North and South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park is arguably the best wildlife-viewing destination in Zambia. It has a number of excellent lodges and tented camps, with more budget accommodation available just outside the park at Mfuwe Bridge. This Mfuwe section of the park gets relatively busy and can feel a bit touristy at times. The best options are further north along the Luangwa River, where there’s a mix of mid-range to luxury lodges and mobile camps, many open year-round. Both parks offer day and night guided game drives and some of the best walking safaris in Africa.

Highlights

black rhino

North Luangwa National Park is the only area where you can find black rhino

Both South and North Luangwa are famous for their walking safaris, which are led by expert guides through some of Africa’s best game viewing territory. South Luangwa is home to a number of rare and endemic species including Thornicroft’s giraffe, Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra, and there are plenty of elephant, buffalo, lion and, especially leopard. In late October, before the start of the rains, thousands of hippos gather in the Luangwa River’s deeper pools – an incredible spectacle as they jostle and fight for space. Unlike most of Zambia’s parks, many camps in South Luangwa stay open during the rainy season, with boat safaris the major attraction. As the Luangwa River breaks its banks, shallow-draft vessels can navigate into the flooded riverine groves, one of Zambia’s unique safari highlights.

Vultures and lions in the South Luangwa National Park

Practical advice

Of all Zambia’s national parks, South Luangwa has the best network of all-weather roads so during the rainy season both boat and game drive safaris are possible. During the dry season, fully-sufficient self-drivers can explore North Luangwa’s rough network of dirt tracks, a wild and beautiful adventure best done in convoy and with some previous 4x4 experience. October and November can get brutally hot in the Luangwa Valley with temperatures well above 40°C. Walking safaris are not recommended during this period; the best time to walk is between May and September. Fly-in safaris are available throughout the year and package deals booked through reputable agents are often cheaper than going direct to the lodges.


Popular Zambia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as…

Victoria Falls

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the…

Camp fire

Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria…

Romantic view

Cape Town, Kruger and Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into…

Best of Zambia Safari

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the…

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural…

Affordable Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and…

Boat at sunset

Zambian Odyssey - Safari to Three National Parks

Go on safari to three Zambian national parks, including the…

Boating on the Chobe River

Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria…

10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Experience the best of the migration and wildlife in Kenya,…


You might also like

Sioma Ngwezi and Ngonye Falls National Park

Covering 5,000km² of Kalahari woodland, Sioma Ngwezi is Zambia’s third-largest national park. Tucked away in the southwestern corner of the country, it’s bordered by the Kwando River to the west (which also forms the Zambia’s border with Angola) and Namibia to the south. Once heavily…

Kafue National Park in Zambia

Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest wildlife reserve and also one of the biggest in Africa. It covers more than 22000km² (2500km2 more than South Africa’s Kruger National Park), and the terrain varies significantly from north to south. The park’s top third is separated by the…

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park is one of Zambia’s premier wildlife destinations, certainly in the top three with South Luangwa and Kafue. Ravaged by poaching in the 1980s, the park has since recovered well, though tragically the rhino population was wiped out completely. Wildlife viewing is…