Zambia’s Premier Wildlife Destination for Africa’s Best Walking Safaris
South Luangwa National Park is the luxury safari highlight of eastern Zambia and one of the great remaining unspoiled regions of Africa. South Luangwa National Park is a place that still feels relatively untouched by modern humans and is therefore uniquely able to provide an unpredictable and exhilarating luxury Africa safari experience.
The impressive park covers an area of about 9050 square kilometres of the Luangwa Valley floor. With its western and north-western edge bounded by the Muchinga Escarpment, and the southern border lined with the meandering Luangwa River, there is no shortage of dramatic and fascinating topography in this stunning game-rich Africa park. The Luangwa River is the most intact river in Africa, and its tributaries and lagoons are the lifeblood of this region. And the changing seasons, from the ‘dry’ season in the winter to the ‘emerald’ season of the summer months, make this a vibrant and charismatic part of the world that you do not want to miss.
Very few places in Africa can offer the unique combination of South Luangwa National Park's open, grassy plains and mature, mesmerizing woodlands, crowned with the pristine, impressive Luangwa River. This area's reputation for abundant wildlife and unspoiled vegetation is well earned, so whether driving around or walking through, the intense beauty calls to you from every corner.
Africa’s Best Walking Safaris in Big Game Country
It was in South Luangwa National Park, that the now famous ‘walking safari’ originated, when Norman Carr, who was originally a ranger in the game reserves in the 1940s, began to operate wilderness safaris in the area.
Sometimes, your own two feet are the best way to experience the wild wonders of the African bush. Walking along the banks of Zambia’s Luangwa River, watching the antics of kingfishers and African fish eagles over the water, all while following a guide tracking giraffe prints… this is what a wild African safari entail.
South Luangwa is the perfect place to get out there, awaken your senses and really experience Africa…on foot. When you walk in the wild, you become a part of your environment and enjoy an authentic African safari experience. Depending on the time you have, your fitness level and your need for modern creature comforts, you can choose between a classic multiday walking safari, sleeping in luxury tents in temporary camps in the middle of the bush, or short nature walks between other safari activities.
Watching animals on foot at a safe distance, is a primal experience and your own instincts and excitement will kick in, heightening the experience emotionally. Although you may be able to travel further in a vehicle, on foot you can reach places that a 4×4 vehicle cannot. You will also be closer the tapestry of smells, sounds and signals of the bush, like noting where a porcupine dragged its quills during the night, where frogs have spawned or how dung beetles tackle their crucial task so diligently. Walking safaris also provide you with a freedom incomparable to any other safari activity. Once on foot, you are not constrained by roads and can go almost anywhere you like. The guides each boast an extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna in the area, and you will learn more on foot about Africa’s smallest and greatest creatures and plants than when driving in a vehicle.
Big Game, Endemic Zebra and Giraffe & 300+ Bird Species
There is a strong, diverse population of big game in the Luangwa River valley and surrounding areas. South Luangwa’s concentration of animals is some of the densest in all of Africa. The Park offers a multitude of game that will satisfy any Africa safari bucket list: from predators like the famed African wild dogs, majestic lions, and lean leopards to big game favourites like elephants, buffalo, and hippo, this park has them all.
South Luangwa also offers unique animal sightings, such as Zambia’s beloved Crawshay’s zebras (whose stripes are more distinct than those found further south and west); 14 different species of antelope, including the elusive bushbuck; and the attractive kudu, with its spiral horns and delicate face. Vervet monkeys and baboons have made their homes in various parts of the park and can be heard calling to each other in the canopy of trees. And do not forget the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffes and Cookson’s wildebeest, which are found only in this region.
You will want to pack your binoculars and a camera so you can capture your sightings of these amazing creatures. And because this park offers both day and evening game drives, which is unique in the world of African safaris, a whole other nocturnal realm is opened for your viewing excitement.
Whether you are already a hardcore bird enthusiast or have never thought twice about ‘birding’ before in your life, after your first safari to South Luangwa, birds will win over your heart. 378 species have been recorded here, including many species of eagles, herons, storks, bee-eaters and kingfishers. The valley shores are also rich in wading birds, both resident and migrant; uncommon residents include ospreys, spoonbills and African skimmers.
Miles from Civilization but Accessible by Air
South Luangwa National Park is situated in a remote corner of Zambia, Africa. Although you are a thousand miles from the hustle and bustle of city life, South Luangwa is fairly easy to access. The most favoured option is to fly into the national park via Zambia’s capital city Lusaka. Your starting point will always be Lusaka’s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN). Lusaka Airport has multiple daily connections with Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa. From Lusaka flights are available to Mfuwe Airport – South Luangwa’s main access point.
It is also possible to travel domestically from Livingstone to Lusaka or vice versa which is ideal for travellers visiting the Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park areas. Many travellers also visit Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia as direct flights are available from and to the Jeki and Royal airstrips.
When you arrive in Lusaka your South Luangwa safari adventure is about to begin. From here it is a 70-minute short flight to Mfuwe Airport. All onward connections to the national park are facilitated by Proflight Zambia. Once landed at Mfuwe your chosen lodge will collect you and transfer you to your final destination where a cold drink will be ready and waiting.
For memories that last a lifetime, tailor your ideal African safari
Jewel of Africa works with your wish list, or offers obligation-free advice, on personally-curated safaris to fit your schedule, budget and desires.
Africa's Top Safari Experts
For experienced travel guides, personalized attention to detail, luxury travel and accommodation, choose jewel of Africa Safaris.