Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park (Valley of the Leopards)
South Luangwa National Park is where most of the safari camps and lodges are located as this area is accessible most of the year. Camps are a 1-4 hour drive from Mfuwe airport. Luangwa is in the top 5 of Africa's most famous parks with its world-class safari camps and first-class guides. Some offer excellent mobile and fly-camp options.
Our favourite camps which are all different in style vary from luxury safari lodges and family safari houses, or the old presidential lodge Chichele to the simple tented bush camps and small satellite walking camps. Our favourites are Tafika, Lion, Kaingo and Kafunta camps (with Island bush camp and Three rivers camp), Nkwali, Tena Tena, Nsefu, Chinzombo (with Muchenja, Kakuli, Nsolo and Luwi), Mfuwe Lodge and their bushcamps (Chamilandu, Chindeni, Kuyenda, Kapamba, Zungulila and Bilimungwe) make a great combination safari.
Activities are twice a day with an early morning game drive or walk and a late afternoon/night drive . Some camps offer hides, great for keen photographers as an extra activity. In the 'emerald season' some camps offer safaris with river trips.
Thornicroft's giraffe has a different colouration than the giraffes in the rest of Southern Africa. Cookson's wildebeest have slightly reddish bands and they are a little smaller than their blue cousins. Crawshay's zebra is an endemic subspecies of the more common plains zebra, completely lacking the brown shadow-stripes between the black stripes. Elephant and buffalo occur in strong herds, and antelope are numerous. The main predators are lion, leopard, spotted hyena and wild dog. South Luangwa is the place to see leopard.
Birds - over 400 species have been recorded. The best time for birding is from December to March (the 'emerald season'), when the summer migrants are here. Water is everywhere, encouraging waders, flocks of herons, egrets and storks and several species of geese and ducks. During the rains the Nsefu Sector is host to huge breeding colonies of yellow-billed storks. Don't miss the migrant carmine bee-eater colonies which nest in holes in the side of sandy riverbanks. Peak nesting activity is usually best around September to October.
North Luangwa National Park or 'the North Park' is remote and largely untouched, with few roads and restricted access, this offers a much wilder experience than the much larger South Park. Camps only operate from June to October and are accessible by air or road. There are only a the few camps in the North Park (Mwaleshi).
Activities in North Luangwa safari are walking-only but a vehicle is available for driving guests out to more remote walking areas. Buffalo herds are much larger than those in South Luangwa and it has some very strong prides of lion. North park is where you will find the black rhino.
It is home to aIt is home to a couple of East African bird species that don't usually occur further south - like the chestnut-mantled sparrow weaver, the white-winged starling and especially the yellow-throated longclaw.