This trip offers an excellent contrast between the beauty of the Luangwa Valley and the delights of the Lower Zambezi, with both destinations offering a huge variety of wildlife to see on a range of safaris.
The Luangwa Valley is all about walking and driving to see the region’s varied animal and birdlife. In South Luangwa, you will find the world’s highest naturally occurring population of leopard and you have four days here to discover what else this wildlife-rich national park has to offer.
Boat trips on the Lower Zambezi add yet another dimension to watching wildlife, with elephant and huge herds of buffalo along the riverbank.
Throughout the trip, knowledgeable guides will enrich your experience by pointing out minute details and interpreting the complex world of the African bush.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Lusaka
On arrival at Lusaka airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, located in the centre of the capital. The rest of the day is free to relax.
Days3-7: Fly to Mfuwe & transfer to South Luangwa National Park
Transfer by light aircraft to Mfuwe, from where you will be driven to your camp, through colourful local villages and bush.
Your time in the South Luangwa is normally split between two or three tented camps, with meals and safari activities included. There is plenty of choice and each of the camps and lodges has something a little different to offer. One thing they do have in common are superb guides, great food and wonderful views! Wildlife safaris from the camps are operated by open 4-wheel drive vehicles and on foot (in the dry season from May to November). Night drives are also a highlight.
Days8-11: Fly to Lower Zambezi National Park
Today you will fly back to Lusaka, and then connect to a 30-minute flight by light aircraft to Jeki Airstrip (for Old Mondoro Camp) or Royal Airstrip (for Chiawa Camp), where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Over the next couple of days, enjoy some fabulous wildlife viewing as you head out on boating safaris, for which the Zambezi is best known. Nowhere else is there such a combination of breathtaking scenery and varied wildlife, and these trips are an excellent way to appreciate the Zambezi in a tranquil yet exciting way.
Day12: Depart Lower Zambezi
Unfortunately, it’s time to depart the Lower Zambezi for your flight back to Lusaka, and onward flights back to the UK.
Day13: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 13 daysfrom £5,995 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 11 daysfrom £5,095 pp
Single supplement: From £95
When to go: Jun-Nov
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, Just Conservation
The Lower Zambezi National Park is one of the few pristine wildernesses left in Africa. Its backdrop is dominated by the steep Zambezi Escarpment, but the Zambezi River is the main attraction, where tranquil yet exciting excursions by boat are an excellent way to appreciate the river and its wildlife.
Where: Lusaka Province
Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, African elephant, cheetah, leopard, lion
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris
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.
Chiawa Camp is a much-loved luxury camp on the banks of the Zambezi River, in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park. It offers elegant accommodation for just 16 guests together with magnificent wildlife-viewing and beautiful scenery in a rustic, unpretentious atmosphere.
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.
Set in acacia trees on a bank of the Zambezi, Old Mondoro has four unpretentious reed-and-canvas chalets and aims to offer an authentic, intimate safari while not forgoing creature comforts or good service. Activities focus on walking, and you can also enjoy day and night game drives, and canoe safaris.
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.