Located in Eastern Zambia at the end of the Great Rift Valley, South Luangwa National Park was established in 1972. Abundant game grazes peacefully on the banks of the languid Luangwa River as it traverses the Park, one of the four most significant rivers in Zambia. This is the Park to find the elusive leopard along with other big predators. Being the birthplace of the walking safari, this remains one of its main attractions and a superb way to experience Africa's wildlife first-hand.
South Luangwa National Park is approximately 9050 sq. km of unspoilt woodland savannah spanning the banks of the Luangwa River and its lagoons that meander through the Park. This unfenced Park has the steep escarpment to the West and the Luangwa River to the East. The Park supports large numbers of Thornicroft’s giraffe, elephants, Cape buffalo and various predators among the 80 mammal species found in the Park. Bird lovers will not be left out, with over 400 of Zambia’s 732 species found in the Park, including many raptors and migratory birds.
Mfuwe is the closest town to South Luangwa National Park and is 700km from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city.
Zambia’s International Airport, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, located in Lusaka, is the gateway to Zambia. Regular flights take visitors to Mfuwe International Airport from Lusaka, just outside the Park. It is also possible to fly directly to Mfuwe from Lower Zambezi NP.
People driving to the Park arrive via Chipata on good tarred roads.
South Luangwa National Park characteristically has two seasons, and both have their advantages and disadvantages:
The dry season: This season runs from April to October. Days are clear and warm to hot with no chance of rain. The dry weather results in the bush thinning out, making the sighting of animals more accessible. Animals tend to congregate around the river and lagoons to drink. Less water lying around means fewer mosquitos, so malaria risk is decreased. However, temperatures in October can get extremely hot, reaching the high 30’s (degrees centigrade). The air can get dusty and dry.
The wet season: This season runs from November to March. Called “the emerald season”, the rains result in a lush, green landscape, allowing the most opportunities to see young animals which tend to be born during this time. Birdwatching is fantastic, with many migratory bird sightings. However, the heat and humidity can be intense, and game viewing may be more challenging. Some roads may become inaccessible due to the muddy conditions, and some lodges close during this time.