South Luangwa National Park


  6 reviews
Hippo at South Luangwa
Hippo at South Luangwa
About South Luangwa National Park
Country found in:
Parks total area:
9050 km² (3500 mi²)
Year established:
1972
Anti-malarial:
Recommended
Park wildlife:
  • April through October are the best months to visit
  • High concentration of wildlife is found in South Luangwa National Park
  • Open-sided safari vehicles
  • Less visited than many of the other top safari parks.

South Luangwa National Park is located in eastern Zambia. It was originally established as a game reserve in 1938 and was officially established as a national park in 1972. It is 9050 km² (3500 mi²), making in the 14th largest national park in Zambia and the 2nd largest national Park in Zambia, after Kafue National Park. South Luangwa is known for its high concentration and diversity of wildlife and is home to four of the big five. The buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion can all be seen here. Sadly, the rhino was poached to extinction here and is no longer seen.

South Luangwa purportedly is one of the few African parks where guests can enjoy a true bush camp experience. Many of the camps are of high standards and all are in remote locations. The terrain of South Luangwa consists of savannah woodlands, open plains, lagoons and tall grass fields. South Luangwa offers a wide-range of safari options and most safari vehicles here are open-sided. Walking safaris are very popular here and most tour operators recommend all guests experience a walking safari.

When is the best time to visit South Luangwa National Park?

South Luangwa has two distinct seasons: a rainy and a dry season. The rainy season starts in November and runs through March. During these months the foliage of South Luangwa becomes greener and denser and the animals are less easy to spot. Although the game viewing during this time of year is more difficult and the some of the roads become extremely difficult to navigating, causing some of the camps to close for the season. The dry season runs from April through October, and by October the land is parched and the foliage is all but gone. The lack of precipitation means most water sources dry up and animals must share the remaining available resources, including the Luangwa River and Oxbow Lagoon. Game viewing is arguably at its peak in October and visitors will be rewarded with high concentrations of animals that are easier to view than in other months.

South Luangwa is highly recommend as a safari destination and is idea for beginning and intrepid travelers alike.

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Reviewed by:

(5/5 stars) Written on: Jan 15, 2016   |   Visited: Oct 2015.
I will never forget a particular evening sunset in South Luangwa... we sipped on our G&T's, overlooking a wide river with the sounds of hyenas in the distance. Hippos roaring just below us, all while surrounded by a swarm of colorful carmine bee eaters flying in and out of their homes in the side of the river bank. In this moment, the bush felt all-encompassing. Th... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Nov 10, 2015   |   Visited: Dec 2010.
South Luangwa is a one of the biggest national parks in Zambia and is a complete wilderness with the highest concentration of hippos in Africa. You are guaranteed to see the big five and more in this park. In the South Luangwa you see game on walking safaris, game drives and even from the comfort from one's room depending on the location of the lodging facility. It... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: May 14, 2015   |   Visited: Apr 2015.
South Luangwa NP is one of the best wildlife areas in Zambia. It's a 90 min drive on a good tarmac road away from Chipata and it's accessible all year round. The camps and lodges in the area cater for all budgets and visitors. The best way to experience the park is together with a local guide. They know were the animals are. Leopard and Wild Dog sightings are commo... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Feb 14, 2015   |   Visited: Sep 2012.
This park has a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. One of the finest ways to experience this pristine wilderness first hand is by going on a walking safari. This has become known as THE wilderness experience of the South Luangwa! The day will be spent walking in the game rich area of the Luangwa riverine habitat, with ebony groves, many lagoons and of ... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Jul 17, 2014   |   Visited: Apr 2014.
Wow, this park totally surprised me. I wasn't expecting to see so much wildlife, especially so many lions. It wasn't nearly as crowded, either, which made for a great time and some up-personal viewing!
I was there right at the beginning of the dry season, so many of the water holes were still around. I'd def go again but would probably do it a few months later fo... read more
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** Safari guru **

(4/5 stars) Written on: May 09, 2013   |   Visited: Oct 2012.
Its a park recommended by seasoned travellers in Africa, world class wildlife haven they say. No regrets and unforgettable are some of the words that have been used to describe this park.Its location Eastern Zambia, access via Lusaka the capital of Zambia is either by vehicle to Mfuwe though its a long 100 plus km of semi tarred road. The second and most recommende... read more
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Safari suitability: 9 / 10
Home to four of the big five and has a high concentration of wildlife.
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Articles about the South Luangwa

Nearby parks and game reserves

Animals you can find

Leopard
Leopard
Lion
Lion
Elephant
Elephant
Hyena
Hyena
Vervet monkey
Vervet monkey
Warthog
Warthog
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Getting to South Luangwa

Activities you can do

Bird watching
Bird watching
Boating / canoeing
Boating / canoeing
Bush walks
Bush walks
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Fishing
Fishing
Game drives
Game drives
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