South Luangwa National Park is remote and unspoilt. Sustained by the Luangwa River, with oxbow lagoons creating a variety of ecosystems to explore, the park is abundant in abundance. South Luangwa is the definition of wild, hosting over 60 different species of animals, 400 species of birds, and is varied in vegetation. Out of the 732 bird species in Zambia, 400 of them can be seen here; a haven for bird watchers.
The park is considered one of the world’s most prolific game sanctuaries due to its large concentration of animals around its river systems. One can find pods of hippo up to 500 strong, as well as a profuse population of crocodiles. Large herds of elephants, buffalo, antelope, giraffe, and zebra are found throughout the park, with a healthy predator population to match.
For the big cat enthusiast, South Luangwa is the place to explore. Being considered one of the best places to spot leopards in Africa, it is certainly a safari destination worth experiencing. South Luangwa is the birthplace of the ‘walking safari’, encouraging intimate wildlife encounters, experienced guides leading you through its wild landscapes.
Its diverse landscapes, lagoons and waterways lend themselves to photographic safaris, offering contrast of colour in each terrain. The park also provides the option of night drives, exploring the wild wonders of the nocturnal. One simply cannot visit Zambia without exploring the untouched and untamed wilderness of South Luangwa National Park.
Wildlife to spot on safari in South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park, occupying around 9 050 square kilometres in the east of Zambia, is perfectly positioned to give you the safari of a lifetime with the incredible magnitude of its wildlife. Bordered to the east by the Luangwa River, the Luangwa Valley lies at the tail end of the Great African Rift Valley system.
Your holiday to Zambia in South Luangwa will expose you to a woodland savannah, dominated by southern miombo on the higher slopes of the valley and mopani that covers the bottom of the valley. The park supports a vast array of species, including huge herds of elephants and buffalos as well as unique animals like Thornicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra which are near-endemic to the valley. The river teems with hippos and crocodiles. The main predators you can spot while on safari in South Luangwa, are lions, spotted hyenas, wild dogs and leopards. Plains game sightings include bushbuck, eland, duiker, impala, puku and kudu.
Avid birders will have a field day on a Zambia vacation in the park with the countless species cris-crossing the skies. These include darters, egrets, storks, spoonbills and African skimmers along the Luangwa River. You can also expect to see pied, giant, woodland, malachite and brown-hooded kingfishers that are common in the area.
Activities and experiences in South Luangwa National Park
The National Park is an expansive wildlife conservation area in Zambia and you can be assured of an exceptional safari experience as it is regarded as the home of walking safaris. Exploring the captivating landscape on foot and coming face to face with members of the Big 5 is once in a lifetime experience. The sounds, smells and signals of the natural world are explained in great detail by an experienced walking guide.
A boat safari on the Luangwa River will add a different dimension to your Zambia holiday. Marvel at the sight of hippos, crocodiles and elephants from the comfort of your boat. Combine it with an authentic walking safari for the best of both worlds. South Luangwa can also be explored under the cover of darkness when you include a night drive in your itinerary for a safari in Zambia. You are likely to encounter nocturnal species like civets and genets, and if you are lucky, also leopard and aardvark.