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.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 1

Welcome to Zambia
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 2

Smoke that Thunders

day 3

Wild Kafue
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 4

Puku, lechwe and roan, to name a few

day 5

Tree-climbing lions

day 6

Living Luangwa
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)
  • Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

day 7

Elephants in reception...?

day 8

A walking safari is a must

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park is Zambia’s only privately managed park, run by the Kasanka Trust charity in partnership with the local community. At slightly less than 400km2, it’s also one of Zambia’s smallest, lying just south of the Bangweulu Wetlands near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With its wonderful papyrus marshes, swamp forests and miombo woodland it’s one…

Zambia vs Namibia

Zambia and Namibia are two of Southern Africa’s best safari destinations, but in many ways, they couldn’t be more different. Both have vast, isolated wilderness areas where intrepid travellers can find themselves entirely alone. But where Zambia offers a more traditional safari experience of lush, sprawling parks and abundant wildlife, Namibia is far more desolate, with breath-taking…

North-eastern Zambia

North-eastern Zambia is a vast, varied region – a mix of lush, open grassland, thick riverine forest, beautiful rivers, wetlands and lakes. To the south, the Luangwa Valley area is the most accessible – by Zambian standards – and South Luangwa National Park is one of the country’s best, and most popular, wildlife destinations. Further north, access becomes increasingly difficult.…

Lake Kariba in Zambia

Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made dam by volume, extending over 5000km2 along Zambia’s southern border. Completed in 1959, the dam provides hydro-electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe, and fish stocks – mainly tilapia, kapenta and the prized tigerfish – are also shared. Access to the…

Languages in Zambia

Multiple ethnicity in Zambia mean a plethora of languages and dialects Zambia’s official language is English, but there are more than 70 different languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Almost everyone will speak or understand some English and most Zambians living in the urban centres speak it fluently. Signs and official documentation are almost always in English…

Zambia in October

October is peak safari season in Zambia – but it’s hot! Known locally as ‘suicide month’ the relentless heat hits the low-lying regions hardest, especially the Luangwa and Zambezi valleys where temperatures in the shade can reach well above 40°C. This includes Livingstone and Victoria Falls where white-water rafting is no longer just about the world-class rapids, for many it’s…

Popular Zambia Safaris

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

Victoria Falls | Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

Camp fire | Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

 | Best of Zambia Safari

Best of Zambia Safari

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, and a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of mystery waiting to be uncovered....

 | South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...

Boat at sunset | Zambian Odyssey

Zambian Odyssey - Safari to Three National Parks

One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls...

Romantic view | Cape Town, Kruger & Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Cape Town, Kruger and Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

 | 10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Experience the best of the migration and wildlife in Kenya, then travel to Zambia to witness Victoria Falls, ending your adventure at Hwange National Park....

 | Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...

 | Southern Africa safari adventure

Southern Africa safari adventure

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

 | Luxury Victoria Falls, Hwange & Mana Pools

Affordable Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...