South Luangwa National Park
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Boasting one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa, South Luangwa is the birthplace of walking safaris. The park is located within the Luangwa Valley around a series of oxbow lagoons that are connected by the Luangwa River, the most undisturbed river system in Africa. South Luangwa has a rich biodiversity, supporting 60 different mammals and over 400 bird species. It is a haven for rare animals with 14 different breeds of antelope and rare subspecies such as Thornicroft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s zebra. South Luangwa is also one of the best places to see leopard in Africa.
About South Luangwa National Park
In 1903 the park was set aside as a protected reserve before officially becoming a national park in 1972. Despite being a haven for big game and renowned for its sensational wildlife viewing, the park receives a relatively low number of visitors annually, making a safari in South Luangwa a real highlight of a holiday in Zambia.
South Luangwa National Park Wildlife Safaris
Four of the Big Five can be found on a tailor-made safari in South Luangwa National Park. Elephant and buffalo are both seen frequently – buffalo form herds that number into the hundreds whilst elephants can often be seen crossing one of the park’s many waterways. Lion sightings are common and South Luangwa is one of the best places in Zambia to find leopard.
South Luangwa’s population of endangered African wild dog is one of the largest in Africa. Other iconic species that can be seen include giraffe and zebra which both appear in abundance. Kudu, puku, eland, bushbuck and impala are among the 14 antelope species often spotted.
Activities in South Luangwa National Park are many and varied, including game drives, night game drives, walking safaris, boat safaris, photographic safaris and cultural visits.
Birding in South Luangwa National Park
Recorded species of bird in South Luangwa number around 450. The vast numbers of colourful carmine bee-eaters that dig nests in the banks of the river are one of the birding highlights in the park.
Some of the birding specials in South Luangwa include the African skimmer, great white pelican, little bee-eater, Lilian’s lovebird, Pel’s fishing owl, Verreaux’s eagle owl, Western banded snake eagle and woodland kingfisher.
The best time for bird watching in South Luangwa is during the wet season from November to April, when migrating species have settled and are displaying their breeding plumage.
Best Places to Stay in South Luangwa National Park
There are several camps and lodges in South Luangwa suitable for most budgets and requirements.
Hand-picked Camps and Lodges
Contact our team today to discuss which South Luangwa National Park accommodation is most suited to you.
Best Time to Visit South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa is best visited during the typically dry winter months from June to November. During this period vegetation is thinner and animals stay closer to water, making them easier to find. Just be aware that the heat during October and November can become uncomfortable.
Birding is best during the wetter months from November to April, and during these months migratory species can found in the park. There are fewer tourists and animals drop their young at this time too. Humidity can be an issue and some camps do close between December and March.
Weather During the Year
How to Book a South Luangwa Safari Holiday
Take a look at our recommended South Luangwa safari itineraries and hand-picked South Luangwa lodges and camps for a bit of inspiration to get you started.
To discuss your Zambia safari holiday, South Luangwa safari packages and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our Zambia experts today by contacting us here.