty banks to drink. Large crocodiles laze on sandbanks and at dusk hundreds of hippo leave their pools and lumber up the banks to graze. Impala and puku are common and the beautiful Thornicroft’s giraffe can be seen in the dappled forests. Cookson’s wildebeest, Crawshay’s zebra, waterbuck, bushbuck, grysbok and oribi are also found. Predators abound with lion and spotted hyena, while the leopards are always a highlight.
Finally, there are over 400 species of bird with highlights including flocks of crowned cranes, colonies of carmine bee-eaters and a breeding colony of yellowbilled stork.
Walking safaris are a speciality in the Luangwa. Accompanied by guides and scouts, walks explore the riverbanks and pretty dambos with their green Nile cabbage and crocodiles. There are also day and night drives in open 4WDs.
The Green Season
In November the Luangwa receives its first rains. Short downpours followed by warm sunshine lead to an explosion of vegetation. Grass grows to six feet tall, trees flower, pans fill and rivers burst their banks. Animals take advantage of the abundant food to give birth to young, and flocks of migrant birds arrive. It’s a time of plenty, when the parks are colourful and bursting with life.
During the rains Kapani, Nkwali and Tafika run green season safaris exploring the tributaries, flooded pans and accessible plains. These are superb for bird watching and seeing Africa at its most vibrant.
Suggested itineraries featuring South Luangwa National Park
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in South Luangwa National Park, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of South Luangwa National Park
Places & hotels on the map
Accommodation choices for South Luangwa National Park
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit South Luangwa National Park. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.