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 compact 9 000km² / 5 600mi² reserve is still largely unexplored, giving the South Luangwa a distinctly raw edge and making it a top choice for an authentic, off-the-beaten-track safari experience.
Morning, afternoon and evening game drives will deliver great sightings on a South Luangwa safari but many visitors set out to explore 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.
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 such as zebra, Thomson's gazelle and antelope.
You’ll be in safe hands whether in a vehicle or on foot: the reserve is also famous for its incredible guides, many of whom grew up in the area and have decades of guiding experience so you’re sure to see – and learn – a lot.
For the more adventurous traveller or for seasoned safari goers looking for something new, we'd recommend a walking safari in the South Luangwa that overnights at a remote tented camp. In addition to the unmatchable thrill of approaching big game on foot, you will stay in incredible locations.
And 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, beautiful scenery – imagine a candlelit dinner in a dry riverbed under a blanket of brilliant stars.
After a few night on a walking safari, take your pick of luxury lodges on the banks of the Luangwa River to rest before heading to your next destination.
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 (about November to April, also known as Green Season). Read about the best time to visit Zambia or simply contact one of our Africa Safari Experts for assistance on planning a perfectly timed trip.