South Luangwa is our preferred park in Zambia for big game viewing and and one of the best parks in Africa for walking safaris. Expect to regularly see lion, elephant, buffalo, hippo, Thornicroft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s Zebra, antelope, and plenty of bird species. Although you might not see them daily, South Luangwa has an incredible density of leopard so you are almost certain to see a few of these elusive cats during your stay. Wild dog sightings can never be guaranteed but they are a highlight you can hope to encounter during your stay. The survival of the valley depends on the meandering oxbows of the Luangwa River, crowded with hippos, crocodiles and wading waterfowl.
The best time to visit South Luangwa is in the drier months between April and October /early-November (the hottest months). The wet season begins in mid-November as the leaves turn green, and the dry bleak terrain becomes lush. The rainy season lasts until the end of March when the migrant birds arrive in droves. Many properties in South Luangwa, especially the more remote walking focused camps, are only open between April and November, and are in fact rebuilt from natural materials each year. Closer to the park gate at Mfuwe, there are several larger lodges that are open year-round.
While South Luangwa is known for walking safaris, most camps also offer game drives in areas where there is road access. In the hotter months, walking is focused on the cooler morning temperatures with game drives taking place in the afternoons.