Travel Plan for South Luangwa National Park.
South Luangwa National Park has been deemed by experts to be among the top animal sanctuaries on the planet, and this characterization is not without foundation. The Luangwa River and the oxbow lagoons that it creates are home to some of the densest concentrations of wildlife seen anywhere in Africa.
South Luangwa National Park: Some Background Information
South Luangwa National Park is located in eastern Zambia, near the very end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, and was designated as a national park in 1972.
The Luangwa River provides life to the 9,059-square-kilometer natural preserve, which is famous for its walking safaris. The river snakes its way through the park’s core, leaving behind a breathtaking escarpment as well as a plethora of lagoons and ox-bow lakes.
This park has a total area of 9059 km2 and is centered on the Luangwa River, which is basically the most unspoiled major river system in all of Africa. The park is home to a diverse collection of animals, avian life, and plant life.
This park is the birthplace of the now-famous “strolling safari,” which is still among the many most exciting ways to see Africa’s unspoiled nature first-hand.
The Park’s richness is enhanced by the changing seasons, which transform it from a barren, dry bushveld in the winter to a verdant, verdant utopia in the summer months.
In South Luangwa National Park, there are about 400 distinct varieties of chickens and more than 60 different species of animals. The one prominent exception to this rule is the rhinoceros, which has been hunted to the point of extinction.
No of the time of year, a birdwatcher will have plenty of opportunities to identify a wide variety of species thanks to the fact that the Park is home to around 400 of Zambia’s 732 species of birds, including 39 species of birds of prey and 47 species of migratory birds.
Your proficiency in the Zambian jungle will significantly increase if you have an interest in the local flora. There are some lovely trees and plants that grow in the Luangwa Valley, and it unquestionably contributes to the richness of an individual’s experience to be able to recognize the many tree types and to identify rare wildflowers.
The mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, tall vegetable ivory palm, marula, and superb tamarind tree are some of the more common species of trees found in the valley. Other common trees include the winterthorn. To one’s admiration, there are some spectacular baobab specimens as well as some enormous ebony woods.
A brief introduction to South Luangwa National Park
Space: 9,050km² Based in: 1972
Northern, Eastern, and Central Zambia are the provinces of Zambia.
The coordinates of this point are: -13.09553,31.497803
This verdant landscape is home to one of the highest densities of animals seen elsewhere in Africa; hence, South Luangwa National Park ought to grow out to be the safari destination of choice for people who are knowledgeable about the subject.
South Luangwa’s diverse animal life
South Luangwa National Park is home to sixty different kinds of mammals, including four of the world’s five largest (sadly, rhino had been poached to extinction right here over 20 years in the past).
It is especially well-known for the large herds of elephants and buffalo as well as the many hippopotami that live in its lagoons. All of these animals may be found there.
Additionally, the lion is rather common, and South Luangwa is often mentioned as one of the best places in Southern Africa to see the elusive leopard.
However, it’s possible that South Luangwa has more to offer than just these safari staples. It is the natural habitat of the critically endangered African wild dog, as well as fourteen different species of antelope and many unique subspecies, such as the Thornicroft’s giraffe and the Crawshay’s zebra.
Changes brought on by the passage of time are extremely noticeable in Luangwa. April marks the beginning of the dry season, which continues unabated all the way until October, the busiest month of the year due to the high number of sporting events. The dry winter months of May through August are characterized by hot, bright days and cool, crisp evenings.
The beginning of wet season starts around November when the leaves begin to turn green and the formerly arid and desolate landscape transforms into a verdant rainforest.
The rainy season continues until the beginning of March, at which time a large number of migratory birds arrive. Every inn continues open for business for as long as its placement inside the area permits, providing guests with access to the establishment.
In the heart of the park, close to the visitor center, you’ll find a variety of lodges that are operational throughout the year.
And more recently, bushcamps have been popping up during the so-called “Emerald Season.”
South Luangwa National Park: Getting There and Around
By Air Mfuwe Airport has just earned global status, and as a result, several airlines have been looking at the possibility of scheduling international flights there.
Only one airline, Proflight Zambia, operates regularly scheduled domestic flights inside Zambia. From Lusaka, they go to South Luangwa and Livingstone on a daily basis throughout the whole year (frequencies enhance in excessive season).
aircraft of the Constitution from the outside The country may now fly straight without having to pass customs in Lusaka, and there are a range of Zambian firms that have the authority to fly to and from Zambia’s most important cities.
Every single lodging provides transportation to and from the airport. Constitution flights that charge a price per seat, include Government Air and Nyasa Air Taxis.
When traveling by car, one of three possible methods is available. Beginning in Chipata is how most people do it. It is a nice street even if it is somewhat corrugated, and the 123-kilometer journey to Mfuwe, which is merely outside the Park, takes around two hours.
