South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park, which is Zambia’s premier wildlife destination, lies in large part between the Luangwa River to the east and the Mchinga escarpment in the west. It is 9,050 sq.km (3,500 sq miles) in size and home to over 60 species of mammal and almost 450 species of bird. The Luangwa River takes a slow meandering course down the valley, with the seasonal rise and fall in water levels many ox-bow lagoons are formed. It is the fertile soils associated with these lagoon systems which allow the large variety of species and a high number of animals that are found in the areas close to the main river.
There are a number of camps and lodges in the central Mfuwe area of the Park typically these are a little larger whilst the smaller bushcamps for which the Park has become so well known are in more remote areas farther afield. The South Luangwa is regarded as the home of walking safaris, certainly, they were commonplace in this Park long before anywhere else and with the high quality of guiding found at most of the safari operations there are few places better suited to this most exciting way of experiencing the African bush. Night drives are another popular activity offered by all camps giving guests the chance to see nocturnal species that will not be seen by day and of course the early evening hours are best for watching predators hunting.
The Luangwa Valley provides an excellent habitat for leopards leading to higher than usual concentrations, although they very often seem on night-drives it is not at all uncommon to see them in daylight hours as well. The Luangwa Valley used to host the largest population of elephant in Africa, whilst that is no longer the case the sterling work carried out by ‘Conservation South Luangwa’ means that numbers are increasing and that other species are in large part safe from the poachers gun. Most visitors will fly into Mfuwe Airport which is about half an hour’s drive from the main entrance to the National Park.