South Luangwa National Park

A southern extension of the Great Rift Valley, Zambia’s vast, wild Luangwa Valley hosts a trio of national parks, the largest and most developed of which is 3,490-square-mile South Luangwa.  The park is named for the Luangwa River, which forms a major magnet for thirsty wildlife in the dry season (May to October). It is also the original home of the expertly guided walking safaris for which Zambia is famed, and one of the best places in the world to see leopards in action.

Discover South Luangwa National Park

The legendary conservationist Norman Carr pioneered South Luangwa’s renowned walking safaris back in the 1950s. Led by highly qualified armed guides, these walks on the wild side offer a good opportunity to see elephant, buffalo and the likes without the intrusive presence of a car engine. Most camps offer walks as an alternative to game drives, but to really experience South Luangwa on foot, book an extended walking safari connecting a few different camps.

Night drives on South Luangwa are possibly the most rewarding anywhere in Africa. The leopard ‘hit rate’ is exceptionally high, while other frequently-encountered nocturnal specials include genet, civet, white-tailed mongoose, honey-badger, porcupine, bushbaby and four-toed elephant shrew.

With leopards being so regular, visitors can be reasonably confident of encountering four of the Big Five on a South Luangwa safari. The exception is black rhino, which is quite likely to be seen if you tag on a stay at neighbouring North Luangwa National Park, the last Zambian stronghold for this endangered creature.

As the Luangwa River retreats towards the end of the dry season, much of it is too shallow to support hippos, which tend to concentrate in a group of a hundred or more in a few isolated pools.

Scroll to Top