If you are driving from Lusaka with a powerful 4×4, it is possible to take a quick detour off of the Nice East Highway at Petauke and go up beside the Luangwa River to Mfuwe. This route may be reached by following the signs. Only to be attempted properly in the course of the dry season.
Bridge Camp on the Luangwa River Bridge makes for an excellent stop along the route for a single day.
Bridge Camp is located just downstream from the Luangwa River Bridge.
Near Zambia’s eastern border with Malawi is where travelers may enter the country from the north through Mpika on the Nice North Highway via Lundazi. A roadway that runs along the middle of the Munyamadzi Hall, which divides North and South Luangwa Parks, may be found a little distance below Mpika.
It is adequate, but it is only accessible between the months of August and October, only with four-wheel drive, and preferably with two vehicles since help is a considerable distance away.
The mountain journey down the escarpment is rather challenging since it is quite rough and bumpy, but the view over this region, which is the terminus of the Great Rift Valley, is very breathtaking.
If you are staying at one of the lodges within the Valley, the guides there will make sure that you get every opportunity to see all of the wildlife, birds, and various vegetation and habitats that the Valley has to supply. If you are staying at one of the Valley’s lodges, the guides there will make sure that you get every opportunity to see all of those things.
Advice for Drivers
If you are traveling through the park in your own vehicle, make sure to pick up a map of the park from the Crocodile Farm, which is located at the entrance to the park. Then, follow the loop roads that have been graded within the park, and you will see Lambos that are bursting with hippos, topped cranes, grazing antelope, and scurrying baboons.
When you go farther out into the plains, you will almost certainly come across large elephant herds that may number as many as seventy individuals. There is a lot of buffalo, and they may be found all across the Valley.
How to Determine the Best Time to Visit South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is a destination for tourists throughout the year, and each season has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Because the animals concentrate at the river and waterholes during the dry winter months (May to October), it is often considered to be the best season for game-viewing. This is because the animals are easier to distinguish during this time of year.
During the day, temperatures are lower and more comfortable for walking safaris, and the number of insects is far lower. However, the new summer season (November to April) also offers a lot of benefits for individuals who do not mind the high temperatures and the odd afternoon rain. This season lasts from November to April. The birdlife is stronger at this time of year, the park’s environs are stunningly green, and prices are often lower.
Malaria is a risk throughout the whole year, although it is most prevalent during the warm summer months. Be careful to protect yourself against the disease by following all of the recommended preventative measures, such as taking anti-malaria prophylactics.
Observing avian life in South Luangwa
The park has the potential to become especially well-known among birdwatchers as a holiday destination. Within its borders, more than 400 different species of birds have been seen, which is more than half of what has been reported in all of Zambia.
In addition to the typical species seen in Southern and East Africa, the park serves as a stopover for migratory birds that travel from as far away as Europe and Asia.
The almost extinct African skimmer, the exceedingly evasive Pel’s fishing owl, and the large flocks of crimson-colored Southern carmine bee-eaters that nest inside the park’s sandy river banks are some of the highlights.
There are at least 39 different species of raptors that may be found in South Luangwa, including four different types of vultures that are either vulnerable or endangered.
A look at some of the things that can be done within South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is recognized as the area where the walking safari was first introduced to the public. Notable safari operators like as Norman Carr and Robin Pope were among the pioneers of this kind of safari.
Now, nearly every resort and camp inside the park offers this incredible experience, which allows you to stand up close to the creatures of the bush in a way that is just not possible in a vehicle. This is something that was previously not possible in the park.
Walking through the verdant surroundings of the valley gives you the opportunity to pause and take in the finer details, such as the unusual insects, animal trails, and plants that you come across.
Walking safaris may last anything from a few hours to many days, and they are always accompanied by an armed scout in addition to an experienced guide.
Traditional night drives are also quite popular, and it is recommended that each and every visitor schedule at least one of these drives during their stay. After it becomes dark, an entirely another group of nocturnal creatures come out to play, beginning with adorable bushbabies and progressing all the way up to the leopard, which is the uncontested king of the nighttime.
During the green season, which runs from November to February, when there is an abundance of insects because of the summer rains, many Palearctic migratory species are drawn to the area, making the inexperienced season a popular time for expert birding trips.
Boat safaris are often at their busiest during the summer months. These excursions provide a serene environment in which to view birds and other animals that cluster on the river to drink, as well as hippos, crocodiles, and other animals that benefit from the high water level.
south luangwa national park
One animal that you won’t be able to overlook is the hippopotamus. There are often thirty to seventy hippos relaxing in the river under the bridge that leads into the park, and a good number of the dambos and lagoons will show you many more of these animals. On average, there are around fifty hippos to be found in every kilometer of the Luangwa River.
