South Luangwa National Park
For those keen to explore Africa’s wilderness while on foot or on a night game drive, South Luangwa in Zambia is one of the continent’s best. The Luangwa River meanders across the wide valley floor creating a system of ox-bow lagoons. Within the river and along its banks lies the largest concentration of hippo and crocodile in the entire world. Furthermore, South Luangwa’s leopards are prolific, and are most frequently spotted while on a night game drive. Other animals include the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest, elephant, lion, hyena, buffalo, zebra, impala, kudu, puku, and bushbuck. Over 450 species of birds reside in the Luangwa valley. In September and October, large numbers of carmine bee-eaters nest in huge, spectacular colonies.
A major reason for the appeal of South Luangwa’s walking safaris is its history. Norman Carr, an early champion of African national parks, pioneered the concept of walking safaris here in the 1950’s. Today, guests are able to embark on half-day or multi-day walking safaris from the various lodges and smaller bush camps within the park. Guests can also view wildlife from optimally located hides or blinds, or from a more intrepidly aerial view in a microlight! Some camps also offer boating safaris.
The NORTHERN part of South Luangwa has very few all-weather roads. Th e camps usually open in May and close by mid-November before the onset of the rains. Th is area is generally less crowded than Central Luangwa near Mfuwe.