South Luangwa National Park
Situated at the tail end of the Great Rift Valley, in the Luangwa Valley, South Luangwa National Park is wild and remote. It has an abundance of wildlife that is rarely seen in other game reserves and is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. This huge area of pristine wilderness is home to a large variety of game and birds, as well as the bigger predators.
The survival of the valley depends on the winding Luangwa River, crowded with hippos, crocodiles and wading waterfowl. Few parks can match this phenomenally high game density, nor do they have the ability to show visitors such remarkable wildlife in so remote and isolated a wilderness.
The Luangwa is known for huge herds of elephants, large pods of hippos and huge numbers of crocodiles which inhabit the muddy Luangwa River. Thornicroft’s giraffe are indigenous to the park. Lion, hyena, buffalo, waterbuck, impala, kudu, puku, bushbuck and Crawshay’s zebra (a subspecies of the Plains zebra) are also plentiful.
Small herds of Cookson’s wildebeest, unique to Luangwa, may also be seen. Leopard are frequently seen, especially on the excellent night drives in the park. In all, there are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species found in the park.
The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life blood of the park’s 9,050 km2. The now famous walking safaris originated in this park and are still one of the finest ways to experience this pristine wilderness first hand. The changing seasons add to the Park’s richness, ranging from dry, bare bushveld in the winter, to a lush green wonderland in the summer months.
There are all types of camps and lodges that cater for walking safaris. The smaller camps have accommodation in whitewashed, thatched-chalets more reminiscent of African style. They are still reasonably comfortable with supplies of clean linen, mosquito nets and refrigerators. Washing facilities are in separate blocks. At each camp, armed game-scouts are available to assist you with your viewing.
Some of the larger lodges offer facilities of a country hotel. They include small conference rooms, video screening and a swimming pool. Double rooms, with en-suite shower and toilet, are part of the packages along with full dining-room service and drinks from fully licensed bars.
One of the park’s main attractions is its up market facilities and amenities. Providing excellent lodges and camps from modest tented camps to rustic 5 star unashamed luxury with sumptuous modern interiors and superb cuisine. Some of the “camps” are said to be the finest safari accommodation in Africa.
Birdcalls are a common feature as the air is always alive with their sounds. South Luangwa is home to over 401 different species including forty raptors. It’s an ornithological paradise! On any one single day’s visit you may happily ‘log’ at least one hundred varieties. Some of the more spectacular birds to be seen are crested cranes, saddle bill storks, egrets, wood ibis and vultures.