Based in the splendid South Luangwa National Park, home to the world’s highest naturally occurring population of leopard, this trip is our most popular wildlife safari and includes stays at three different properties in an exceptional area of Zambia.
In the Luangwa Valley, you’ll take early morning, afternoon and night drives with an expert naturalist guide, plus magnificent walking safaris for which the valley is justifiably famous. The itinerary combines a selection of superb satellite camps, set along dry river beds and in perfectly wild locations. Each camp is uniquely situated, with excellent wildlife-viewing and stunning views of the valley.
Day1: Depart the UK
Day2: Arrive Lusaka
On arrival at Lusaka you will be met and transferred to your hotel, and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax.
Days3-5: Fly to Mfuwe & transfer to South Luangwa National Park
After flying to Mfuwe you will be transferred to your camp in the park, with the possibility of seeing some wildlife en route. Depending on your arrival time, there may be some time to relax before lunch and recover from the journey, before heading out on your first vehicle safari later in the afternoon.
Over the next few days, enjoy a variety of wildlife safaris in South Luangwa National Park. Activities start in the morning, returning to camp in the middle of the day for lunch, before heading out again in late afternoon. Safaris from all the camps are conducted both by open 4-wheel drive vehicles and on foot (in the dry months of mid-May to early November), with armed scouts and fully qualified safari guides. Night drives with powerful spotlights are a highlight.
Depart on a domestic flight back to Lusaka, to connect with an onward overnight flight to the UK.
Day11: Arrive UK
You should note: This itinerary is based on a special discounted rate on the basis of staying at a minimum of three different properties. Nightstops may vary, and are subject to final confirmation two weeks before departure, however the itinerary above will give you a reasonable idea of what to expect.
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 daysfrom £5,395 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £4,445 pp
When to go: May-Nov: Daily
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.
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife
Starting life as a village, Zambia’s capital city was expanded by colonial settlers and is now very much the beating heart of the country. With vibrant market stalls and tree-lined boulevards, it offers an authentic African experience as well as a variety of good quality accommodation and a cosmopolitan sensibility.
Where: Southern region of the Central plateau
Excellent for: City stopover
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
Kakuli is a luxurious ten-bedded tented camp located on an elevated section of the Luangwa’s west bank. As well as offering walking safaris, and day and night drives, you can watch wildlife on the river and even the lawn right in front of you, from the camp’s central thatched dining area.
Nestled under an ancient ebony grove, the intimate and exclusive Luangwa River Camp is made up of just five bush suites. The surrounding oxbow lagoon and plains of the Luangwa Valley hold vast concentrations of wildlife, including elephant, leopard, lion, hippo and puku, as well as over 400 bird species.
This stunning four-bedroom private house is situated on the edge of a seasonal lagoon where herds of elephant and giraffe feed and drink throughout the day. It provides a large living area, verandahs, a swimming pool and an open-air terrace for dining, as well as hosted activities for children.
Luwi is a superb camp constructed on the site of legendary Norman Carr’s first every walking safari in the South Luangwa National Park. Five reed-and-thatch chalets, accommodating a maximum of ten guests, sit in a beautiful shady grove and offer probably the perfect bush camp - remote yet comfortable.
Set under the shade of ebony trees, this stylish and luxurious camp overlooks the Luangwa River in an impossibly picturesque location. Each of the five spacious tents stands on a wooden deck under a thatched roof. Activities from the camp consist of day and night drives and walking safaris.
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.
Located on private land just outside South Luangwa National Park, this lodge lies in an area of ebony woodland and open grassland that is superb for wildlife viewing. It consists of six cool and spacious chalets - including one for a family - built from woven bamboo with stone floors and thatched roofs.
On a sweeping bend of the river, in the heart of the South Luangwa National Park, lies what was the first photographic safari camp in Zambia, dating back to the early 1950s. The dining room overlooks the river where elephants come to drink and cross, with the bar overlooking a busy waterhole.
Nsolo is a simple, yet luxurious tented camp with five open-fronted chalets overlooking a nearby waterhole. One of the more historic camps in Zambia, it is also one of South Luangwa’s more remote. Walking safaris are a speciality, and there are also opportunities for night drives to see nocturnal animals.
This conveniently located hotel is close to both the city centre and the airport in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka – the perfect stop before or after your safari. It has 142 modern en suite rooms and suites, all with balcony and air conditioning, and a variety of leisure facilities are available.
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.
One of the most stunning sites in the Luangwa Valley, this remote, small camp stands in a grove of mahogany trees on a wide sweep of river. It consists of six beautifully designed safari tents, and a charming open-sided dining room and bar. Morning, evening and night drives and walking safaris are all offered.