User Reviews – South Luangwa NP
Email Graeme | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Game density and diversity are both excellent in the park, with four of the Big Five present as well as hippos, giraffes, greater kudu, spotted hyenas and many other incredible species. The park's vistas over the river are beautiful, however it is scrubbier woodland further into the park, presenting a more complicated backdrop for photography. The bush vibe is largely great, however it was slightly undermined at times by self-drive vehicles crowding into view or ignoring the etiquette that drivers and guides overwhelmingly adhere to. Birding is similarly excellent- I spotted around 90 species while I was in the park, including stars like martial eagles, grey-crowned cranes and so many more.
Email Guillaume d'Autichamp | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
South Luangwa is Zambia's flaghsip park for so many good reasons :
Wildlife is extremely abundant and leopard sighting is probably the best in africa (not to mention the hippo density which at 25000 is the highest in the world)
We stayed at the very exclusive Mfue Lodge : everything was great here, except maybe the high number of visitors in the area: to avoid that we moved 86 km inside the Park in the Zungulila Bushcamp which has been our greatest safari experience so far (very exclusive bushcamp, amazing scenery, delicious food, very friendly staff, excellent guiding and hyenas laughing at night all around us): we saw a pack of 20 wild dogs and of course we had the traditionnal zambian sunset drink along the luangwa river !
Visitors numbers can seem high at the Mfue gate but as soon as you drive inside the park : wildlife is for yourself !!
A park to visit at least once in life!
South Luangwa National Park, located in eastern Zambia at only one hour driving from Chipata, has been my first safari ever. My expectations were very high and I can now say that the experience has absolutely reached them! The two guides, one from Lusaka and one from the local village Mfuwe, were very prepared, available, kind, respectful and nice! In our group of five visitors, I was the only one with photographic equipment and both of the guides have always managed to make me feel comfortable to take pictures from different perspectives, and always in the respect of the animals! Although we have spent only one full day in the park, not being able to visit the whole of it, nature and the life you can observe are amazing! The stunning views, the great and open landscapes both on the Luangwa river and in the bush are unforgettable! The park is full of animals, and since it’s not that extended, you’re able to easily spot four of the Big Five, not the Rhino which is not present at all in the park. Among the others, we have spotted: many Thornicroft's giraffes and elephants, plenty of hyppos, a male lion with three puppies, a lonely male leopard and a female with two puppies, a Cape buffaloes herd running to the river to drink and enjoy the water, many impalas, kudu, puku, and birds! South Luangwa National Park is for sure a park to visit at least once in life!
Email Greg Sensei | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Wildlife immersion in its truest sense.
We stayed at the Kaingo lodge (www.kaingo.com) for a few nights.
While it was expensive and hard to access, it was a safari in its purest sense. We saw lots of wildlife, including many lions and our first leopards on our time in southern Africa(including one eating an impala in a tree at night).
Accommodation was at it should be, but be careful to not leave your room at night as there are no barriers to the wildlife coming through camp. I actually had an elephant walk just outside my window and start munching on leaves on a tree!
There are safari parks, and there is South Luangwa.
I have been fortunate to have been on several safaris in my lifetime; in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Botswana. Every experience is unique; each wildlife reserve offers something different. South Luangwa for me tops the lot: the facilities are outstanding; the wildlife is abundant, and the remoteness and sheer size of the park mean there are few others to share with. Not here do you find vehicles jockeying for position near a carnivore.
I visited with my eldest son in early August 2107, the beginning of the busy season. We wanted to a walking safari, and our tour operator recommended Remote Safaris, as they have three lodges an easy walking distance apart towards the northern part of the reserve. Although the lodges were fully booked in the peak period of September and October, they were less than 50% occupied. We stayed three nights in the main camp of before walking to … Crocodile River. We were the only occupants in the two satellite camps.
The combination of walking and vehicle game experiences meant we had many sightings, including leopard (three times from vehicle), lion, and wild dog, who passed within five metres of us when walking on our final day.
Hippos are abundant in the Luangwa river; elephants abound, and we had many sightings of zebra, giraffe, and antelopes. Every sighting even of the common herbivores gave us a different perspective, especially when walking; there is that extra feeling of adventure when you tiptoe slowly near an antelope, or freeze when elephant is close.
The scenery adds to the experience. The sublime mapone forest, with many trees devastated by elephants, contrasts with the rich vegetation around the river. According to our guide, some guests request a long walk simply to experience the feeling of isolation and peace.
The birdlife is amazing. We viewed 78 species and photographed many close up. Our guide told us much about footprints and plant life as we made our way through the bush.
South Luangwa is expensive. It is difficult to visit for overseas travellers, requiring a flight into ….and then on onward journey to your camp. But the reward is experiencing something very special: abundant wildlife in a remote location where, for the most part, you alone are the sole human participant.
Email aniphone | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
One of the best
I stayed in two different places, one just outside of the park (Wildlife Camp - which is good value for money, situated in a preservation area) and one bush camp (Nkonzi - an affordable and very stylish lodging). It was the second time I came here for a whole week. Don't expect to see cheeta or rhino, but apart from those species you'll get to see almost every animal you can think of. Leopards almost every day, bunches of wild dogs, lions, southern grounded hornbill ... The night drives are incredible. especially our guide at Wildlife Camp knew sounds and tracks so well he managed to give us incredible sightings. Bushbabies, servals, a civet, leopards, chasing lions, ... The walking safari guides are also very knowledgeable and an absolute must if you visit this park.
Close to being the finest National Park in Africa
I've already been to South Luangwa National park 3 times and will be going again next year. This is simply an outstanding place in every way, shape and form. It has an outstanding bush vibe as well as exceptional guiding. The night drives and walking are unbeatable.
The wildlife is just superb. I saw so many elephants, hippos, lions, leopards and antelope. The birdlife was just superb.
You will love it - see lots without huge crowds.
It has almost all major animals except rhino. Not overwhelmed with tourist vehicles - a bit more private experience. Our guide was super - including positioning the vehicle for best photo angles. Have been to parks in 4 countries and this is my favorite for the overall experience.
Email Jennifer | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Beyond our imagination and exceeded our wildest dreams
South luangwa national park is truly the most "natural" place we have ever visited. And we are avid wildlife hikers. The sheer volume of wildlife - of many many species - everywhere was something we'd never experienced. The number of species of birds, animals, insects was wondrous. The bush camp company guides are local and very very knowledgeable about the wildlife and also reading the 'signs', watching the animal interactions, behaviour to know what was happening. I cannot recommend enough helping to keep this park as it is. For some of these animals it is the last bastion. And our outings were respectful of nature and animals.
Email Marc | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Absolutely Worth the Effort to Get There
South Luangwa is a bit off the beaten path but a rich reward for whomever makes the journey. Confined between a dense forest and a wide river, animals are plentiful in this park. I have seen more cats in one day then weeks at other flagship parks in southern Africa. I have made to trek's there because the photo opportunities and wildlife viewing are unparalleled; even in the wet season. I stayed at Mfuwe Lodge twice! The people, the food, the guides and the rooms are above and beyond. On my first night during my first trip we found a leopard in a tree right above us...amazing. On my first night during my second trip we came across a leopard moments before it took out a bush hare. It was over before I could understand what was happening. I love this park and will definitely go again.