Giraffe, Luangwa Riverbed, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

North and South Luangwa

If you are after a remote and true African safari holiday then the North and South Luangwa is the place to find it.

The region offers a great diversity of wildlife and some of the most authentic safari bush camps and guides in Africa. South Luangwa is renowned for its walking safaris and prolific leopard sightings, whilst North Luangwa is a wilderness visited by few.

A leopard on the hunt at night, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa, Zambia
Lilac Breasted Roller, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Lilac Breasted Roller, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Giraffe, Luangwa Riverbed, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

South Luangwa National Park

Marking the southern end of the Great Rift Valley, South Luangwa is the richest park in Zambia and possibly the finest wildlife sanctuary in Africa for scenery and variety of animals. The Luangwa River, which meanders gently through the park, enhances it even further.

A combination of oxbow lakes, forest and plains are hosts to huge concentrations of game (an excess of 60 different species), whiles providing shelter to over 400 species of birds.

Elephant herd crossing Luangwa river, South Luangwa, Zambia
South Luangwa, Zambia
Black Rhino, North Luangwa, Zambia
Black Rhino, North Luangwa, Zambia
View from room, Chinzombo, South Luangwa
Chinzombo, South Luangwa, Zambia

North Luangwa National Park

The North Luangwa is more difficult to access and home to only a handful of camps. Here, a walking safari is your main option. In the wilderness areas of the park, experience walking safaris from one camp, led by experts in the field of guiding with many years of experience under their belts.

Walking safari, South Luangwa, Zambia
South Luangwa, Zambia
Elephant herd crossing Luangwa river, South Luangwa, Zambia
South Luangwa, Zambia

Walking safari in South Luangwa National Park

Take a walking safari in the wilderness with some of the best walking guides in Africa. An on-foot safari here is not just a nature walk; track big game, including predators, across the landscape. At night, sleep in a bush camp with just paraffin lamps for your light and the stars above the fire.

Soak up the feeling of the heat of the sun, the water and mud of the Luangwa River between your toes and the peaceful silence, knowing you are one of a handful of visitors.

Leopard, South Luangwa, Zambia
South Luangwa, Zambia

Fertile Grounds

“Subtle and unassuming, this most natural of settings is home to an astonishing abundance of game. This is down to one thing, the Luangwa River. It is the soul of the park and you feel its presence as soon as you enter. Unusually for an African river of this size, it remains untouched by people. No dams, no irrigation; it flows freely in its natural state.”

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Experiences

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Black Rhino, North Luangwa, Zambia

Remote North

Explore remote and wild North Luangwa. Home to endangered black rhinos, this little-visited park is very different from its southern namesake.

Wading on walking safari, South Luangwa, Zambia

Walking Safari

Experience the thrill of approaching big game on foot – accompanied by one of the best walking guides in Africa.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Isolated elephant in a mist of sprayed water, South Luangwa, Zambia

Boating

During the park’s green season, take to the Luangwa River by boat. Spot wildlife on the banks and birdlife over the water.

Suggested camp

Leopard lying in Tree, South Luangwa, Zambia

Big Cats

Explore South Luangwa in search of its feline population. Lion sightings are guaranteed, but it is leopards for which the park is most famous. Hope to catch a glimpse of one of these beautiful predators.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Tribal Textiles - Zambia

Tribal Textiles

After a wildlife-packed safari, pick up a souvenir or two from the Tribal Textiles shop. These beautiful, hand-crafted textiles were all produced by the local community, providing vital employment.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Chamilandu Bushcamp £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Chamilandu Bush Camp nestles in splendid isolation overlooking both the Luangwa River and the rugged Nchindene range of hills bordering the valley. Accommodation comprises three grass and thatch chalets with comfortable beds, mosquito nets and en suite facilities. The camp is ideal for small groups seeking a heightened wilderness experience and the opportunity to explore this magnificent wildlife sanctuary on foot. Open to a 180-degree vista, Chamilandu is a small classic safari camp which is situated in a cool ebony grove high on the banks of the Luangwa River, with breath-taking river views across to the Chindeni Hills in the distance.

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Chinzombo £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Chinzombo is a luxurious camp with spacious living areas that melt into the exquisite surroundings of this beautiful site. Gigantic, ancient trees offer peace and tranquillity for those staying in any one of the six spacious villas, one of which is a suite with extra space for families or small groups. Each villa has its own private plunge pool, cooled sleeping areas, and massive bathroom with luxurious spa amenities. The camp is set within 60 acres of private land with Luangwa River frontage; the views from its riverside location which teems with wildlife, plus the private, direct access into one of the most game-rich areas of the National Park all combine to make this a truly special place.

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Zungulila Bushcamp £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Each of Zungulila’s shaded tents has its own private bamboo veranda with immense views over an impressive variety of wildlife, from thirsty elephants at the springs and flocks of birds on the river to prowling lion and large herds of buffalo on the grassy plains. With stylish interiors, en suite bathrooms, hot-and-cold running water, outdoor showers and sunken plunge-pools you can enjoy your creatures and your creature comforts in this classic tented bush camp.

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Tafika £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Owned and operated by John and Carol Coppinger, Tafika is a lovely friendly camp. It is situated just north of the Nsefu Sector and has sweeping views down the Luangwa River. The food here is very good, with much of it homegrown in the camp’s large vegetable gardens. Accommodation at Tafika is in four thatch chalets made from golden coloured grasses, each with an open-air bathroom. Activities include day and night game drives, walking in the park and, dependent on water levels, it may be possible to canoe across the river into the park. All guides are very knowledgeable, having spent at least seven years in the Luangwa Valley.

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Kapamba Camp £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Set in a remote corner in the southern region of the South Luangwa National Park, is Kapamba Bushcamp. Lying on the banks of the shallow, spring-fed Kapamba River in a peaceful, secluded area Kapamba is surrounded by some of the park’s richest wildlife with fabulous views over the watercourse. The camp has four spacious and comfortable river-facing open-fronted thatch and screed guest chalets. With en-suite bathrooms that include hot and cold running water, a double-size indulgent sunken stone bath and twin showers all perfectly positioned to enjoy river views chalets also include mosquito nets as well as a verandah.

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Kafunta River Lodge £££££

  • Zambia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

This classic Zambian safari lodge, with and warm personal feel, overlooks the great floodplain of the Luangwa River and offers some superb game viewing and birdwatching from the comfort of camp. Accommodation consists of 10 private chalets built on raised wooden platforms with thatched roofs and charming African interiors. The main lounge, bar and dining area is built around a large mango tree and have impressive views across the game-rich flood plain. Beyond the plain is the Luangwa River and one of the best game viewing areas of the magical South Luangwa National Park.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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