Zebras are often seen traveling in groups no larger than a couple of dozen individuals. The stripes on Zambia’s zebras are what set them apart from the people who live in the south and east of Africa. In this case, there is an equal amount of space between them as opposed to large light stripes with a thin shadow stripe in between.
The park is home to 14 distinct types of antelope, the majority of which may be seen on game and nighttime drives. Be wary of the secretive bushbuck, which prefers to live in locations that are tightly surrounded with vegetation.
The common duiker is not very common near to the Luangwa River, although it does live in the more remote parts of the Luangwa Valley.
Eland are often seen in the vicinity of the Nsefu Sector of the Park. They are the largest of the antelope species. The impala is the most common kind of antelope in the park, and these social creatures may be seen roaming about in groups almost anywhere in the reserve.
Not to be confused with the puku, which is of a similar size but much fluffier buck, has a rich orange coat, and is also quite prolific.
The Kudu, with its magnificent spiral horns and its delicate face, is perhaps the most beautiful of all the African big game. Due to their shy nature and preference for living in thick vegetation, even though they are rather common, they are not always easy to find. This is because they like to hide in the underbrush.
It is possible to see reedbuck, roan, sable, hartebeest, grysbok, klipspringer, and oribi in the park, however these animals are not very common in the primary tourist area of the park. In the general direction of the Muchinga escarpment, they have a propensity to continue to dwell deeper inside the more remote components.
Within the Valley, one may engage in some of the best birdwatching available. Near the end of the dry season, when the river and oxbow lagoons begin to diminish, a great number of massive waterbirds may be observed wading through the shallows.
The purple-faced yellow-billed storks move about together underwater with their beaks open, stirring up the murky water with their feet in order to coax the fish into their mouths.
The pelicans often hunt in lines parallel to one another, herding the fish that are in front of them into shallower water where they may more easily capture and store them in the pouches of their beaks.
The hanging saddle-billed stork, which is 1.6 meters in length, performs rapid darting moves into the water. Then there is the marabou stork, the great white egret, the black-headed heron, the open-billed stork, and the majestic goliath heron, all of which are able to stand in the same area for many hours before making their move.
The beautifully crowned cranes, with their golden tufts, may be seen congregating in enormous flocks on the salt pans, and they are one of the most breathtaking sights.
Both Palearctic migrants from Northern Europe and intra-African migrants arrive at the same time, in November, just before the rains start, in order to take advantage of the feeding opportunities that the lovely and comfortable wet season brings with it.
These include the purple-chested cuckoo, white storks, European swallows, swifts, hobbies, and bee-eaters, in addition to birds of prey from Russia such as Steppe eagles and Steppe buzzards.
The presence of a large number of brilliantly colored carmine bee-eaters nesting among the sloping sandy banks of the river is a spectacle in and of itself.
The noises of the birds that are always present in the Valley are something that will need some getting accustomed to. An early caller is the bottom hornbill, which tries to imitate the call of a well-dressed turkey but instead produces the sound of a low bass drum instead.
In addition, one can hear the lilting cooing of doves in the background, as well as the tuneful song of the Heuglin’s robin and the screeching call of a fish eagle.
Lodging options available inside South Luangwa National Park
When it comes to finding a place to stay, visitors to South Luangwa National Park have a wide variety of options available to them, regardless of their budgetary constraints or personal preferences.
The majority of the lodges and campgrounds are located along the banks of the Luangwa River, giving guests with breathtaking vistas of the river (and the animals that come there to drink).
The South Luangwa pioneers Robin Pope Safaris and Norman Carr Safaris are responsible for operating a number of the most renowned camps in the area.
Tena Tena, a spectacular tented camp, and the personal Luangwa Safari Home are only two of the six premium accommodation options that the former company offers inside the park or in the surrounding area.
Chinzombo, owned and operated by Norman Carr, is the most opulent and well-appointed camp in his collection. It has six private villas and an infinity pool with a view of the river.
Flatdogs Camp is a well-liked option for those who are looking for something that is a little bit more reasonably priced. It is known for its very well-appointed chalets, safari tents, and one-of-a-kind Jackalberry Treehouse.
Staying at the backpacker-friendly Marula Lodge, which is just five minutes away from the main entrance to the park, is an option that those with a decent budget should take into consideration.
You have the option of staying in permanent tents, a communal dormitory, or one of the more affordable chalets with private bathrooms; alternatively, you may pay an additional cost for full board, which includes all of your meals as well as two safaris on each full day.
Alternatively, you might make use of the kitchen that is available for self-catering, which would result in cost savings.