​Overview – North Luangwa NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip has traveled through Zambia several times and is the author of more than 20 guidebooks to various African destinations.

Philip is the Zambia expert for SafariBookings and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Philip is our Zambia expert and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Untamed North Luangwa National Park is an incredible Big Five walking destination in the wildlife-rich Luangwa Valley. The habitat and wildlife is similar to the more popular and accessible South Luangwa National Park. The experience is different though; with only a few small bush camps in a huge area, you get a glimpse of Africa as it was hundreds of years ago.

Best Time to Go July to October (Animals are easier to find)
High Season July to October (The park is little visited)
Size 4,636km² / 1,790mi²
Altitude 569-1,296m / 1,867-4,252ft

Pros & Cons

  • All of the Big Five are present
  • Home to Zambia’s only black rhino population
  • Remote wilderness area, mostly set aside for walking
  • Excellent add-on to a conventional safari in South Luangwa
  • Very limited road circuit and accommodation options
  • Lots of harmless but very annoying tsetse flies
  • Animals are more skittish than in South Luangwa

North Luangwa NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Although animals are a bit more skittish in North Luangwa than in Zambia’s more popular parks, you’re guaranteed to have some quality sightings on foot. North Luangwa is home to Zambia’s only black rhino population and seeing these endangered heavyweights in the wild is a real privilege. Other exciting possible encounters include elephants, wild dogs, big herds of buffalo and even lions. Giraffes are absent.

Scenery

North Luangwa is part of the southern extension of Africa’s Great Rift. The Luangwa River acts as the eastern boundary, but the Mwaleshi River is the lifeline of the park. Mopane and miombo woodland, acacia shrub, grassland savannah and riverine forest are some of the habitats that make up this lush valley. The Muchinga escarpment is a prominent landmark.

Weather & Climate

North Luangwa has a tropical climate with fairly consistent temperatures throughout the year. The park is subject to a Dry season (May to October) characterized by hot days, cool nights and no rain. Its humid Wet season (November to April) gets even hotter.

Best Time to Visit

You can only go on organized safaris in North Luangwa in the middle and end of the Dry season (from June to October). The wildlife viewing is particularly good from late July, when animals stay close to the rivers and the thinning vegetation makes spotting easier. Camps and tours shut down when the rains come and the heat soars.

Want to Visit North Luangwa NP?

North Luangwa NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Mike Unwin  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Northern wilderness
4/5

North Luangwa is South Luangwa’s remote and reclusive big sister. The terrain and wildlife are very similar, but there are only a handful of lodges, few roads and visitor numbers are minimal. Consequently this park offers a real...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Guillaume d'Autichamp  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Oct 31, 2018
5/5

North Luangwa is recommended for expert safari aficionados and for walking safaris especially ! We stayed 3 nights at the Mwaleshi camp along the Mwaleshi river This was a great experience : we saw fewer animals than in the South park...

Full Review