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Safaris in the Luangwa Valley

The Luangwa River cuts a deep valley through plains, woodland and riverine forests en route down the Zambezi. This massive conservation area contains 4 national parks of which the South Luangwa and the “North Park” are renowned for big game and first class safaris hosted by some of Africa’s top Professional Guides. Explore the mainstream or go beyond the obvious from the south!

The valley has a long history of game protection since the 1960’s and safari operators particularly over the last 2 decades are largely responsible for this remarkable conservation success in southern Africa.

It’s renowned for leopards and other predators and holds strong populations of elephant, buffalo and antelope. Hippos and crocodiles are plentiful in lagoons and seasonal pools left after the rains. The national parks have important populations of Thornicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest.

The legendary South Luangwa covers a vast 9050 square kilometres and is dominated by a flood plain and savannah that extends from the Luangwa River to the Muchinga escarpment rising over 800 metres from the valley floor in the west.  Annual flooding between January and April replenishes the area’s game carrying capacity as it fills the low-lying plains and spawns new ox-bow lakes.

The North Luangwa, about half the size of the southern park is an undeveloped an entry-restricted gem in the African bush. Similar in terms of game and vegetation, this wilderness area is known for its big buffalo herds and attendant lions. The Park still remains largely off-limits to the public as it has for nearly 5 decades… If you’re looking for exclusivity and remoteness, then you’ll find few places in Africa to compare!

The valley essentially a dry-season safari destination. As all of the camps are small and relatively exclusive, advance bookings are recommended in the “high season” from July to September.  The “green season” during the warm rainy season from November to April is especially good for birding safaris.

This is one of our favourite regions in southern Africa.

Ideal for safari first-timers and seasoned safari-goers alike

You’ll find top notch guides in small camps, abundant wildlife, night drives and especially good walking safaris. Aside from mainstream options in the south there’s relatively simple access into some especially rewarding areas for specialists.

Home of the walking safari
Home of the walking safari

Tread Zambian soil for some of Africa's best traditional walking safaris, particularly in the South and North Luangwa Parks, and indeed, the country was the very birthplace of this very special African activity.

Night drives are a speciality and provide the best means for seeing some of the more elusive nocturnal species, including leopard and rarer/unusual creatures like the aardvark and porcupine.

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Highlights

Walking trails Walking trails View More

Here’s a chance to experience the best of Africa’s wilderness – on foot! Tame nature trails put one in direct touch with much broader environment of small creatures, birds, plants and bugs. In wilder areas which are home to big game the addition of a Professional Guide, scout or armed ranger on our walking safaris adds a dimension of excitement that few experience and none usually forget!

Night drives Night drives View More

Most game watching is done from dawn to dusk when nocturnal species remain elusive and well hidden. Not so after dusk! Some private reserves and National Parks allow night drives – in all cases by using non disruptive red filters. Where permitted, you’ll encounter nightjars, lions, leopards, genets, civets, honey badgers, bush babies; perhaps rare creatures – aardvark, pangolin, fishing owls

Grisly predator kills Grisly predator kills View More

A fact of life is that Africa’s predators kill to eat otherwise they would starve, and there’d be no lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyaenas or wild dog. A kill is the best place to watch Africa’s big cats, and accompanying scavengers like vultures and malibu storks. Big cats such as lions, have special long whiskers used to detect close up objects when stalking, to avoid making rustling noises.

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