User Reviews – South Luangwa NP
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.
Email Paul Sivley | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Email West Tribe | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Amazing and affordable.
There are innumerable advantages that South Luangwa National Park hold above the local competition, not least of which is the affordability of the surrounding lodges. I arrived from Lusaka via local bus for about 40.00$, another 25.00$ taxi fare got me to my lodge (flat dogs) and 20.00$/night secured me a cabin with 2 bedrooms, 4 beds, A/C, fans and a shower. Another 40.00$/game drive, night or day + 20.00$/day park entry fee and that pretty much covered my expense. Food at the lodges tends to be expensive (15.00$ - 25.00$) however a quick excursion to town will allow you to soak in some local atmosphere and eat at local restaurants for about 1.00$ a meal. The wildlife is by no means confined to the park, I often opened the front door to my cabin to find elephants standing within 20 meters, hippos, banded mongooses, giraffes, grey crowned cranes, fish eagles, vervet monkeys and baboons are all frequent visitors to the lodge and the list goes on. The park itself was great, absolutely packed with fantastic wildlife, one of the few to offer spotlight game drives at night and not too crowded. For some photos of the park feel free to view - https://www.flickr.com/photos/84579258@N06/albums/72157676475945555
Close to being the finest National Park in Africa
South Luangwa National Park is one of the very finest National Parks in Africa .It's superb in every way; the scenery is beautiful and varied, there are huge amounts of wildlife, the night drives are superb,and so is walking.
It also has a superb wilderness vibe. The guiding is uniformly excellent. Many of the camps have a superb bush feel to them. I've already been there three times,furthermore,I'll be returning again next year.
A memorable experience in every way
This was our first trip to South Luangwa, indeed our first to Zambia having usually visited Tanzania. We stayed at the Shenton camps - Kaingo and Mwamba and they were absolutely perfect. Small and very friendly with wonderful food, great accommodation and very knowledgeable staff and guides. We were collected from the airport and had a very enjoyable 'safari' to the first camp. We were blessed with good weather all the time we were there and enjoyed our twice (sometimes three) daily game drives from completely open vehicles which was very welcome as we are photographers with long lenses. The park is very well managed and maintained, and the wildlife sightings were phenomenal. Thanks to our brilliant guide/driver, we had 24 separate leopard sightings,and were fortunate enough to see the Pel's Fishing Owl several times. As for the Carmine Bee-eaters - well!! We thoroughly enjoyed our time in South Luangwa and will most definitely be returning.
South Luangwa: Beautiful place and Amazing wildlife
South Luangwa is my favorite national park. The accommodations are terrific and the wild life is amazing. I have been there over 4 times now, and it has never failed to be an amazing experience. The guides have so much knowledge about the park and the wildlife sitings are great in number, leopards, lions and hyenas being the most seen. The park is very beautiful and the sunsets are always so breathtaking. There are so many animals and birds, and it really is one of the best holiday destinations out there.
The most outstanding safari destination in the world.
We travelled to South Luangwa National Park in August. We'd only been on safari once before - at a private reserve in South Africa. We'd asked our travel agency for the best safari experience and they said South Luangwa was it... and we can't disagree.
We stayed in two bush camps: Nsolo, a Norman Carr camp, and Lion Camp. Both were great! Staff couldn't do enough for us, the game drives were amazing and the guides' knowledge was encyclopaedic! Nsolo was smaller, more personal and more luxurious; Lion Camp was bigger but in a more rich area of the national park. However, if you're going for 5 star luxury - don't go to South Luangwa - this place is all abut the game, which is wonderful!
Let's face it, if you;re looking at South Luangwa, you're after great game sightings. It will not disappoint. A co-traveller has safaried across Africa for the last 20 years and said he'd never, ever experienced anything like South Luangwa; at a later stop, Sindebezi Island near Livingstone, we were speaking to a traveller who'd just been on a two week walking and river safari in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia (south) who, on hearing what we'd seen, said "Well, that's it - you can't go on safari again as nothing will compare to that". That's how great South Luangwa is.
I can't tell you everything we saw - the list would be far too long - but here's heavily edited highlights:
On our first night (Nsolo), we were sitting around the campfire after a delicious dinner when a staff member noticed some lions. Immediately, the truck was started up and we piled in. Barely two minutes later, we were sat watching a lion and lioness enjoying the moonlight... literally 3 metres from our bed! Suddenly, the armed guard who escorts you to and from your accommodation during the dark didn't seem overly cautious.
During the night, we had the best worst-night's-sleep ever. The sounds of the bush woke us delightfully often, including the resident hippo pod which lives right next to the camp and come out at night to graze around the edge of the camp.
My wife is a sucker for animal babies, so seeing hyena cubs, only a few weeks old, was amazing.
At Lion Camp, we saw, obviously, many sightings of the two prides which live nearby, including finding them lazing on the road just waking up after a night's feed. We sat in the middle of the pride, feeling like we were a little part of it rather than just observers. My lion highlight was seeing the full pride in a stand off with some painted dogs. Another was seeing a lioness move her 5 day old cubs from one nest to another: they were so young, their eyes were not open yet, and the tenderness with which she moved them in those huge, powerful jaws was stunning.
If you love elephants, you'll love South Luangwa. It seems like they're around every corner - and they're not afraid to let you know when you;re too close. We were mock-charged three times... but we never felt unsafe.
One thing we'd hoped for was seeing a leopard. We were not to be disappointed! Over 5 days at Lion Camp, we had 7 - seven - sightings, from glimpses in the night to sitting watching two different leopards in trees during the day. At one point, we were so close I asked the guide if it was purring - it wasn't: it was growling at us! We moved of sharpish. Another night sighting was wonderful - we'd seen the leopard at a distance and our guide swung the car round, went through undergrowth trying to second guess where it would head, and we were rewarded with it coming out of the undergrowth just to our side and making its way across the front of the car so close that, when in front, you couldn't see it over the bonnet.
For birders, which we are not, South Luangwa is wonderful. Some fellow travellers were birders and we caught a bit of the bug from their enthusiasm. Bee eaters and violet breasted rollers were my favourites, but the various eagles and vultures are spectacular in their size. We were even treated to a long, uninterrupted sight of Pel's fishing owl - something we appreciated but not fully until it was explained to us that this rarity is similar to seeing to a leopard.
Overall, if you love wildlife, if you love safari and if you want the greatest experience you've ever had, book for South Luangwa today.