DestinationsSouthern AfricaZambiaSouth Luangwa National Park
Africa’s best kept Safari secret

Luangwa (meaning ‘fishing baskets’) Valley is situated at the end of the Great Rift Valley in a rift valley of its own. Between the walls of the escarpment, winds the Luangwa River at the bottom. Over many years, the river has receded and changed course, leaving lots of scenic ox-bows and lagoons, filled with hippos and crocodiles. The rich volcanic soil supports a wide variety of lush vegetation and a wealth of animal and birdlife. The first proper parks were created in 1938 and in 1972 they were turned into national parks: South Luangwa, North Luangwa, Luambe and Lukusuzi. Separating these are game management areas, which also contain good populations of game. This entire valley is remote but, for the enthusiast, the wildlife is well worth the effort made to get here.

For most visitors, South Luangwa National Park is by far the most practical park to visit in the valley. This is the largest of the parks, with superb wildlife and many excellent camps and lodges. The more intrepid might organise a safari from the South Park into North Luangwa, which is even more remote and exclusive. Once known as “The Crowded Place” and “The Kingdom of the Elephant”, the Luangwa Valley was sorely hit by poachers, who shot all of the valley’s rhino and severely reduced elephant populations. Fortunately, conservation measures have been stepped up due to the committed effort by several individuals, community members as well as parks authorities and the wildlife is flourishing once again.

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Today the Luangwa Valley is rife with over 50 mammals, ranging from herds of buffalo, hyena, elephant, zebra, jackal and 15 different antelope. It is the only place where one is able to see Thornicroft’s Giraffe and the endemic Cookson’s wildebeest and of course not forgetting the thousands of hippos and crocodile that lounge in the many pools and rivers, which they share with the abundance of fish life. Luangwa is reportedly known as one of the best places in Africa to see leopard, particularly if you make use of one of the many night-time game drives on offer, definitely an experience not to be missed.

Situated far from all the major cities, the Luangwa Valley is remote and has therefore been spared the masses of tourists in minibusses – this is a pristine, over 9 000km² stretch of lush riverine vegetation. With over 400 bird species seen throughout the valley, this really is a birdwatcher’s paradise. At the end of the dry season (end of November), hundreds of water-birds are attracted to the pools. Storks, Pelicans, Great White Egret, Black headed Heron, Goliath Heron and Crowned Cranes to name a few.

If you are a real Safari enthusiast and would prefer to steer clear of the modern day Landrover then you will enjoy stepping back in time and becoming one with nature on a Walking Safari. These were pioneered in the Luangwa Valley and going on one of these trails is still considered one of the greatest wildlife experiences in Africa. Whatever you decide to do whilst in the Luangwa Valley Region you will not be disappointed, it definitely lives up to its title as one of “Africa’s best kept secrets”.

Our Travel Experts have scoured the hills, valleys, lakes and wilderness that make up the Luangwa Valley so please do contact them to find out more about planning a safari and booking your accommodation, transfers and flights.

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Lower Zambezi National Park

South Luangwa National Park

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Fast Facts

The Luangwa Valley, like the Great Rift Valley, was created by faulting in the earth’s crust. This began 300 million years ago and led to the formation of the Lower Zambezi Valley. In more recent times, the Luangwa River has been constantly reshaping the valley floor, creating the watercourses.

Insider Information
  • A year round safari destination.
  • Go on a night drive here and you will have a good chance of spotting leopard.
  • Try a micro-light safari available at Tafika Camp.
  • Combine with a stay in the Lower Zambezi National ParkVisit the Kawaza village and immerse yourself in Zambian culture.

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When To Travel
  • Walking safaris are generally best enjoyed between the months of June and October.
  • The park becomes flooded during summer- opening up the possibility of river trips.
  • Warm, sunny days and chilly nights typify the dry winter months from June through August making it an ideal time to visit.

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We take pride in treating you as if you were friends or family. We want to ensure that your time in Africa exceeds your expectations, and that you’ll be back a lot sooner than you expected.

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