Wild, remote and packed with big game, the South Luangwa is Zambia’s premier wildlife destination. Luxurious camps and lodges sit on the banks of the meandering Luangwa River but much of this 9 000km² reserve is still largely unexplored, giving the South Luangwa a distinctly raw edge and a top choice for travellers looking for an authentic safari experience.
Morning, afternoon and evening game drives will deliver great sightings on a South Luangwa safari but many visitors set out to explore the park on foot: after all, this park was the birthplace of guided walking safaris and still stands out as the best place in Africa to experience the thrill of walking through big game country.
And big game you'll certainly see. South Luangwa's lakes and rivers are a magnet for large herds of elephant and buffalo; lion, hippo and crocodiles are common; and the region is well known for its high density of leopard as well as endemic species such as Crawshay’s zebra and Thornicroft’s giraffe plus all the classic plains game species.
Rest assured however that you’ll be in safe hands whether in a vehicle or on foot: the reserve is famous for its incredible guides, many of whom grew up in the area and have up to 20 years of guiding experience so you’re sure to see – and learn – a lot.
For the more adventurous traveller, we'd recommend a walking safari that overnights at a remote tented camp. Don’t be put off by the term 'tented camp': this comfortable accommodation offers good quality linen, warm showers, delicious food and, best of all, incredible off-the-beaten-track locations – imagine a candlelit dinner in a dry riverbed under a blanket of brilliant stars.
You’ll need to plan your South Luangwa safari carefully as the valley undergoes dramatic seasonal changes and many of the smaller camps close during the summer rainy season (November to April). Read about the best time to visit Zambia or simply contact one of our Africa Safari Experts for assistance in planning a perfectly timed trip.
At a Glance
Home to arguably the best walking safaris in Africa, South Luangwa also offers day and night game drives. Always great for predators, the dry-season game viewing is extraordinary.