The South Luangwa is one of Africa's most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries with plentiful game surrounding the Luangwa River and its many lagoons. Situated in the southern region of the Great Rift Valley in Zambia's eastern province, it is a truly magnificent and unspoilt area of African wilderness.
There are 60 different animal species including cackles of hyena, zebra, giraffe, kudu, herds of buffalo and hippo living in wetland and the rivers in pods. Elephant are resident in good numbers along with predators such as prides of lion and leopard. Birdlife is abundant in the South Luangwa with over 400 different species recorded. These include the colourful carmine bee-eaters and the impressive list of raptors.
Large crocodiles relax on the sandbanks of the river and as evening draws near pods of hippos waddle up the banks to graze on the fertile grassland. Powerful prides of lion are commonly seen and this is the only place in the world they are known to kill hippos. The lion prides in the area can reach figures of up to 20. Species native to the South Luangwa are Thornicroft's giraffe and the Cookson's wildebeest. Dense crowds of buffalo and a great variety of antelope species can also be seen roaming the plains.
As the South Luangwa is remote and a fairly inaccessible location it combines an enormous variety of wildlife with very few visitors creating a private and exciting safari. This is where the walking safari begun and remains one of the best options to explore different wildlife areas. During a South Luangwa walking safari you will be amazed at how different it is to be guided through the National Park on foot as opposed to in a 4x4 open vehicle. You will be with an armed guide at all times who's knowledge and expertise with the animals is second to none.
There are a range of incredible safari camps and lodges in the area. We prefer the quaint luxurious camp such as Bilimungwe, Kapamba and Tafika Camp.
The green season starts in January and runs through until May. This is great for admiring the South Luangwa for its scenery and easier to sport animals as there is much less dust in the area and only a small number of people. The bush is transformed with new foliage and the landscape is a stark contrast from what it was a few months previously. Good numbers of migrant birds are resident in the park and can be seen doing their courtship routines. Examples include the rare shoebill stork, the black lechwe and sitatunge. The green season is also the finest time of the year to witness newborn plains game as this is the birthing season for many animals. Game drives and other activities are brilliant during this season due to the diversity of animals present and the fantastic lush green pastures they live on. You are also likely to catch a glimpse of the solitary leopard as it has no camouflage against this spectacular piercing green backdrop. The rivers are in full flow in April and May causing great numbers of hippos to be seen.
The dry season is between May and August with warm days moving into cool nights. After that the terrain becomes dry and hot and in September the temperatures are at a high 30 degrees Celsius as an average. The earth in the South Luangwa is dry and the vegetation lacking. Many animals congregate at the permanent waterholes giving you fantastic game viewing.
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