Hit Enter to search or Esc key to close
South Luangwa National Park is one of the most magnificent wilderness areas in southern Africa. The park is bordered by the great Luangwa River, which supports a large diversity of megafauna along its course through eastern Zambia. One of the largest populations of hippo and crocodile resides in the river, while elephant, zebra and many predators are attracted to its fertile and forested banks. The park is famous for leopard sightings, and the many spotted cats that hunt on the river have earned it the nickname "The Valley of the Leopard". South Luangwa is also the home of the walking safari, a tradition pioneered by Norman Carr in the 1960s, and still carried out today. Great lodges, high quality guiding and stunning wilderness make this one of our top adventure safaris.

Things To Do in South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park Safari

Track wildlife on a game drive

Whether you’re watching elephant crossing the mighty Luangwa River, home to one of Africa’s largest populations of hippo, or enjoying the birds flittering above oxbow lagoons, Zambian safaris don’t get much better than in the South Luangwa. The park allows open vehicles, which should prick up your ears – it means 360° wildlife-spotting and incredible photography. Your safari is led by an expert guide, who knows every creature in the park and how to follow their trail. Most camps offer two drives a day (one early in the morning and one later in the afternoon, continuing into the night) allowing you to really get to grips with all the park has to offer, broken only by bonnet tea breaks or sundowners in a scenic location.

Track wildlife on a guided walking safari

Pioneered by the legendary conservationist Norman Carr in the 1950s, South Luangwa is the birthplace of the walking safari. You’ll be led by a park ranger and expert guide, trained to decipher the tiniest detail and predict an animal’s movements, often leading to moments unique to a walking safari. And your guide has a bank of knowledge to go with every discovery. Along the way, you’ll cross rivers in between herds of elephant and spy on leopard dozing in a tree, stopping occasionally to examine the handiwork of a dung beetle, admire the birds, or for a well-earned cup of tea. Seeing wildlife undisturbed and in their own element, from the smallest critters to the biggest, this is a walking safari in South Luangwa. Leave at first light to catch the animals at their most active and youo’ll be out for around four hours. For the most comfortable and lucrative conditions, June to September is the best time to go.

South Luangwa National Park Safari
South Luangwa National Park Safari

Search for the leopards of South Luangwa

You may have heard tales of just how elusive leopard are, but South Luangwa isn’t called the ‘Valley of the Leopard’ for nothing…it’s home to some of the highest numbers in Africa.  If it’s your mission to see these spotted beauties in the wild, set out in the early morning (returning for brunch) or late afternoon – sundowners included, as they take up residence in an ebony tree or slink down to join the hunt. Night drives are especially good and with the expertise of your guide, you’ll have the chance to meet their arresting gaze glowing under a spotlight, perhaps having dragged their kill into a tree. On safari, there are few things that come close

Follow wild dogs in the South Luangwa

With its tie-dye coat and mouselike ears, it’s easy to see why the African wild dog (or the more endearing ‘painted dog’) has become a talisman of a true safari. They are also one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores but thanks to unwavering conservation efforts, there are now over 350 mature painted dogs in the Luangwa Valley. While these animated hounds are constantly on the move to avoid their nemeses (lion and hyena) and sniff out prey, the fantastic guides in South Luangwa have a trick or two for tracking them – and you might just see them mid-hunt. Most active in the early morning and late afternoon, you’ll set out from camp (we know some good ones) in good time, looking for the pack.

South Luangwa National Park Safari
South Luangwa National Park Safari

Spend the night fly-camping under the stars

There’s something about sleeping under the stars that’s utterly magical. And a sleep-out safari in the South Luangwa isn’t any old camping! You’ll be spoilt with dinner cooked over the campfire, soak up safari tales told by some of the greatest guides on the continent, then curl up under your mosquito net and nod off to the sounds of the Zambian night. You might just be woken by the sounds of a herd of elephant passing by at midnight, but no need to worry as there is an armed scout on watch throughout the night. The following morning, it’s bacon and eggs with the sunrise and a walking safari back to camp. Fly camping is at its best towards the end of the dry season (July to September) when the temperatures are warmer and there are fewer mosquitoes.