South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia, the southernmost of three national parks in the valley of the Luangwa River, is a world-renowned wildlife haven. It supports large populations of Thornicroft's Giraffe, and herds of elephant and buffalo often several hundred strong, while the Luangwa River supports abundant crocodiles and hippopotamuses. It is one of the best-known national parks in Africa for walking safaris. Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972 and now covers 9,050 km2
Within these woodland savannahs are larger patches of grassland, so that grazers such as zebra and leaf browsers such as giraffe are found in profusion in the same areas. Patches of flooded grassland habitats (floodplains) are found close to the river, on which hippopotamus graze at night. Their dung released into the river fertilizes its waters and sustains the fish population which in turn sustains the crocodiles.
The Luangwa valley, continued to the west by the Lunsemfwa River valley, contains some varieties of animals such as Cookson's wildebeest and Crawshay's zebra which are endemic or near-endemic to the valley. It also represents something of a natural barrier to human migration and transport, no roads cross it and this has helped conserve its wildlife.
This journey, rich in contrast and adventure, is full of unforgettable experiences.
Day 1: Lilongwe
From Lilongwe we drive to the Zambian border at Chipata on our way to South Luangwa National Park.
The Luangwa valley is one of Africa’s prime wildlife sanctuaries, with concentrations and varieties of game and birdlife that have made it world famous. This is the landscape of the ‘real Africa’, with herds of antelope roaming the plains, predators stalking through the shadows, and primordial flora in every vale.
Day 2: South Luangwa NP
Today we start to explore this remote wilderness area that covers over 9,000 square kilometres after an early morning wakeup call and coffee/tea and rusks. The park encompasses a wide variety of habitats and the Luangwa River describes a torturous course along the valley floor. Near the river the vegetation is lush and dense, and along its many tributaries riverine forest remains emerald green all year round. Our morning ends about at 11h00 and is followed by lunch. We can relax next to the swimming pool and have tea at 15h30 before we start our afternoon/night game drive.
Day 3: South Luangwa NP
We do a further morning drive after our early morning coffee/tea. For scenery and sheer variety of animals, South Luangwa is one of the best wildlife parks in Africa. Multitudes of species thrive in this sanctuary, and the size of the national park allows large herds to develop and live in harmony with each other.
South Luangwa National Park is one of the world’s great wildernesses and provides a great insight into Africa’s rich fauna and flora. We have the option to do a walking safari today.
Day 4: Return to Lilongwe
After our wake-up call we go on our last morning drive return for a leisurely breakfast. We then depart back to Lilongwe. En-route we may have the opportunity to visit the Batik Factory where the local population trade their craft. We cross back into Malawi, travel through rich farm land and we then drop you off at your lodge/hotel. (B)
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