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Staying at three comfortable yet contrasting bush camps while walking in South Luangwa and North Luangwa National Parks, this small group trip makes the most of the prolific wildlife found along the banks of the Luangwa River.

Journalist and author Simon Barnes and Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen first met in the Luangwa Valley when Chris was Simon’s wildlife guide on safari. Their shared experiences from that and other trips they have done together created a close friendship that has ensued ever since. 

After that first safari, Simon subsequently returned to The Valley for a much longer stay, during which he sent regular reports back to The Times, and his first novel, Rogue Lion Stories, is based on his time there. Since then - like Chris, who began his long relationship with wildlife travel in South Luangwa - he has returned at regular intervals.

On this trip, the two join forces to reveal their passion for this area and its wildlife, an experience that is guaranteed to be both illuminating and great fun!

Wildlife Worldwide has secured a 30% discount on Simon’s book The Sacred Combe. To claim the discount enter SACRED30 at the checkout on the Bloomsbury website.

Typical Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart the UK

    Fly from London to Lusaka on an overnight flight, normally via Dubai.

  2. Days 2-3 : Arrive Lusaka & fly to Mfuwe; transfer to Tafika Camp

    On arrival at Lusaka airport, we transfer to a light aircraft for an onward flight to Mfuwe, then drive through colourful local villages and bush to Tafika Camp on the bank of the Luangwa River. 

    During our stay in South Luangwa National Park, we can enjoy morning, afternoon and evening vehicle and walking safaris, and see some of Zambia’s finest wildlife, including huge concentrations of African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, giraffe, hippo, lion and an astonishing 450 species of bird. 

    Accommodation: Tafika Camp, 2-nights

  3. Days 4-9 : North Luangwa National Park

    Today we transfer to our camps in the North Luangwa National Park, which is located further north along the western banks of the Luangwa River. Following a vehicle safari and breakfast from Tafika, we fly by light aircraft to the North Luangwa, enjoying some wonderful views of the Luangwa Valley en route.

    Here the group then divides, transferring to two private camps: Mwaleshi Camp and Takwela Camp. Each group spends three nights at each camp - with Simon at one and Chris at the other - to enjoy walking safaris in the area. For those staying at Takwela, vehicle safaris will also be an option.

    Accommodation: Mwaleshi Camp, 3-nights, and Takwela Camp, 3-nights

  4. Days 10-11 : Return to Tafika Camp

    The two groups meet up on return to Tafika, where another two nights on the edge of the Luangwa River provides a final opportunity to spot any wildlife missed previously. 

    Accommodation: Tafika Camp, 2-nights

  5. Day 12: Depart South Luangwa

    Depart on a domestic flight back to Lusaka, to connect with an onward overnight flight to the UK.

  6. Day 13: Arrive UK

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 13 days from £7,595 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 11 days from £6,895 pp
  • Single supplement: From £1,375
  • Group size: 10
  • Departures:
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Return flights between Lusaka & Mfuwe
    • 4 nights at Tafika Camp
    • 3 nights Mwaleshi Camp
    • 3 nights Takwela Camp
    • All meals
    • Transfers
    • National park fees
  • Activities available:
    • Boat trip
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Walking
Featured locations:

South Luangwa National Park

Comprising some 9,050 square kilometres of unspoilt African wilderness, South Luangwa is undoubtedly the jewel of Zambia’s national parks and a magnet to outstanding wildlife, particularly leopard. Its eastern boundary is the meandering Luangwa River whose regular changes in course leave scenic oxbow lagoons.

  • Where: Eastern Province
  • Ideal for viewing: leopard, Cookson’s wildebeest, Thornicroft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s zebra, African elephant
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Wildlife Art Safaris, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife

North Luangwa National Park

North Luangwa National Park is a tranquil and unexplored wilderness with a substantial wildlife population. Bordered by the Luangwa and Mwaleshi rivers and the Muchinga Escarpment, Its habitats are diverse, with areas of pure mopane woodlands and lush riverine forests of red mahogany and sausage trees.

  • Where: Northern Province
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, leopard, lion, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, Cookson’s wildebeest
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris
Featured accommodation:

Mwaleshi Camp

Located deep in the bush of North Luangwa National Park, this tiny seasonal camp stands on a beautiful stretch of the perennially flowing Mwaleshi River. It is a real wilderness retreat, and the abundant wildlife includes lion, elephant buffalo, plus herds of endemic Cookson’s wildebeest.

Tafika Camp

Tafika is superbly situated just to the north of the Nsefu sector of the South Luangwa National Park on a magnificent stretch of the Luangwa River. The camp consists of six comfortable chalets and offers a highly personalised, friendly service and flexible wildlife-viewing activities.